Day 3: Caesarea, Shfar’am, and Tiberias
We started today at Leket, Israel’s largest food redistribution program. Leket’s partnerships in agriculture, tourism, and the business community allow them to use excess food and fresh produce to feed vulnerable individuals.
From there we made a brief stop in Caesarea, Rome’s deepest and most elaborate port. Built by Herod, the port saw Roman Legions, merchants from across the Mediterranean, Crusaders, and others take their first steps in what is now modern Israel.
In the lower Galilee, we visited a new boarding school that brings more than 50 students together for their final two years of high school. What’s unique is the diversity of the group, including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim children from 16 countries. The concept is simple: bringing young people who exhibit leadership together to live and learn will ultimately change communities.
Our final stop was Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek where our group learned about the importance of the Kibbutzim in the early formation of Israel as well as the transition to a new economic reality. Mishmar HaEmek is a traditional cooperative and a highly success global business, TAMA Industries.
We ended the day at Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee for a casual dinner to discuss the day’s events.
Reflections From Senator-Elect Brian Williams
Today was an exciting but busy one for us. We had opportunity to tour Leket, which is a food bank in Israel. I was very impressed with the country’s commitment to feeding the poor.
Following our visit of Leket, we made our way to Caesarea. The 2,000 year old Roman amphitheater and Crusader harbor was nothing short of amazing! As we made our way along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, I have to admit it was quite an experience. I wish we could have stayed a little bit longer!
Then we made our way to The Center for a Shared Society at Givat Haviva. The center is a school that seeks out social activists of all backgrounds with a mission to bring people together. I was very impressed by the desire to teach diversity and focus on ensuring that the students are academically sound. The center also focuses on enhancing the students’ ability to live in a cross cultural community as well as develop public speaking skills.
As we prepared to leave the Center of a Shared Society at Givat Haviva we met an educator at the center named Lydia Aisenberg. Lydia, originally from Great Britain, took us on Route 65 along the “green line”. The green line is a demarcation line set out between the armies of Israel and neighboring countries like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. We also saw a monument in remembrance of 17 young people blown up on a bus in 2001 by Palestinians from the village of Zabuba from the other side of the green line.
We also drove past areas like Kafr Kari and Umm el Fahm. The architecture of the white buildings of the Palestinian town Jenine was fascinating. Unfortunately, Jewish Israelis look at areas like Umm el Fahm historically as a dark spot. A security checkpoint was only 7 kilometers from the Kibbutz. We shortly afterwards arrived to the Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek which means “Gone into the Valley” for lunch. I enjoyed the communal dining; we also learned more about communal life, income management and social engagement around changing times in the Kibbutz.
Last stop was in the Israeli-Arab city of Shfar’am. We met a local Israeli-Muslim educator named Amin Abu Suwayyad and discussed the challenges facing Israel’s Arab community. We also visited a Mosque as well as met a really nice Arab-Christian family that welcomed us into their home with delicious snacks and beverages. I personally enjoyed learning about their experience as educators as well as the generational lineage of their family.
Afterwards we drove to our hotel in Tiberias, followed by an amazing dinner. We even had a few beef options which made Senator-Elect Bernskoetter very happy! I am looking forward to seeing the Sea of Galilee in the morning 🙂
Reflections From Representative Jean Evans
I was really struck by the discussions we had over lunch at the Kibbutz. They live their lives there as socialists, but they run their business as Capitalists, and it’s extremely successful. I’m curious about the sociology of the Kibbutz and how it filled a need after the Holocaust and continues to do so to this day.
Every day we see more examples of peaceful coexistence amongst people in Israel. It’s clear the causes of disagreement, violence, and even war do not come from disputes amongst individuals or families, but from more powerful interests who seem little concerned about the people they hurt along the way.
Also, we had beef today. Some of us were particularly excited by that.