Back From Israel

For those few who may have been following this blog of late, no, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth or already run out of things to write about. I’ve been in Israel the last few weeks. Now, I’m back.

And while I’m still adjusting to an 8-hour time difference and an adventure in travel just to get home through the snowstorms in Mississippi, I am slowly starting to process the trip. Really, right now the whole trip is mostly a blur. In a few short days, we went so many places and saw so many things. It’s hard to remember it all. I don’t have enough pegs to hang it on. (I did take more than enough pictures, though. Over 1,000. Thank you, digital camera.)

Two things stand out so far. First, how small the land of Israel really is. I mean, it’s tiny. The guides were comparing it to the size of Vermont. It’s only 200 miles from north to south, only 90 miles east to west. That’s miniscule in American terms.

The other thing that stands out, though, is the Wall. I’d read of it, heard about it, was aware of it. But, really seeing the wall dividing Israeli and Palestinian communities with the checkpoints in-between was truly striking. The only thing I know to compare it to is the wall that used to divide East and West Berlin. It’s that big, that intrusive, that intimidating.

It’s complicated, I know. There are no easy answers to a thing like that. Still, something in me doesn’t like a wall of that kind. Of course, neither do I like being interrogated by an 18 year-old with an automatic weapon. It suddenly makes me more sympathetic to the people in Iraq and Afghanistan who are standing at checkpoints answering questions from our 18 year-olds with automatic weapons. It’s an uncomfortable thought.

I’m going to have to give the whole thing a lot more thought. Seeing it, being there somehow demands that. Ill try to share more in coming days.

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