We woke up this morning awaiting news on whether we would be able to approach the town of Sderot that sits 1km away from the Gaza border. Unfortunately, due to recent tension this was cancelled, but a wonderful day was planned for us. After a delicious breakfast, we headed to the auditorium to hear three different, yet interesting speakers. The first speaker was Noam Bedein, who works at the Sderot Media Center. He spoke to us about the town of Sderot and how it has become one of the most significant national symbols of Israel’s courage and resilience, due to the many rockets targeted at that area over the past decade. He told us about his personal story of the rockets targeting his home and community.
The second speaker was a man who lost his daughter in a terror attack. Arnold’s daughter - Malki, was one who loved others and always dedicated her time to helping disabled children. Arnold wasn't trying to make us feel sorry for him, but he wanted to inform us about the fear that Israelis experience on a day to day basis and the importance of persevering.
The third and final talk was from Ohad, who is a drone pilot in the Israeli army. He told us about the current situation in Gaza and how Israel acts upon these rockets using drones that he helps fly. These talks were all completely different, but enabled us to learn more about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while learning about the ways Israel protects their borders and citizens. Arnold’s emotional talk also opened our eyes to the sad reality of the loss of Malki and many others who have lost their loved ones.
We quickly hopped onto the buses and were off to the Jordanian border. What I found so amazing, is that in Israel, you can go from one border to the other in such a short amount of time - reminding us how small a country Israel really is.
After a quick pit stop for lunch, we had arrived. We were all shocked at how close we were to Jordan. We stood at the base of the Jordanian river, five metres away from several Jordanian soldiers protecting their side of the border. We were lucky enough to listen to an Israeli soldier who was on her shift at the time. Her name is Lee, and she is a 20 year old combat soldier. She talked to us about her training and several weapons and tools she was wearing. We split up into our family groups for a quick tochnit (activity) and discussed what we had learnt during the whole of advocacy week and how our opinions of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict may have changed.
Personally, I felt as though I have gained a deeper insight into the conflict and now am able to create my own well informed opinion. We continued to cinema city in Tel Aviv, where we were able to relax after a long day while watching Justice League. The movie was followed by a delicious dinner of pizza, salads, wraps and bagels. After arriving at the hotel we packed into the small lift group by group moving into our hotel rooms for the night. Another jam-packed day, looking forward for what’s to come tomorrow.