Israel is my home country even though it is not my home country. But…it is my home country – in terms of family and culture that is. Israelis are a bold people, and very firm in their grip of reality. Because of the circumstances of their creation and ongoing conflict, they have had to make themselves hard. They’ve realized that the best tool to achieving this , is with their minds – cloaking themselves in the laws of nature.
Although Israelis are extremely committed to their friendships, many know that there are more important things than the social components of life. They know about the work needing to be done in order to save the world, and that’s why they’re keen to travel it when they finish the army. I have great hope for the positive changes that will continue to come from Israel.
My six months there were more than enough time to reward me with plentiful amounts of ‘fundom’ to make up for any isolation or hardship experienced in Taiwan. I was with a group of about forty other soon to be interns around the same age as me. We spent the first month moving around and living in different unique places in the country. We studied the language and did a lot of hanging out. It’s always kind of obvious what the true goal of many of these programs is to pair up good jewish boys and girls. It’s comical, but the method is quite successful.
The last five months were spent living in Tel Aviv about a ten minute walk from the beach. I taught English at a public school a few days a week I rode a bike there and listened to a lot of reggae during my morning trips. The school was interesting. There was not much for organization to be had there. The Israeli education system seems to be in as much of a state of disaster as any other one I’ve seen. A common trend was that everything was about force and power and control. Teachers are unhappy because they aren’t valued enough to be given the freedom they deserve – the freedom to use their own judgement in deciding what’s important enough to teach. Sadly to say, in the current climate of education throughout the world, few are actually worthy of being given that freedom.
Much of what I saw that year was kids in the hallways for disobedience, teachers and students getting into disruptive power struggles during the middle of class, and not a whole lot of learning happening aside from maybe that in regard to the struggles of human interaction.
During that adventure I also visited Jordan and Turkey. Petra was an amazing wonder of the world, and really so was the city of Istanbul (where east meets west). Everywhere I saw evidence of different cultures getting along rather than fighting. It was almost as if people had to simply interact with each other in order to see that mutual respect and cooperation existed on the level of person to person in abundance. What I discovered, was that overcoming the habit of constructing inaccurate generalizations is a battle that must be won on the individual level.