Greetings from the Dead Sea! It’s been a whirlwind of an Israel Chazen trip so far that has provided my travelmates and me with a deeper understanding of Israel’s past and new perspectives on the country’s future.
A quick recap so far —
In Tel Aviv, we interacted with the vibrant tech scene and debated whether Israel has the potential to move from a “startup nation” to a “scaled up nation” that can compete with the world’s tech giants. We heard candid remarks from former Israeli security chief Yuval Diskin about the delicate geopolitical situation in the Middle East and his belief that it is impossible that all dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved (though he advocated that Israel, Palestine and Israel’s neighbors must all work together to solve as many of the conflict’s dimensions as possible).
In the Golan Heights, we got a glimpse across Israel’s borders into neighboring Jordan and Syria – countries that face their own complex problems and whose fates are intertwined with Israel’s – and heard from retired Israeli Army colonel Miri Eisin about country’s most pressing security issues.
In Jerusalem, we traveled back in time to some of the most important sites in Christianity and Judaism in the Old City (including the believed tomb of Jesus); shared prayers and notes at the Wailing Wall; and were inspired by the lessons of a Holocaust survivor and delved into the painful events that led to the creation of a Jewish state at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Museum.
In the Judean desert, we experienced the warm hospitality of the Bedouin people and learned one Bedouin woman’s personal story of how she defied tradition to take a job in the hospitality industry in Israel.
While we have touched various cultures and topics throughout our travels these last few days, the extreme complexity of both Israel’s history and the challenges that will impact its future has been a recurring theme throughout our discussions. For example, it is impossible to fully dissect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, let alone come up with a resolution, in a matter of days. However, this trip has highlighted the importance of asking questions to better understand the elements that shaped the world, cultures and politics around us and the need to spread awareness about complex topics.
— Nathalie Tadena, CBS ’18