It should be an easy question for me because I just came back from there and the only thing that I have on my mind is to bring awareness about the reality that I saw there.
Why Israel and Palestine? At the beginning I was intrigued by the image of war and conflict presented by European media, sadly we pay more attention to tragic events, sometimes without questioning the interests behind the news. I’ve been traveling there with another two open-minded, kind, and really supportive teammates for two weeks and our goal was to understand the situation between Israel and Palestine, trying not to take sides, by observing, talking with people, volunteering, and doing couch-surfing in both parts. My individual goal was to find out more about the educational system there and how History is taught in schools. Being there I discovered that I was interested in finding examples of humanity that could inspire other people to travel there because humanity doesn’t have borders and it’s not ruled by governments.
In one travel to Israel and Palestine, you could discover two different worlds, with different religions, traditions, and ways to live. You’ll have the possibility to see how occupation looks like, feel the military presence quite intense, it was a shock for me to see at check-points or in the old city in Jerusalem so many young men and women soldiers. After this experience, you’ll learn to appreciate more your freedom and your rights even though we have a lot of political issues in our countries too.
But traveling is about enjoying too and this beautiful place you’ll welcome you with good food, sweets, and tasty fruits. You’ll be witness to their traditions, we have seen from distance a Palestinian wedging or enjoyed the street parties on Thursday evening in Jerusalem. By the way, I felt amazed by Jerusalem, such a diverse city with so many communities, religions, and spiritual places.
You’ll meet there many tourists or travelers with different purposes, you’ll have conversations with random people having so different opinions about this city and who supposed to belong to. It was such a big contradiction inside me because I was feeling that it’s a peaceful place there, but the reality is that Jerusalem is the core of this conflict. There is such a big diversity of religions and cultures, each of them trying to put History on their side to justify why Jerusalem is a holy place for them. You’ll be totally lost in this mosaic of Religions, History, Tourism, Politics, perceptions, and feelings but for me, it totally worthed to be there.
Sometimes during my travel, I felt safe for being taken as a European tourist, in some situations I felt uncomfortable when I was taken as a white tourist that has money to spend because I traveled on a really low budget. But the best experience from this travel came when I wasn’t taken as anything than a lost traveler that needed help and I received it quite often.