Barkan, What’s Happening over Green Line

Barkan, What’s Happening over Green Line

Summer time. Israelis travel.  It is reported that half the population goes overseas.

Having traveled plenty, especially when we lived in Australia and circled the globe numerous times, I am staying closer to home.

However, I gladly accepted another chance to go see more of the Shomron.

View of Shomron from bus

There are vast expanses of land, with magnificent views as seen from the bus.

Arab building in YESHA construction

This is all new Arab construction, and many are empty summer homes for people living overseas.

Leshem new houses

Leshem, the future home of hundreds of young Israeli families, is growing.

Near Ariel, only an hour drive from Jerusalem, our destination was the Twitoplast factory in the Barkan Industrial Park.

Barkan Industrial park Israeli business hiring Arab workers

In the Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks, Israelis and Arabs come together and work together.

Arab workers in Israeli factory in Barkan Industrial Park

I was in the factory on a previous visit and saw some of the plastic pieces being made,

Palestinian workers in Barkan Industrial Parl

plastic components which are sent around the world.

Palestinian workers in Israel

This is where Arab workers, many second generation, get a decent wage and benefits.

Cars in Shomron industrial area with Palestinian license plates

Last time I noticed their cars parked outside.

Barkan Industrial Park near Ariel Israeli business new green house for education of Arab workers' children

This visit, however, the green house constructed in the parking lot was our point of interest.

Moshe Lev Ran, VP of International Sales, spoke for the owner, Yisrael Twito.

Twito has built and maintained a successful business, in spite of BDS activists trying to shut him and other businesses down.

I decided to let you hear Moshe, an individual too hard to describe in one caption.

Twito not only employs and supports hundreds of families, but in this greenhouse he is teaching their children the importance of education. The children are learning about agriculture and animals, and more importantly, about innovation and motivation.

Israelis traveling in Europe have noted it is hard to find kosher food. European labeling laws and BDS initiatives have affected some “Over the Green Line” businesses.

Arab woman working in Israeli business

Twitoplast is only one business. There are dozens more. From over two years ago:

What the Main Stream Media is Not Reporting: The Arab Jobs at Risk 

West Bank view from bus

Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks, carved out of hills, have been developed over the past 30 years.

BDS does not “help Palestinians,” rather they are ones hurt most if companies like TwitoPlast and SodaStream are forced to move.

West Bank Winery in Shomron

One small, growing business in the Shomron is the Kabir Winery in Elon Moreh.

Elon Moreh Kabir Winery

The Kabir Winery is one of several wineries with tastings and food options.

New vineyards are being planted. Listen to the wind on the mountain top looking down on Shehem, or Nablus.

If you miss the annual Wine Festival at the Israel Museum, take a trip and see these boutique wineries. The quality of the kosher wine and food options might surprise you.

View in YESHA, West Bank

While I marvel how much Israel has accomplished under difficult circumstances, in 70 years, in 50 years Israelis in Judea and Samaria have many accomplishments of which to be proud.

I only regret that it took me so long to go and see for myself what was really happening over the “Green Line.”

If you want to see for yourself, let me know and I will connect you.

Finally, if you missed my other recent trip to Shomron, those 7 stops: HERE.

5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

The full moon was shining over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Red balloons were tied outside of restaurants, street cafes, and wine bars.

Celebrations had begun for Tu B’Av, the “Jewish Valentines Day,” the week after  Tisha B’Av. 

Extra security was posted along the path between Yemin Moshe and Sultan’s Pool, where the Jerusalem Film Festival was having its opening night.

Scene 1:

Female Israeli security guarding at night Jerusalem

In the shadows, were three Ethiopian-Israeli women in uniform posted on guard duty by the gate.

Artists Colony at night Jerusalem Israel

The Artists’ Colony was empty, until the International Arts Festival, from August 6 – 18.

Teddy Park Fountain lit at night Jerusalem Israel

But nearby the fountain in Teddy Park was full. Day and night, all summer long, one hears the squeals of children enjoying the water and at night, there is music too.

Scene 2:

Jerusalem Teddy Park Fountain at night Muslim women and children and Jewish women and children

Teddy Park is a place where Muslims and Jews come together regularly, night and day.

Lights on walls of Jerusalem Old city at night

The Old City Walls were lit for the Tu B’Av crowds to enjoy.

Israeli Squash Tournament near Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Old City

In keeping with the RJS theme: “What will you find next on the Jerusalem streets?” the Israeli Squash Tournament was being held near Jaffa Gate.

Israel Squash Tournament in Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate

Israeli athletes competed in a specially constructed area,

Israeli Squash Tournament at Jaffa Gate

playing for large trophies,

Israel Squash Tournament trophies

lots of large trophies and medals for various age groups.

People watching Squash Tournament including Jerusalem Mayor

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was sitting front and center watching a game.

Scene 3:

Arab couple and children watching Squash Tournament in Jerusalem Israel near Jaffa Gate

As they strolled through the plaza, this young Muslim family stopped to watch.

People watching Squash Tournament in Israel near Jerusalem Jaffa Gate

However, I thought this was one event best seen on TV.

Jaffa Gate Tower of David full moon

The moon was shining above as I walked from Jaffa Gate to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Night of Tu B'Av men at Kotel

The men’s section had many empty chairs and tables.

Tu B'Av women at night at Kotel praying

However, the women’s section was filled with hundreds of women–there was not one empty seat.

Scene 4:

Women praying at Kotel on Tu BeAv

One group praying together was of special interest. Israeli women from across the religious spectrum came from north and south to pray together.

After praying in unison at the Kotel, dozens of women arrived to join them for a Tu B’Av celebration nearby.

Tourists at night at Kotel taking photos

The Old City was filled with thousands of people, tourist groups, and Israelis of all ages. Photos and selfies galore were taken by excited visitors.

Scene 5:

IDF soldier carrying a baby being helped by Haredi men near Kotel on stairs

I will leave you with one last scene on the stairs near the Kotel.

A young IDF soldier was holding a baby on this left arm and a folded stroller on his right arm, with backpacks dangling over his shoulder and his kippa in his hand.

First, one man insisted on taking the stroller from him and up the stairs. Then another young man turned to help to carry the backpacks.

None of these five scenes are considered headline worthy.

But all happened on the night of Tu B’Av on the Jerusalem streets.

With headlines of division, strikes and protests, 5 scenes of comfort, of rays of light in the darkness.

 

Shabbat Shalom

Some say Tu B’Av is like a Jewish Valentines Day.

There was so much happening Thursday night in Jerusalem, Israel.

The streets were full of people and cars. Plenty to share, but short on time.

However, the walls of the Old City were colorful for Tu B’Av.

Jerusalem walls colorfully lit for TU B'Av

 

I thought perfect to wish all a Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום