Day 37 - JNF, Gaza border & Kaye Wilson (Netzach)
It was such an awesome experience to stay overnight at the Bedouin tents. This was definitely a highlight of my IST journey.
All of Netzach were all gathered into one huge tent, where the girls and boys were seperated by a flimsy barrier. We each got a mattress and a sleeping bag for the night. The only annoying issue was that the bathroom was quite a walk, so if you needed to go to the bathroom, you had to layer up and quickly go there and back (which was an experience in itself)! One thing was for sure, we were all very thankful that our tent was a LOT warmer than outside.
We all had a very early wake up.. 5:15 am! Despite the complaining and reluctance to get out of bed (including myself), it was so worth it and the view was spectacular as we were camel riding during sunrise. It is definitely something I would recommend doing.
Later during the morning, we spent the day learning about the JNF (קקל). We toured the plantations and went tomato and cucumber picking, strawberry tasting and carrot picking. I was extremely impressed and fascinated by how the JNF have managed to cultivate the land and grow such a variety of incredible, fresh produce. Most importantly, I gained a better understanding of what our donations are focused on and how essential they are for the expansion and development of the land.
We then went for lunch at a petrol station where majority of us stocked up on snacks (as usual). We were then taken to a look out point where we overlooked a water reservoir, a project in which many of our JNF donations are put into.
Our next stop was to the border between Israel and Gaza. For me, it was astounding to realise that we were only a few kilometres away from Gaza where only a fence is dividing it from Israel. After a long day, we drove back to Jerusalem. At the hotel (Ramat Rachel), we were fortunate enough to hear from Kaye Wilson, a woman who was horrifically and violently bashed by terrorists, bound for death in 2010. She described her disturbing ordeal (in detail) , and how she found the strength to walk to her car despite the severity of her injuries and how she sadly had to walk away from her innocent friend who was stabbed to death in order to have a chance of surviving and her whole recovery process (which is still continuing).
She was able to put a smile on all our faces which I truly admired, considering the context of her experience. She expressed strongly that she holds no sense of forgiveness for the terrorists, but they're not animals, they're humans. She also conveyed that she has a huge connection and sense of pride to the Holy land.
Her closing statement to us was, "I just told you all about my terrifying experience... no reaction, yet when I mention my dog getting a stab on the leg, the whole audience sympathised".