Yesterday we went to Ben Gurion’s grave. We rode camels–surprisingly friendly animals. We enjoyed Bedouin hospitality, which included sleeping in tents and eating good chicken, meatballs, pita, hummus, vegetables, rice, and of course, bug juice.
Last night we were treated as new recruits in the IDF by our Israeli soldiers. They made us run, stand at attention, do push-ups, etc., which was not fun, but perhaps an enlightening experience for some of the North Shore Jews among us.
Then the soldiers performed a dramatization of situations that occur at Israeli border checkpoints, illustrating the gravity of the situations in which these young soldiers are expected to work.
Today we stopped at a memorial park, and discussed the difficult decisions made by some young Israeli orthodox girls to join the IDF. The girls were not unlike many young Americans at heart–humble but strong, rational but inexperienced, and rebellious though indoctrinated. Here is Israel’s hope–these young women have already defied their rabbis, and may find the wisdom, compassion, and courage to foster real peace for the region.
We went to Paz’s military base, where he maintains hummers. The soldiers took us to the firing range, showed us some medical techniques on–forgive the pun–an advanced dummy, and told us all the Israeli government’s secrets (kidding).
Then we went to Mount Herzl, the military cemetery. I was saddened by the stories of war and deaths–senseless creations of a false authority. It is a strange sort of idolatry, to allow fear and superstition to control public policy, and it can only affect itself in a society that believes that man created God in man’s imagination, when the truth is quite clearly the other way around. When a young face becomes a lifeless body, there is no avoiding an emotional reaction, but rather than putting out small fires, Israelis should focus on slaying the dragon that breathes them.