They shout, they holler, they wave their hands then it's all over. Shaloms are said and off they go on their way.
This is a land of passion and emotion, all worn on the outside, lived on the outside.
During our stay at the Eshel Ha'Shomron Hotel, in Ariel, Samaria, we had the opportunity to meet some of the writers and staff who run the Breaking Israel News website. They had many questions about what country/state we came from, how did we come to understand our Israelite heritage, how do our fellowships work, in essence, who we are and what we believe.
It was a sweet meeting of brothers and sisters, an inspiring visit. Though definitely not enough time to thoroughly explore each others hearts, I felt affirmed as their Ephraimite sister and gushed a bit, wanting to apologize,
"Please forgive our Ephraimite Crush. We are so glad to see you seeing us. Though we may still see each other through a glass darkly, we are so glad to be seen and to meet you and be in your midst."
Several days later, during the taxi ride from the Townhouse Tel Aviv Boutique Hotel in Tel Aviv, our driver, Daniel, was also interested in us Americans. We shared much conversation, including each of our opinions about our upcoming Presidential election. He was amazed at our love for and desire to support Israel and so eloquently expressed his heart stating that Israelis consider themselves as one of the stars in our flag. We didn't talk much about God or religion, but no matter, I was very touched and, again, felt affirmed by my Israeli brother.
In contrast, I sat next to a woman during our flight from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt. She slept almost the entire way, waking up in a very chatty mood just as we approached Frankfurt. She said she had been visiting in Israel for about a week and was so glad to be headed home to Chicago. Her opinion of Israel was that of a third-world country, very difficult living situations for the general public; strongly disliked the cats that are everywhere and disapproved of the governments decision to subsidize people in order to feed them. I hadn't heard of this, but apparently the government believes it is the humane thing to do.
I had to mostly agree with her on all but one point, the third-world view. And, I can mostly agree that it can be very difficult to live in Israel. But, with all of the security, military, technology and agricultural innovations, third world it is not.
Her opinions were her own, and I may even consider them to be a bad report, but my thoughts, which I kept to myself, were, "but if those (us Ephraimites), who love Israel were allowed in to live, we would bring good things to help improve conditions where necessary, and even fill the land pushing out those who hate Israel."
No, it is not America, with her spacious freedom. But, dare I say, we Americans could learn a lot from these strong, brave and tenacious people who are holding on to this incredible land in the face of unrestrained and unrepentant hatred directed toward them by most of the world. And, not least of all, they are building and improving, as they are able, in spite of it. And that needs an exclamation point after it!!
Photos: A diverse mosaic of paths walked by our ancestors, Ceasarea, Israel.