Please support me to launch the "Gaza Border Reality Tour", my next weekly tour project.
For over 7 years I have guided and managed the successful twice weekly Hebron Dual Narrative Tour, out of Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem. Now I'm preparing a tour that will tackle an even more complex topic - the Gaza-Israel conflict and border region. I now live Moshav Yoshiviya, between Netivot and Sderot, near the Gaza-Israel border, so have been developing the content and outline of a tour "close to home", to see up close and understand better a topic that is so much in the headlines. In order to "launch" this tour I need your support, help me raise $2000 to cover my costs related to the tour. We've finalized a launch date for the first tour, January 28, 2019.
Thousands of travelers, bloggers, journalists, and people from all backrounds and political views have joined my unique Hebron tour, engaging both the Israeli and Palestinian "narratives". Though the Gaza Border Reality tour wont be a "dual narrative" experience, it will be as comprehensive as is possible in one day, in that the tour will include diverse Israeli perspectives- meeting Israelis in Gaza border communities, learning the Israeli "security" perspective, but also engaging the Palestinian voice through a one hour discussion with an academic or activist in Gaza. We can expect the tour, coming through Abraham Tours and Hostels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, to generate a lot of interest.
Our planned one day tour itinerary is this: Driving from Jerusalem with an East Jerusalem driver, we'll start with an overview, at the "Shiboni lookout" of the northern Gaza-Israel border region near Kibbutz Nir Am. Driving the region, we'll view the "Black Arrow" site, see forests and fields burnt by the 'flaming' kites and balloons, and view, from a safe distance, one area across the border near Gaza City where the weekly 'Great March of Return' protests and clashes take place. At the site of the religious kibbutz - Be'erot Yitzhak - that was destroyed in the '48 war, we'll view the now closed Karni Crossing cargo terminal, and then learn the Israeli narrative of settlement and sacrifice in the northern Negev in creating the borders of the future state.
Then we'll visit one of the Israeli border communities, Kibbutz Nachal Oz or Kibbutz Sa'ad, and meet with a resident for an open discussion about their fears and hopes while living under "rocket reality". In a conference room we'll hold a two hour study seminar about the Gaza-Israel conflict, covering: the history of Gaza, the '48 and '67 wars, refugees, the intifadas, Oslo, the disengagement, the 2008, '12 and '14 wars, Hamas, Fatah, Egypt relations, the "siege" and suffering of Gaza's population, the present but tentative ceasefire, and more - the first hour led by the Israeli guide, and the second hour led by an academic or activist Palestinian resident of Gaza, by video or phone call.
Then we'll have lunch, alternating each week between a local kibbutz, and Sderot, the growing Israeli border town. In Sderot we'll: climb to the rooftop of the 'hesder yeshiva' for a view of the city and region, meet the spokesman of the yeshiva, visit the police station with its display of exploded rockets, visit a playground built to withstand rocket blasts, and view up close an 'Iron Dome' rocket defense launcher.
Also included is a visit to the Palestinian village 'Al-Najd' destroyed in the 1948 war and whose former residents fled to Gaza, learning about the Palestinian narrative of the 'Nakba'. We'll visit the Erez border crossing, the one place where citizens of Gaza, usually for medical care, do enter Israel, and talk to their Bedouin or Israeli Jewish drivers. The day will wrap up with a visit to Nativ Ha'asara, the moshav on the northern Gaza border. There a local resident will show us the north Gaza border barrier and we'll join in placing ceramic tiles in a mosaic, part of the ongoing "Path to Peace" art project to transform this to a 'Peace Wall'. During the tour we'll hear from Israeli and/or Palestinian peace activists who seek to build a bridge of understanding between the 2 sides, and close with a prayer for peace (and justice) in the region.
To help me make this tour a reality I need help to cover these costs:
$500, for tuition for a 1 week course for tour guides on the subject of Israel's borders, including the Gaza border region, sponsored by the School of Tourism in conjunction with a security institute,
$700 for a new IPad on which to run the weekly Skype video chats/ and or calls, with Gaza,
$100 for speakers,
$200 for a microphone and megaphone,
$200 to print maps of reference of the Gaza-Israel border region
$300, income`that will free me up (from needing to take other work) to travel some final days in the field to finalize the tour outline, timing and route, and to coordinate with all relevant authorities to ensure safety of tours.
Thank you so much, your support would be appreciated. Help me to bring others from all over the world to join me in building bridges of understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, to take down the walls of fear and hate that lead to suffering of all peoples. We, the wounded family of Abraham, are destined to live in and share the Holy Land, including the Gaza-northern Negev region, together.