Before I talk about my week in the West Bank, I have a disclaimer: I don’t really partake in the West Bank settlements conflict. Not because I don’t have feelings about my country, rather, because I love Israel so much, and the number of problems it has makes me too emotional and upset. Between outside threats like Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, and problems within the country between religious sects, or between us and the Palestinians, it’s just a lot to handle. Since I’m not here to solve these problems, I’m just trying to enjoy my semester abroad throughout the entire country, including the West Bank.
Anyway, some of our best family friends have a house in this settlement called Har Gilo, a beautiful place in the mountains about twenty minutes outside of Jerusalem. The husband, Amir, was the guide on one of the trips to Israel that my dad led about eleven years ago. We became very close with him and his wife that summer, and always see them when we come to Israel. Amir amazingly offered to drive me to school in Tel Aviv and help me move in, so I went to stay with them last week before school.
Say what you will about settlements, Palestinians, Jews, land rights, whatever, the West Bank, or Yehudah and Shomron, is beautiful. The drive from Jerusalem to Har Gilo is on long winding mountain roads, with views of Jerusalem and the Judean hills. At night, it is completely dark, save for the stars and lights in the towns. In the morning and evening, the sun touches the mountains in the most beautiful way. I spent my week there sitting on Amir’s roof deck in a lounge chair, sipping lattes and looking at the beautiful view. To me, that is time well spent, and conflict-free…
Check out more of my photos on Instagram: @starrynight64