Monday, July 16, 2012

We are now in Nazareth-in the old city.  It has a distinctive Mediterranean feel.  The streets are very narrow and older building.  We are staying in the Fauzi Azar Inn.  It is more like a hostel and we are all sleeping in the same room which is o.k. but very warm, (there is no A.C.).  We have visited the Arbel cliffs which overlook the sea of Galilee and Zippori -named after the supposed burial site of Moses's wife. It is an excavated site and has a Roman road and floor mosaic's in houses and in the synagogue. Below is a floor mural picture.
Last weekend we stayed in the Jewish settlement Nokdim and observed Shabbot with our host family
 (Eiyal and Nina Shamir).  He is a scribe and we have a picture of him copying Tefilin (the frontlets between the eyes and carried on the arms, as well as scroll work.   There is a pic of him at work, copying a tefelin, (it contains two chapters in Exodus (God delivering them) and two in Deuteronomy (Hear O Israel).  We also had shabbot dinner with a another young couple (Hanani and Daniella). We had very good conversations with them.  They were polite and respectful and were interested in our lives. Our only tense conversation occurred when I asked about registering land and how it was done.
Their settlement is close to ancient Tekoa and there are Palestinians who live close by.  The land issue is central to the trouble between Jews and Arabs (a non jew whether Muslim or Christian).  Hanani said that we have right to the land since it was given to us by God.
In other meetings with various folks and the gentleman who set up our stay, incidents were recounted of murders that have happened over the last 30 years in the area (15).  They were determined to state that Jews treat the non jews fairly and that 99 plus percent of the non jewish population wants to coexist.  This differs from the story we heard when visiting the Nasser farm at Tent Of Nations- (name).  There story was the struggle to remain on the land even though they have land records that go back to the Ottoman rule.  The property is on a high hill, surrounded by other settlements on hills and Israel's settlement strategy is to build on hills for security reasons.  Hanani admitted that as one of the reasons land will be taken, (for security reasons).  The negative effect on the Palestinian villages is that it cuts them off and makes travel to other places very difficult because they need to by-pass where Israel controls entry.   The tension between Israel's right to the land and the injustice that has been imposed on non Jews is very real and difficult to sort out.  Many that we talked too support a one state solution, (particularly the Palestinians), although some progressive thinking Jews did as well.  Another aspect of our stay in the settlements was the sense of a deep and rich tradition, both religiously and culture wise that continues to shape their identity.  It is much deeper than many that we encounter in the states.  Probably most like the Old Order communities in the tradition sense.
Along with that is the story of Jewish migration back from all parts of the world and in the dozen plus persons that we had an audience with, that was their story of return from South America, the States,
South Africa, Europe, Ethiopia, and North Africa.  It is a phenomenon that can only be explained as having biblical, and providential origins.

Above is a picture of a Zipporri floor mural,  Eiyal, the scribe at work, and a picture of the Judean Desert near Nokdim.

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