In the morning, after breakfast we drove to pickup our 8 Israeli friends who would join us on the trip. These Israeli’s are youth around the age of 18-21 who are currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
After meeting the Israeli’s we drove to Baha’i gardens. On our way to Baha’i, we passed a place called Beit Hagefen. Our tour guide, Itamar told us that Beit Hagefen is an Arab-Jewish Center with the purpose of bringing together Arabs and Jews and educating towards coexistence, neighborliness and tolerance by means of cultural and artistic activities, festivals, meetings and community activity.
We then arrived to Baha’i gardens and were able to see the beautiful views overlooking the City of Haifa and the Mediterranean Sea. Itamar told us that the gardens are a series of terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa. The Baha’I is a religion that believes in equality. The gardens rest in the neighborhoods of Wadi Nisnas and Hadar HaCarmel. There are 9 terraces below the shrine, 9 terraces above the shrine, and one terrace at the level of the shrine making a total of 19 terraces. This is a special number because in the Baha’i calendar there are 19 months, each containing 19 days.
We then split up into 8 smaller groups with one Israeli in each group in order to ask question to better get to know them. After around 10 minutes of getting to know them, each group presented to the group as a whole about the Israeli that they interviewed.
We then headed to Caesarea, an old roman city in Israel. The city was built in the time of King Herod as a port city and to show how great of a builder that Kind Herod was, as he build his palace right on the Mediterranean sea. There were numerous recreational facilities, bathhouses, and temples just to name a few roman structures build at the time.
After touring Caesarea, and enjoying the beautiful view of the sea, we headed south to the Negev desert, in which we would stay at a Bedouin community. Upon arrival to the Bedouin community, we had a short talk by one of the community leaders, in which he educated us about the culture and customs. During his talk, he even allowed us to enjoy some of the delicious Bedouin coffee and tea. After the talk, we had a traditional Bedouin meal, in which we ate on tabletops with nothing but our hands.
Later we had played another icebreaker game, to better get to know each other and the Israeli’s who joined us. The game was very simple, just each of us sharing one truth and one lie and the group would have to guess which is which. After the icebreaker game, we had a bonfire and many participants ended up going to bed, as we had a very early wake up call, as we would be hiking up Masada before sunrise the next morning.