This morning we woke up at a horrendous hour of 6:15 in order to pack the bus and move out of our hotel. From there, we went to Jilaboun for our 3-4 hour hike through the Golan. One might describe the amount of sweat that escaped our bodies as enough to solve California’s water shortage; nevertheless, the waterfall that we went swimming in towards the end was quite refreshing and beyond beautiful, making it well worth the wait. After the hike, we went to a small outdoor mall in Katzrin to use the restrooms to rid ourselves of our collective 90+ liters of water (at least), and have a long and relaxing lunch of Israeli pizza. Then we hopped back on the bus, and after hearing about life in the Golan Heights from a local resident, we went to Ben-Tal to check out a historical bunker located at an awesome view point. From the lookout, one could see the northernmost part of Israel, as well as the ceasefire line and the beginning territories of Syria. However, even more powerful than the view was the sound of bombs and artillery coming from Syria. This was by far the most impactful part of the day. When one hears the horrifying and despicable stories of the civil war and of ISIS at home, the issues seem undeniably sad and scary, yet distant nonetheless. There is nothing more jarring, nothing that enforces the harsh reality of what it means to live in a war zone surrounded by enemies more than standing in what you know is your homeland, but having some of the most terrifying things in the world occurring less than a mile away. It was undoubtedly a revolutionary and eye-opening experience, and therefore my favorite or most memorable part of the day. We are crazy, crazy is ice. GO ICE ISRAEL!!!
– Zoe Levin