Wetskills Israel 2017 – Free time
“Shabbat is the best ‘day’ of the week”
Our Jewish group members left at Friday noon to prepare a traditional dinner with the whole family. We therefore also left th water institute early, to celebrate a day of freedom and peace. Although the different ethnic and religious groups in Haifa interpret the Shabbat somewhat differently, the common denominator is family and friendship, good food, nice conversations, and reflection on the things Above. We headed for a 6 km walk towards the city centre. First, we passed by an orthodox Jewish neighbourhood, where the ceremony in the Synagogue had just ended. For 1 km, we saw young boys in nice suits, wise elderly man with huge hats, woman in their best dresses and children happy in the playgrounds. We then passed by the world-famous Bahai Gardens, which is high on the list of UNESCO world heritage. This brought us at our destination: the Arab neighbourhood, located close to the pretty Mediterranean shores. We had a nice dinner at this place, enjoying dishes from all over the Arab world.
On Saturday, we visited Akko: a small, heavy fortified port located on a peninsula some 20 km from Haifa. Akko has a fascinating history, dating back to 4000 years ago. We learned that it is by no means self-evident that the different ethnic groups and religious live peacefully together, as they do today. We learned about water conflicts over a millennium ago, and saw how relevant and ageless the art of water resource management is. The rest of our day also circled around the theme of water. We had a nice boat tour over the Mediterranean Sea and ended our journey at its sandy shores. We were amazed by a wonderful sunset and saw the three stars that heralded the start of the new workweek. Refreshed by the rest we took, we will dive into the water-cases again. We hope that secure water supply for all people will contribute to a peaceful world. Shabbat shalom.
By Kees van Ginkel