Saturday, February 17, 2007

Some Fun in the Snow!

We got back from a nice short getaway up in the north of Israel.

My brother-in-law, who lives with his family in a kibbutz in the Golan Heights, called us on Wednesday and said the weather forcast said a storm was coming, possibly with some snow too at their place. His idea was for us to pack up the kids and just go there, maybe catch some snow. The kids were beyond excited, so the next day, storm already rolling, we drove through it up to the Golan Heights.

It was a lot of fun, although it did not snow anywhere around the kibbutz. Still always nice to visit there :) It's such a lovely place and always good for a nice dose of cold European-style weather during winter. It was foggy and cloudy, just like I like it lol. I thought I'd share some pics here.

Here's my three years old Dan at the front of my in-laws' house:

As you can see, the houses are all the same, it being a kibbutz, but everyone can do whatever they want with their "patch". My BIL, Uri, turned the front of his house into two ponds connected with a kind of a bridge made from three grates. To get into the house, you walk over the grate with the fish swimming under you. Pretty cool! The kids really loved feeding the fish, as you can see here -

We had at least two meals at their splendid communal dining room here. The food is absolutely superb. People do have their own kitchens at home nowdays, but this kibbutz still keeps up withthe tradition of communal meals and has an excellent in-house chef too ;)

We couldn't very well go without seeing some snow though. The kids were so into it by then, we simply had to let them see some. So, on Friday morning we drove north from the kibbutz and up the Hermon mountain towards the ski resort at the top. We could see snow only a few hundreds of yards before the gates of the resort, and waited there for a few minutes, wondering if we should go inside or not. We decided to see how the kids would react to the snow first and let them out of the car to play with the snow by the road there. They had a lot of fun for five minutes lol, then they started getting wet from the melted snow and all of the sudden it was, "mom! I'm freezing! Let's get back to the car now!" lol. Good thing we didn't get tickets, we just shoved them back into the car and turned up the heat to defrost them a little and drove back to the kibbutz.

Here are some pictures of the happy snow times -

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My New Friend in Gaza

Strange are the ways of the Internet. And wonderful too, in a sense.

I am listed in the Skype directory, I think. I'm not even sure how I'm listed, all I know is that every now and again a Skype window pops up. I usually ignore these people, simply because I'm busy and don't have time to chat. I often take a look at the profile first, just out of curiosity. A week ago, such a Skype window popped up and me. The location showed "Palestinian Authority". I had a few minutes on my hands, so figured I'd say hello.

The young man on the other side tried Arabic first but switched to English when I said I can't read Arabic that well. He was from Gaza, his name was Jihad. When he realized he had stumbled upon an Israeli he went, "ohhhhhhhh, you must have me." And so our dialogue began. Now, Jihad is a 19 years old student and an avid supporter of Hammas, the kind that opposes to Israel in every way, and is certain that Allah intends for the whole of Israel, not just the West Bank or Gaza, to be under Palestinian control. To him, it's the will of God, not something that is even debatable. He loathes the PLO and admires the Hammas. He gets his news from Hammas resources and says he won't even check on international news sites because they are all "controlled by America" and hence prejudiced against Israel. He even justifies suicide bombers as freedom fighters.

It's a fascinating dialogue, to both of us. He says he never realized there were Jews in Israel that want peace and is fairly surprised. We talk almost daily, not always for very long. Surprisingly enough, we are reaching some common ground sometimes. I won't go into details, out of respect to the privacy of our chats, but just wanted to report here about this little dialogue that we have forming, between two people that are only 100 km's away from each other, yet are worlds apart in so many ways. It is a surprisingly friendly dialogue too. We call each other brothers by now (well, technically my husband and him call each other brothers lol), in a very Middle Eastern way. We've got mutual invitations open to each other and the common word in our conversation is Inshalla (God's willing) - Inshalla, someday Jihad will come here to play tennis with my hubby, and will take us down to visit the vegetable fields near his home...