TL-45-485 Update 6

The morning started with a delicious breakfast, followed by an enlightening tour of Jaffa. Also known as Old Tel Aviv, this historic city presented a sharp contrast against The Nonstop City – the centre of Israel’s Silicon Valley.  The incredible architecture, Mediterranean-feeling homes, plant life, and environment, backdropped by gorgeous ocean views and glimmering buildings of modern Tel Aviv could easily be compared to some of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Today was a special day in developing a deeper understanding of the complex Israeli/Arab and Muslim/Jewish relationship in Israel and surrounding areas.  After a short walk to the Bustan Bnei Abraham facility, the group had the opportunity of a lifetime to meet Ihab.  This man of coexistence and peace shared his inspirational life story.  Having grown up in an Arab family with anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiments, Ihab held these same views in his early life. His life experience led him to understand that what unites Israelis and Arabs is more quintessential to their respective life experiences than what divides the two.  By focusing on the next generation of leaders, Ihab’s facility – the first Arab/Israeli daycare – is truly building the change the region so desperately needs.  His wisdom was palpable and his sincerity incontrovertible.  This meeting and story left the group feeling confident and hopeful for a peaceful future of the State of Israel.

In a truly Israeli manner of balance, this incredible meeting was followed by ‘Tel Aviv Your Way:’ a program developed by our amazing guide, Gadi. The group (now dubbed the Kosher Kittens) had an opportunity to explore Tel Aviv’s culinary, artistic, architectural, technical, and historical culture by visiting key sites curated by a true expert.   Everyone loved this chance to add their own seasoning on this taste of what Israel has to offer.

As the short stay in Tel Aviv drew to a close, the group gathered back on the bus to head North for our last segment of the trip: our stay at a Kibbutz.  It is touching to see the bond develop between all members of the group.  Individuals are finding their way in the journey of self that is Birthright, and the group has gelled in a way that only this trip can offer.  We are looking forward to our Bnai Mitzvot, more learning about Israeli history and culture, and a participant-led Shabbat to close out this truly unique and beautiful experience.

From yesterday’s hike: written by Odelia

Our group spent the morning in the city of Eilat, on the southern edge of Israel. We hiked through the desert, where we viewed the scenery of mountains and got to see parts of the Sinai peninsula. It was an amazing experience.