Today was another great day in Israel/Palestine. We started the morning by visiting a classroom of 16 year olds at the MEEI. We interupted their chemistry class, so of course they were more than happy to welcome us into the room. We had a very intersting Q and A session with them about the conflict, their hopes for the future, and the daily struggles they face as Arabs in Israel. It was sad to hear how they are discriminated against on a daily basis whether it be going to the mall, applying for colleges, or trying to own a home someday. Unlike teenagers in the US who may dream of being an astronaut, these kids dreams are much simplier. One boy told us he dreams of having his own home when he is older and not having to live in an apartment. One of the girls expressed her dream for a career she will never be able to have, so instead she dreams of being a doctor even though that will be fraught with challenges. These kids can't go to Universities until they are 21 years old because Jewish men and women have to join the army until that age, and thus they claim they want to make it fair. It was very eye opening to hear their stories, hopes for a better future, and their views on America and our governments actions. Several of us discussed afterward that it was eye opening to be truly held accountable for our governments actions.
After a quick lunch we headed to Nazareth where we saw both a Catholic and Greek Orthodox church that claim to be the location of the annunciation, where Mary learned she was with child from an angel, and the location of Mary and Joseph's home. Although the actual location of these events is somewhat disputed, it is still amazing to be in the city where Jesus spent 30 years of his life.
Nazareth was followed by a trip to the Church of the Beatitudes which is supposedly the location where Jesus taught these teachings to his followers. It was a beautiful church and garden overlooking the Sea of Galilee. A short trip down the hill lead us to the sea itself where everyone seemed to enjoy putting their feet in the refreshing fresh water and reflecting. It was surreal but amazing to imagine Jesus on this very sea walking on water, fishing with the disciples, and multiplying the bread and fish. A few people were so enticed by the nice water that they couldn't resist going swimming with their clothes on. Needless to say I was very jealous since I couldn't go in with my heavy jeans dragging me down.
The day was finished off with a vicious game of spoons in which our bus driver beat me out in the last second to win it all and some hookah on the roof. Another great day in Israel/Palestine.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.