Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gavin Hart

Greetings loved ones,

We’re halfway through our time here in Israel; it’s been a blast so far. Today started by driving south on the Israel/Jordan border and learned about the conflict between Jordan and Israel over the area known as the West Bank of the Jordan River. Today the West Bank is a disputed Israeli/Palestinian territory and not a Jordanian territory after King Hussein gave up the West Bank and decided Jordan no longer had a claim to the land. The next stop took us to the Tel of Bet She’an an archeological site which features a Roman era settlement, we explored the remains of what once was a center for trade and travel including an ancient Roman bathhouse and a Theatre (those Romans lived such luxurious lives).
After crossing the border between Israel proper and the Palestinian territory of the West Bank we stopped at the memorial monument for fallen soldiers who died on the Jordan River Valley. After spending some time at the memorial we stopped for lunch in Qumran. Qumran is the place where the Dead Sea scrolls were first discovered. Here at Qumran we learned about the Essenes and explored the ruins of their old settlement. Some speculate that the Essenes wrote the Sea Scrolls, however there’s an ongoing debate on the accuracy of this belief. We then drove further south to the hostel in which we were going to spend the night. Good News? The scenery was beautiful, right in front of the Dead Sea and overlooking the mountains of Jordan; bad news? 100+ junior high school students were also going to spend the night at the same hostel. We ended the night with a bon fire with the whole class and three young Israelis also joined us. It was really interesting to talk to them about the conflict and learn about their perspectives of Israeli foreign affairs and internal politics, after all they are the future of Israel. So far this trip has been the trip of a lifetime, we’re already half way through but there are still many more memories to be made.

Much Love,


PS: Dear mom and dad, miss and love you!

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