On the ground in Tel Aviv

Posted by Dominic on Friday, March 3rd, 2006

We’ve been on the ground for a few days now and it’s taken some time to get up to speed. We were all so grateful to have some down time in Minneapolis recently but things are now in full swing here in Tel Aviv. Han Shan joined us in the airport in Newark on Monday for our nonstop to Israel and has taken to his role on camera very well. I always felt it was an asset to bring him to this very tumultuous region. His knowledge of regional issues is vast which has helped us navigate some of the very challenging and emotionally charged politics of the area.

For anyone who reads even a bit of news, the Israel/Palestine conflict is referenced often, especially in the years after 9/11. It’s very clear that the US wields tremendous influence here which creates lots and lots of feelings, ideas and often anger around our role in the Middle East. So many things are at their boiling point, even Iraq is only hours east of here. At the moment I have a hard time saying anything more than this because it’s gonna take awhile for this to settle out in my stomach. This is an land where I find myself doing a gut check many times a day.

This week has been spent mostly in the Tel Aviv and Ra’anana areas of Israel. We have had the good fortune of spending time with some young people who are mandatorily entering the Israeli army this summer. These are some very kind, intelligent and decent kids who are going to have a gun (American made most likely) in their hands in few months. What struck us is that none of them had ever been to Palestine nor met any folks from an area only 20 minutes away. On Sunday, a young Israeli woman named Maya is coming with us to visit Palestinian territory for the first time in her life. Should be interesting.

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