From the Kineret in the north yesterday to an army base in the south today– we’ve driven across almost the whole length of Israel in 24 hours. What a beautiful country!
Today’s adventure took us to our friend Noy’s army base near Eilat. We had planned to visit an army base last week but last minute scheduling changes at the base delayed our visit. We’re so thankful to Dafna, the Youth Coordinator for Ashkelon who was so helpful and arranged today’s visit!
Getting to the base took a 3.5 hour drive through windy roads in Israel’s Negev desert. When we arrived, we learned some army trivia and had a lesson in army exercises by climbing ropes. One of the base’s exercise instructors taught us a trick and some of us were soon scaling the ropes like monkeys! After we had a real army experience–lunch in the cafeteria. Oy. After lunch we learned about the base’s tanks (this base specializes in tanks). We talked to a tank instructor and a tank operator and they showed us the field of tanks. Many of us had never seen them in person but these tanks were massive! We got to climb on them and look around at the different parts. Being at the base (and around the tanks) was a very humbling experience– all of our Ashkelon friends are serving in the army and assuming a major responsibility for their country. It’s a job we couldn’t even imagine and we’re so awed by their service. Seeing the base was a glimpse into some aspects of their life, even just for an afternoon.
We returned to Ashkelon and volunteered with Wings of Crembo, an after-school center for children with special needs. Today was their Sport Day, so we helped out with different “stations”: throwing balls into hoops, making soccer goals, carrying water between two buckets, and jump roping. The kids were so energetic and fun and it was nice to meet another group of Ashkelon’s youth. I think some of our best memories of the trip have definitely been volunteering with children– we really love Ashkelon’s youngest citizens!
Tomorrow’s adventure will take us to the Dead Sea (some of us have never been!), Ein Gedi, and dinner with the Ashkelon Youth Council. We can’t wait!
Diller Alum, ’07-08