Photo above is artwork done by a kibbutz member.
We had an extra trip this week, along the border which is very close to Netanya (about 10 miles). We stopped first at a memorial to those killed at a bus stop in 1995 by two suicide bombers. First one blew himself up, then the second waited for the first responders who came to help. When they got there the second one blew himself up. They killed 21 soldiers and 1 civilian who were waiting at the bus stop and injured many others. Very sad.
We had a wonderful tour of Kibbutz Eyal which is along the border. It is both an agricultural kibbutz and they also have a factory that is involved with lens crafting and semiconductors. We learned about the kibbutz movement and the way the Israeli government works with them. If they decide to change a crop, they have to get permission from the government (so there is not too much duplication from others). If they do not farm the land, it gets returned to the government.
While we were walking around, we came to the large open-air sheds for the cows. One cow was in the process of giving birth. We could see the feet of the calf already sticking out. We waited around and I sympathized with her cries, knowing she was probably in distress and pain. We did get to see the full birth and I took a movie. The calf born was female and we named her “Hadassah”. Quite a miracle to watch. We also viewed the milking stations. The teenagers start working (part time) at 13. They wash the stations, the cows and milk the cows. They work two days a week, but the milking is done three times a day by other kibbutz members.
Along the way we saw both Israeli Arab villages and across the way Palestinian Arab villages. We stopped at a border crossing to watch the Palestinians who work in Israel head back to their homes.
We continued along the border to the home of one of our leaders at Kfar Yair and had a wonderful lunch and home hospitality. I agree with Joe who feels that this trip has shown us not only the tourist sites, but the land and its wonderful people. It has been a pleasure getting to know them.