The Blog

UNESCO Ambassadors Blog 3

Monday, March 27th, 2017

The City of David, the core of ancient Jerusalem outside today’s Old City walls, set the dramatic stage for an early morning meeting with Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem, who welcomed the diplomats at the Pool of Siloam, mentioned both in the Old Testament and in the Gospel of John as the site where Jesus healed the blind man.

From there Nir Barkat surprised the Ambassadors with a visit to an ongoing excavation not yet open to the public: a seven-meter wide Herodian road, which Jewish pilgrims took to reach the ancient Temple after their ritual bath at the pool.

Standing next on top of what is believed to be the palace of King David, with a view of the Mount of Olives and the Old City Walls, Mayor Barkat told the Ambassadors that, “these findings strongly contradict UNESCO’s claims that deny the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Christian world to the Land of Israel.” He further explained how the city is working hard to facilitate the free access to all these religious and historical sites while at the same time respecting the needs of today’s residents, be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish. “The way the Israeli authorities see the connection between very ancient history and actual life is a very rich approach to handle the complex challenges of the City of Jerusalem,” one diplomat said.

From Jerusalem, the Ambassadors drove to Ramallah where they met with Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, to discuss the prospects of finding new language for a UNESCO Resolution on Jerusalem that could be acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

The last stop was Jericho, where diplomats learned about the Jericho Agro Industrial Park, a joint project supported by Japan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan all working together and designed to bring new investments and jobs to the Palestinian economy.

UNESCO Ambassadors Blog 2

Monday, March 27th, 2017

On the third day of the seminar, the reality of the region caught up with the study group. The original helicopter flight to the Golan Heights, where participants were supposed to hear about Israel’s security challenges at the Northern border, had to be cancelled due to these very security challenges. A missile from Syria had been shot down by Israel’s anti-missile Arrow system just the day before. Instead, the group took the chopper to an observation point very close to the Gaza border, where Hamas poses its own security threats to border communities and beyond. Hamas, the terror group ruling Gaza, has acquired missiles that can reach even Tel Aviv. Ambassadors were shocked to learn that residents near Gaza had only a few seconds after a missile alarm to find shelter.

From there, the group took the helicopter to Jerusalem, giving the Ambassadors a spectacular birds’ eye-view of the Holy Basin. Along the Via Dolorosa, passing several of the Stations of the Cross, the diplomats, many visibly emotional to see these sites for the every first time, then entered the Western Wall Plaza.

From there, they headed up to the Temple Mount, where they admired the magnificent Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, albeit from the outside only, as non-Muslims are not allowed to enter these sites.

The next religious and emotional highlight was the visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Having earlier only seen the Western Wall from a distance, the diplomats could not wait to return to say their own personal prayers at the Wall.

Having thus visited the holiest sites in Judaism and Christianity and one of the holiest sites in Islam, the stage was set for a geopolitical tour of the Old City. Here, Ambassadors heard about the careful equilibrium Israeli authorities balance to guarantee religious freedom and access to religious sites and maintaining the intricate system of religious oversight the various communities enjoy.

A visit to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park rounded up the day. Here, Israeli archaeologists strive to present the entire history of the city: from the recently excavated palace from the early Arab conquest of the city which is centrally displayed near the entrance of the park (with signs in the official languages of Israel - Hebrew and Arabic), to the exciting findings from the Second Temple period, with Hebrew carvings in stones that are more than 2,000 years old.

“Everybody should come to Israel and see for themselves,” one diplomat summed it up. “Everybody has an opinion about Israel, but they need to come here and see for themselves how these opinions are often wrong,” he added.

UNESCO Ambassadors - March 2017

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Blog Post 1

Note: AJC Transatlantic Director Daniel Schwammenthal and AJC Paris Associate Director Vincent Zappia are accompanying an inaugural delegation of UNESCO Ambassadors in Israel.

The excitement for Project Interchange’s first seminar for UNESCO Ambassadors is by far not limited just to the participants from Croatia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, and Tanzania. One rather exasperated diplomat told us that he has been now stationed in Paris for two years and nobody at home finds that particularly interesting or newsworthy. But no sooner had people heard that he was visiting Israel for just a few days, the phone started ringing as friends and family congratulated him for visiting the Holy Land and wanted to know everything about his trip and whether the country was as fascinating as they imagined it.

That’s a challenge AJC Project Interchange and Israel can deal with. And so, having arrived late in the afternoon in Tel Aviv, the group ventured out to Rothschild Boulevard to discover some of the city’ss finest architectural jewels. Thanks to Jewish architects who fled Nazi Germany and later occupied Europe, Tel Aviv is home to some 4,000 buildings in the Bauhaus/International Style, the largest such collection anywhere in the world. This is why, in 2003, UNESCO proclaimed Tel Aviv’s White City, so called because the buildings were painted in shining white, a World Cultural Heritage site, as “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century.” This was thus a fitting start for UNESCO Ambassadors who were deeply impressed with the beautifully renovated buildings and Tel Aviv’s exciting night life along (Palm)tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard. “This is just beautiful,” as one diplomat put it. The evening was rounded off with a dinner where Israel’s UNESCO Ambassador Carmel Shama Hacohen officially welcomed his colleagues, setting the stage for the rest of the trip which he would accompany.

Today’s visit was kicked off by Einat Wilf, a former Member of Knesset and Adjunct Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Einat gave participants a tour d’horizon about the history of Zionism and the difficult and ongoing discussion within Israel about what it means to be a Jewish State. The Ambassadors were deeply involved in the discussion, further probing the meaning of Jewish identity as a people and nation and not just as a religion. The discussion also moved to contemporary anti-Semitism in Europe, particularly in France where the Ambassadors are based.

AJC Jerusalem Director Lt. Col. (res) Avital Leibovich then briefed participants about the many security challenges Israel faces at its borders, from Hezbollah and ISIS in the North, to Hamas and ISIS in the South. The briefing came just on the heels of escalation on the Syrian border, giving the discussion particular drama and relevance. Next was a visit to Jafaa and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, where Ambassadors learned about Israel’s grassroots activities to build bridges with its neighbors. “We are deeply grateful to PI And AJC for giving us the opportunity to experience this country and learn about its challenges and the region,” was how one of the Ambassadors summed up his feelings at a concluding dinner with other foreign diplomats and AJC and PI staff.

Blog Post 5

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Note: AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger and Public Affairs Officer Fabian Weissbarth are accompanying a delegation of German Politicians and Journalists in Israel.

After a long night enjoying the vibrant nightlife of Rothschild Boulevard, there were some sleepy faces on the early bus to our helicopters for the trip exploring Israel’s Northern and Southern borders. Some were flying in helicopters for the first time, and the excitement was palpable.

We were fortunate with the weather, and the views were spectacular. The pilots did a good job explaining the narrowness of the borders. When we arrived at Mount Bental, we were greeted by Brig. Gen. (res). Nitzan Nuriel who shared his long experience and insights about the security threats emanating from Syria, Lebanon and Iran. He emphasized in particular the considerable of future conflicts again with Hezbollah.
We were deeply impressed by our visit to Ziv Medical Center in Safed, where we learned about the hospital’s quiet people-to-people diplomacy, caring for more than 700 wounded Syrians, over the past 4 years both adults and children. The engagement of the doctors and medical staff was inspiring. We were able to speak with several patients who shared their experiences and the difficulties getting to Israel, which is a far superior option for medical treatment.

We had lunch in an Arab Christian village with an Arab former member of Knesset, Dr. Hana Swaid. We learned about Israel’s Arab community, particularly the Arab-Christian minority, and their growing economic success. He highlighted discussions within the Arab-Israeli community about Palestinian identity vis-a-vis the Jewish majority and stressed the many possibilities of coexistence.

We then took an impressive helicopter flight along the coast to the border with Gaza. We received a comprehensive overview from Col. (res.) Grisha Yakubovich of Israel’s struggle with Hamas, whose fighters, including affiliated groups, have shot missiles on to Israeli territory for nearly two decades. Additional provocations, including kidnappings, have led to several armed conflicts between Israel and Hamas. As a former head of civilian coordination activities for the Israeli military in the territories, he described in detail the extensive economic, humanitarian and security efforts made by Israeli authorities to stabilize living conditions for the Palestinians.

Yael Raz-Lachyani, an educator who has lived in the kibbutz with her family all her life, described what it is like to live in a state of constant fear and discussed at length the multitude of coping mechanisms, especially dealing with children. When a four year old child was killed in 2014 by a missile from Hamas in Gaza, one-quarter of the kibbutz residents moved away, while others wondered if the kibbutz could continue at all. Yael explained that when you only have three seconds of warning before a missile hits, it is impossible to offer reliable safety. This information made a deep impression on the delegation members.
The group was moved to learn how the people of Nahal Oz fought to save their community by creating programs that would attract new families and younger residents to settle in the kibbutz. A great success was the establishment of a pre-army program for high school graduates, which helped to create a more active community for everyone. The visit with Yael showed our participants the determination of Israelis to continue with everyday life despite the constant threat of terror.

At our final morning in Tel Aviv, participants expressed their appreciation for the numerous insights and perspectives gained during their visit to Israel, with some already planning a return visit.

Blog Post Days 3 and 4

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Note: AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger and Public Affairs Officer Fabian Weissbarth are accompanying a delegation of German Politicians and Journalists in Israel.

Blog Post Days 3 and 4

The starkly shifting political landscape of the Middle East was the next topic we explored in depth. We were fortunate to have time with the press spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emmanuel Nahshon, whom we know from a previous appointment in Berlin. He brightened the picture of the Middle East conflict considerably, explaining that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is only one component of greater regional issues. He discussed intensifying relationships with neighboring countries, including ways in which growing regional alliances can create the necessary support to enable an agreement between Israel and Palestinians.

This larger original panorama was also elucidated by Major (res.) Arye Shalicar, former Spokesperson of the IDF, now working in the Ministry of Intelligence at the Prime Minister’s Office. He discussed the Israeli perception of the threat from Iran, and analyzed evermore similarities to statements being made by pragmatic Arab leaders. Arye also shared details of his unusual childhood growing up as a Persian Jew in an immigrant district of Berlin. The difficulties of growing up Jewish in an immigrant neighborhood and Berlin convinced him to look for a new homeland in which to start a family. He decided that Israel was the place where he feels most comfortable. Indeed, his entire family has followed him now to Israel.

Regarding Israel’s approach to dealing with terror, we heard fascinating insights from Professor Boaz Ganor at the Institute for Counterterrorism at the IDC. He spoke about the growing danger of the second generation which has far greater identity issues and less orientation than the immigrant generation of their parents. Their inability to find a place in society, combined with their lack of affiliation with the home country, is leading some of these young people along the path of terror.

We then heard an explanation about the application of international law regarding the Israeli presence in the disputed territories from Daniel Reisner, a lawyer for many years who previously headed the international law division for the Israeli Defense Forces, and who has advised numerous prime ministers on legal aspects of the peace process. He elaborated on the complex legal situation, pointing out that international law leaves great room for interpretation, making judgments about the legal status on the disputed territories extraordinarily complicated.

We had several inspirational meetings regarding coexistence in Israel with minorities, as well as efforts to integrate Israel’s growing segment of refugees and foreign workers. First, we visited the Bialik-Rogozin school in a poor section of Tel Aviv. This amazing school has managed to integrate 1,300 pupils, more than half of whom do not have permanent resident status, into Israeli life and society, ensuring that virtually all of the pupils achieve a high school degree.

The joy on the faces of the pupils, who come from more than 50 countries, was heartwarming, as was the exuberance of the school’s extraordinary principal Eli Nehama. Given the refugee situation in Germany, with an influx of more than one million refugees in a short period, the group was impressed by what is possible to achieve in a fairly short time with the commitment of teachers, volunteers, and the community. It was also impressive to see the efforts of the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, where Jewish, Christian and Muslim young people come together for art, music, sports and exchange with one another to help narrow the gaps between different groups in Israeli society. It was inspiring to hear the voices of the peace choir. At this community center, they come together to make the neighborhood a better place.

Blog Post 2

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Note: AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger and Public Affairs Officer Fabian Weissbarth are accompanying a delegation of German Politicians and Journalists in Israel.

After another fabulous breakfast with views over Jerusalem, we set off to learn more about the Palestinian territories. We were fortunate to be accompanied by Israeli Radio journalist Gal Berger, who has reported for 13 years from the territories.

First, we were fortunate to meet with the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Rami Hamdallah. He gave us a brief and somewhat more optimistic assessment of the current political situation than we had expected. However, he acknowledged that Hamas remains a strong political force and the results of potential upcoming political elections are highly unclear. He thanked Germany in particular for its assistance to the Palestinians, both in terms of economic aid and political support.

Afterwards, we learned more about the mood on the Palestinian street with Dr. Khalil Shikaki, associate professor of political science and Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. The professor explained in-depth the ambivalent thinking amongst Palestinian society in regards to Israel and the peace process, emphasizing they’re growing growing divided based on religious outlook.

However, Shikaki cautioned that the issues of Jerusalem and refugee return remain difficult to solve. A reason for great concern is the rising skepticism and radicalization amongst Palestinian youth who don’t believe in a two-state solution.

Following our meetings, we ate the best shawarma in Ramallah, and learned more about the work of Israeli journalists in the occupied territories. Our guide Gal shared with us the growing difficulties for Israelis to report from the West Bank, also because of a shrinking support from Palestinian colleagues.

Tomorrow promises to be another fascinating day including meetings at the Knesset (Parliament) and discussions and a site visit on integrating immigrants from around the world.

German Politicians and Journalists in Israel Blog Post 1

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Note: AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger and Public Affairs Officer Fabian Weissbarth are accompanying a delegation of German Politicians and Journalists in Israel.

As we stepped out of the airplane there was a glowing red setting sun that set the tone that something extraordinary would happen this week. We were fortunate to begin the study tour with one of Israel’s most famous public intellectuals, Prof. Shlomo Avineri.

Avineri reported about the great disillusionment in Israel with the peace process, which he explained can only be settled ultimately between the Israelis and the Palestinians. However, he outlined a path forward of smaller steps that can maintain a relatively peaceful and sustainable situation. He pointed to another example of disputed territories, such as Cyprus and Kosovo, which are politically manageable despite unsolved issues. However, he expressed skepticism that any of the four major areas of dispute - borders and settlements - Jerusalem - refugees - security issues - can be solved in the foreseeable future.

AJC Jerusalem director Avital Leibovich explained Israel’s security challenges on its borders and within the country due to hostile neighbors and terror groups. She outlined the significant growth in military capacity of Hezbollah, which is worrisome for Israel. Hezbollah quintupled their rocket arsenal over the last 10 years while gaining extensive on the ground military experience in Syria. Avital helped create understanding about the difficulties Israelis face living under constant threat of terror.

We further learned the difficulties of preventing terror attacks from police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld, who explained the considerable resources necessary, while taking us through the Old City of Jerusalem. He also elaborated on the challenge to maintain a balance between public security and unhindered access to the famous tourist sites in the Old City. Given the increasing numbers of terror attacks in Europe and Germany, this was particularly interesting for the group - many working in the field of security.

It was fascinating for the group to see the lively group of men and women of all ages praying at the Western Wall. It was also interesting to see large numbers of young soldiers, reflecting the diversity of Israel’s many ethnicities, who were assembled in the Old City to learn more about the country’s ancient history.

The group also learned more about Israel’s religious communities doing a tour through Jerusalem’s neighborhoods led by the highly informed Miri Eisin. Next, came overview of Israel’s political system, where participants discovered many common points of intersection between the German and Israeli parliamentary democracies. Reuven Hazan’s extremely interesting lecture on this topic also showed the singularities of the Israeli political system, helping the group to better understand the election process and political camps in Israel.

We ended the day with a lively discussion with Canadian journalist and author Matti Friedman, who has written extensively about the singular focus of the international press on Israel; more specifically to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The discussion elicited numerous observations and reflections on media coverage of Israel, helping illuminate the ways in which reporting shapes our understanding.

Campus Leaders - Final Blog Post

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Note: A delegation of Campus Leaders from Brown University is in Israel with Project Interchange. The delegation is accompanied by Seffi Kogen, Assistant Director, AJC Campus Affairs, and Rachel Craig, Senior Associate, AJC Project Interchange.

It just wouldn’t be true to who we are as a group to not have a jam-packed last day!

We began with a session on how Israel adheres to international law designed for symmetrical warfare in a uniquely asymmetric situation by Dr. Dror Harel, a former legal advisor to the Prime Minister.

Next, Arik Segal, an expert in conflict management, helped us get in touch with our inner role-players as we acted out a convening between young Israelis and Palestinians to give ourselves a sense of the challenges and opportunities presented by social contact.

Over lunch, AJC’s Shay Zavdi moderated a panel consisting of three journalists: Noa Amouyal, News Editor at The Jerusalem Post, Gili Cohen, Security and Military Correspondent at Haaretz, and Safwan Ibrahim Abu Gosh, the Editor of Chief of Arabic News at the Israel Public Broadcasting Company. The participants—especially the student journalists among them—found the session fascinating, asking terrific questions.

From there, we drove to the Tel Aviv Pride Center to hear from LGBT activist Anat Nir, who shared with us her personal story of discovering that she was bisexual, and then answered our questions about queer culture and politics in Israel.

We walked out of our meeting with Anat and headed over to the beautiful crafts fair at Nahalat Binyamin. The students took advantage of this great last minute souvenir opportunity to load up on gifts for their friends and family back home and appreciate the beautiful handiwork of Israeli artisans.

After a final opportunity to shower and change for the flight home, we sat down to dinner with Col. Miri Eisin, former spokeswoman for the IDF and the Prime Minister’s Office. With an answer for every question, Miri helped us tie up any loose ends that remained from the trip.

Finally, we took one last opportunity for review and reflection together before boarding the bus to the airport and bidding our final farewells. We’re saying goodbye to Israel but, thankfully, not to each other. The students will be reunited in Providence soon enough—forever changed by our experiences!

Campus Leaders Blog 3

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Note: A delegation of Campus Leaders from Brown University is in Israel with Project Interchange. The delegation is accompanied by Seffi Kogen, Assistant Director, AJC Campus Affairs, and Rachel Craig, Senior Associate, AJC Project Interchange.

Our first two days of 2017 were jam-packed, as we went beyond intro-level and took a deep dive into the topics at hand!

First up was noted Israeli author and essayist Etgar Keret, who shared, in his own darkly comical way, his views on Israel’s future. By analyzing the language used to discuss the conflict, Etgar challenged us to change our thinking. Then, he got our day off to a really special start by reading his story “The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God.”

When we left Etgar, we drove to Tel Aviv University to hear from Professor Asher Susser, who gave our group a comprehensive briefing on Israel’s strategic environment. It’s crucial, as we form our opinions on Israel, that we understand the threats Israel faces, and how it reacts to those threats.

The best meal of the trip (per several of the students) came at our next stop, Yasser al-Horani’s nursery. There, on low tables, among potted plants, we heard the story of Yasser’s family, and enjoyed his traditional Palestinian falafel. We saw him interact with his friend, Grisha Yakubovich, a colonel in the IDF reserves, who later showed us Israel’s narrow waist from a hilltop high in Alphei Menashe.

We concluded the day at Givat Haviva, an inspiring institution working toward creating a shared society between Jews and Arabs. In Israel. Mohammed Darawshe told us about his efforts to combat racism in Israel’s Jewish and Arab youth through exposure to the “other.” The success rate he cites for his programs is impressive, heartening, and gave us hope.

Tuesday was a big day for us as well. We loaded the bus bright and early, and set out for Ramallah —the latest stop in our pursuit of…even more questions! Our wonderful guide, Eemad, taught us a great deal about Palestinian life, and when we heard from our first speaker, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, we felt even better informed in our ongoing quest.

Next, we visited Zaman, an upscale coffee shop in Ramallah, and met with the company’s managing partner, a powerful, driven, and impressive woman named Huda El-Jack. We spent a great deal of time chatting with Huda (and perhaps even more time chewing over her every word once we were back on the bus) and learned a ton, including why many Palestinian businesspeople reject the movement to boycott Israel.

From Ramallah, we crossed back over into Israel, and drove to the capital city of Jerusalem, to visit the Knesset (Parliament). In addition to a quick tour of the building, we heard from Amir Ohana, the first openly gay Member of Knesset from the right-wing Likud party, and from Ksenia Svetlova, an MK from the center-left Zionist Union. The students greatly enjoyed picking out the points of disagreement between the two.

Finally, we wrapped up our day with a delicious dinner and a thought-provoking lecture from Dr. Tal Becker, a long-time member of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiating teams, laid out for us the nature of the conflict—and, crucially, the nature of the disagreement between the two sides.

Now, off to bed before our very last day together.

Campus Leaders Blog 2

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Note: A delegation of Campus Leaders from Brown University is in Israel with Project Interchange. The delegation is accompanied by Seffi Kogen, Assistant Director, AJC Campus Affairs, and Rachel Craig, Senior Associate, AJC Project Interchange.

Happy New Year from beautiful Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean!

The second half of Friday was jam-packed with new experiences. We departed Yad Vashem and drove down to Netiv Haasarah, right on the border with the Gaza Strip. There, we met with a woman named Tzameret who shared with us the difficulties of living in such a strife-riven place, where rockets and mortars could slam into homes with little or no warning. Still, she loves her home and is committed to raising her family there. We had the tremendous opportunity to take part in a beautiful art project that Tzameret has undertaken, to cover the wall protecting her community from Gaza in messages of peace. The students enjoyed adding their own messages, and appreciated the project.

From there, we went to Sderot, a town in the South that has infamously been a target for Hamas rockets. We chatted with Nir, a friend of Yoram’s who lives in Sderot, at a reinforced playground, which doubles as a bomb shelter. Nir gave a very interesting account of life in the city, and provided a perspective that was more right-wing than anyone else we’d met so far. The students loved the opportunity to have a candid discussion and to learn a different perspective.

Upon our return to Jerusalem, we enjoyed a group discussion, and had the opportunity to reflect on the trip thus far—in a word: complexity! We’ve only heard from Jewish Israeli voices so far, and we’re excited to diversify that, but we can tell that there is much more to this place that is apparent in the discourse the students have seen at Brown. One student voiced how frustrating it is that being against Israel seems to be a part of a litany of beliefs all progressive students are supposed to adhere to. To her, though she wants to see equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians, this conflict cannot be understood through a simplistic lens of good and evil.

Friday concluded with a beautiful Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner, hosted by Rabbi David and Ayala Levin-Kruss. The Levin-Kruss family have long loved hosting AJC trips for Shabbat dinner in their home and this year was an especially fitting match since Ayala is a Brown alumna! The couple invited several students from Pardes, the Hebrew University, and Hadassah College to join us, so we didn’t just enjoy a delicious and traditional Shabbat dinner, but we also got to meet young Israelis and learn from them about their culture.

Today (Saturday), was the closest thing to an apolitical day you can have on a trip like this. We began bright and early with a walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, led by Yoram. We learned the history of Jerusalem, slipped notes between the cracks of the Western Wall, and toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The students loved learning that their own religious denominations each had some claim to a part of the Church—a meaningful Jerusalem experience for all.

From the spiritual high of Jerusalem, we ventured down to the Dead Sea—the lowest point on earth! A fun time was had by all as we floated, cheesed for the camera, and DIDN’T splash in the incredibly salty water. Then, having had the experience, we boarded the bus to head to Tel Aviv!

Our first night in Tel Aviv—New Year’s Eve!—saw us venture out on a walking tour of Jaffa, then enjoying a scrumptious dinner in the Ethiopian restaurant Balinjera, where the Ethiopian woman who owns the place graciously told us her story of immigrating to Israel as a child, and her perspective on Israeli society as a Black woman.

Now, we’re getting on our dancing shoes for a thumpin’ NYE party—conveniently located in our own hostel.
Talk to you next year!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Project Interchange.