Episode 6: Touring the Western Galilee
After leaving Yad Vashem, Cathy and I made our way north to Nahariya, the final leg of our journey. In Nahariya, we met up with 40 other professionals and volunteers to kick off the Partnership2Gether Steering Committee meeting with a fabulous family-style meal at Rothschield.
It is really difficult to describe the amount of delicious food there was—platter after platter of salads (3 kinds), sesame noodles, cheeses, potato dishes and even pizza made the rounds at the table. The food is so amazing and fresh and one can’t help but try every dish—and go back for seconds. And let’s not forget dessert—ice cream!
The next morning we boarded a bus to visit three very different sites in Galilee.
The first stop was a tour of the Lebanon border with security officer, Arie Zali. We first went up the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to a large border that separates Lebanon from Israel. We could see Israeli ships out in the sea making their rounds to ensure that no one crossed into Israeli waters. We then boarded the bus and traveled up through the Hanikra forest so we could see the fence border divide. Close to the border is a brand new housing development with approximately 20 homes, playground etc. It was so hard to believe we were standing in an area so close to where bombs had fallen many years before. Our guide explained that Israel has a high tech detection system. While there were no patrols, any disturbance along the fence line would trigger an immediate military presence. At no time did I or anyone else in the group feel unsafe.
Our next stop was the Galilee Medical Center located just six miles from the Lebanon border. The Galilee Medical Center provides critical care for northern Israel and is the first hospital to build part of its facility underground to protect against missiles/bombs. The medical center serves a demographically diverse population of over 600,000 made up of Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze.
We met with Dr. Arie Eisenman, head of internal medicine in the emergency department, where he gave a presentation regarding the new medical exchange program called Med Prep (Medical Professional Exchange Program). Med Prep is a medical task force expansion to Budapest where Israeli physicians share their knowledge as well as learn from their colleagues. These exchanges connect professionals and make a difference in the community. Dayton will be hosting Dr. Eisenman in our community on June 27-28 -- watch for programming updates so you can come meet and listen to Dr. Eisenman, and learn about his work and how he is making a difference.
Next we toured the medical center’s underground bomb safe facility that can be completely contained against known and unknown contaminates. Ten years ago, during the second Lebanon war, the medical staff was able to evacuate patients to the underground facility in less than four hours and was able to maintain full hospital functionality throughout the conflict. Our tour ended in the lobby where we were shown a dedication plaque acknowledging the generous support from the Partnership Consortium that includes Dayton. Our dollars have made a significant, long-lasting impact at the facility.
Finally, our tour ended at the Ghetto Fighters’ House – a Holocaust Museum that was founded by Holocaust survivors. The Ghetto Fighters’ House gives evidence to the founder’s vision channeling their grief in order to build a flourishing kibbutz and museum located in the middle of the community. Their guiding motto: We came to build homes filled with life.
In one area of the museum is a large square reading area that holds massive bound books that tell the detailed stories of each survivor’s life. The whole visit was fascinating and I was blown away by this well curated museum.
What a full and interesting day! Tune in for my next episode where I spotlight the steering committee meeting.
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After 13 years with the Jewish Federation, the unflappable Jodi Phares is embarking on her FIRST trip to Israel! Join in on the experience as she details her visit to our Western Galilee Partnership2Gether region and brings our overseas connections a little closer to home.