Today was a day full of listening and learning from people living in the West Bank. We started off the day driving from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and were privileged to have a West Bank-local as our tour guide for the day, adding nuance and perspective to our bus rides and walks. Once we arrived in Bethlehem, we toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and gained a better understanding of the religious importance of this land to Christianity. Walking around the streets surrounding this holy site, we saw a wide array of street vendors selling drinks, produce, clothes, and toys. After taking in our first morning adventure, we traveled to Al-Aida refugee camp and met with Palestinian teenagers and enjoyed learning traditional dances. The power of arts in the community we were in was made abundantly clear through the graffiti and phrases on the border wall. After a busy morning we enjoyed a hummus and falafel lunch at the Banksy & Palestinian art-filled Walled Off Hotel. We finished off the day with a presentation from Friends of Roots, an organization dedicated to bringing all peoples living in the West Bank together to talk and humanize each other in order to make an impact on the polarization existing in the status quo. We had a yummy dinner and quick group debrief and are excited for another day of experiences!

Until tomorrow,
Havaya Israel 2022

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