Gaza Border Families.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The weekend respite at Nes Harim for families living in communities near the Gaza border took place thanks to a contribution from friends of JNF KKL Scotland and was accompanied by staff from the KKL-JNF Youth & Education Division.
“We really enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, the scenic landscape, the pleasant outings and the opportunity to exchange the tense atmosphere of southern Israel for the tranquility of the forest,” said Edit Shunam-Halevy, who was on the trip with her whole family including her daughters and granddaughters. Since her evacuation from Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif, she has been residing in Nitzan. “An event like this,” she said, “gives us the feeling that people care about us and about what happens to us.”
Among the participants in the event were people from all walks of life -old and younger, religious and secular, rural and urban dwellers, native Israelis and immigrants. Everyone enjoyed the forest activities and excursions in the Nes Harim vicinity and Jerusalem, getting acquainted and making friends.
On the last day, all of the families went on a trip to the City of David, the archeological site where ancient Jerusalem was situated from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages. They were impressed by the antiquities and heard historical stories from the KKL-JNF guides. They then hiked to the Gihon spring and to the Siloah tunnel, also known as Hezekiah’s tunnel, which used to conduct water from the spring under the houses of the City of David, one of the most amazing ancient water facilities in Israel. Of course the children especially enjoyed the wet trek and wearing of headlamps to light the way.
Meir Yarimi recalled the evacuation of Gadid in Gush Katif and building their new home in Nitzan. “After the evacuation, it was very important for us to preserve the community,” he said. “Last summer I was serving in the reserves all during the war, and my family lived with shelling and sirens. Today, too, when the situation is supposedly more peaceful, there is still a lot of stress, so it is very important for us to go on a little vacation for some rest and relaxation.” For the friends of JNF KKL Scotland, he had this message to convey: “The fact that people who live so far away stand by us warms the heart and gives us strength. They are true Zionists, and it’s too bad they aren’t with us here so we could hug them.”
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