Biking for peace. Last year's participants of the Israel Ride. .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some 200 cyclists from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Israel will hop onto their bikes next Tuesday for a weeklong ride dedicated to facilitating a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel Ride 2017-Ride As One, an initiative of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, will kick off in Jerusalem and conclude in Eilat. Along the way, bicyclers will make pit stops in stations that are significant to the Israeli culture such as Kibbutz Urim in the Negev (which boasts of a Beduin- majority population); Netiv Halamed-Heh (a kibbutz near Beit Shemesh where the battle between David and Goliath took place, according to the biblical tale); Sde Boker (a kibbutz known as the retirement home of David Ben-Gurion); and a vantage point overlooking the border with the Gaza Strip.
Organizers plan to send bicyclers off each morning by blowing a shofar and reading aloud a prayer for safe travels in Arabic, Hebrew and English.
The ride also aims to raise donations for two organizations that deal in crafting global solutions to environmental issues. In turn, they will support some 800 Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli students at the Arava Institute who are designing innovative ideas to solve problems and work around the lack of resources in weaker sectors of Israeli society.
Now an ambitious enterprise seeking to bring together people who would like to overcome differences in order to see an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, project has evolved from 2003 when it launched with 50 bicyclers to raise donations for students at Arava.
In addition to the Arava Institute, ride is produced by the Hazon Organization, the JNF and Friends of the Arava Institute.