Project of the Month

These programs allow talented underprivileged teenagers to fulfill their potential by providing them with a challenging program of enrichment and leadership training at the Ruppin Institute of Marine Science. Talented 7th graders from all backgrounds of Israeli society in the lower socio-economic levels are chosen - programs run for 2 years.

The Bedouin - a people ‘born from the wind’ - Our visit to Khawaled

News Date: 
30. January 2017 - 8:00
According to legend, a people ‘born from the wind’ (shepherds) are the Bedouin … not to be confused with their Arab brethren who are ‘born from the land’ (landowners).

It was to the small Bedouin village of Khawaled, in the western Galil, about 20km east of Haifa, that a group from ESRA journeyed in mid-January. Ishmael Khaldi had invited us to experience Bedouin hospitality so ably demonstrated by his parents, Fatma and Mhimad. He played his part too as we strolled through the village with him while he explained their traditions and fielded our questions.
Ismael is the third of 11 children in the family. He’s given up his childhood passion for wandering over the hills with his family’s sheep and goats. Now, this Bedouin Muslim has two degrees under his belt and has served his country as a diplomat in the US Pacific Northwest and in Britain. These days his wanderings take him to other faraway countries too, but in between assignments, it’s the lure of his village that calls him.

It’s his mission as a loyal Bedouin to help his community work together with their Jewish neighbours to make Israel, the country he loves, a better place for all. He is bothered by the country’s lack of unity and believes that we all need to work together as brothers.

There are about 50,000 Bedouin in the Galil sharing values such as having the wisdom to settle differences while respecting the other; sharing resources and understanding the goodness of one’s fellow man.
Bridge-building has brought innovation, economic development and western-style democracy to the region. Although Israel tries to ensure that all races are treated equally, Ismael believes that Jewish citizens still receive better schools, roads, infrastructure and employment opportunities than does his community.

One of his major challenges is to persuade the local Zvulun Council to improve the currently abysmal vehicle access linking Khawaled to the nearby towns with medical and commercial facilities.

Defending Israel is his mission and pleasure. Ishmael believes that we shouldn’t blame the government for all problems - people have a responsibilty to fix things themselves.

Our most enjoyable and educational day continued as we wound our way southwards, stopping at the charming moshava of Giv’at Ada, named after Baron de Rothschild’s wife, Adelaide, and founded in 1903 when eight families took residence.

This farming community is famous for its 3 types of pomegranates (the best anti-oxidants) as well other crops. We enjoyed the sampling table at their delightful ‘farm’ shop sellling products from olive oil to wine to jams to pesto in attractive bottles … delicious.

Sadly, the younger generation doesn’t find farming challenging enough when there’s hi-tech to attract them in big cities, so Thai and Arab workers mostly tend the crops.

Thanks to our guide, Ariel, in Giv’at Ada, to the Khaldi family for their hospitality and guidance and to Cecily Hanson for her excellent organisational skills.

Submitted by Linda Glazer