Today was very leisurely compared to the packed schedule we’ve had for the past few days. We began our day with a lecture from Dr. Elan Ezrachi on the demography of Israel. That afternoon, I went to an adorable café called Fernando and Bella with Anna, Maggie, Francisca, Stephanie, and Carlos. We got lunch and then returned to the apartment to work on our journals for a while.
For dinner, I ventured to an Israeli-Yemeni restaurant called Jachnun Bar with Anna, Joy, Maggie, and Francisca. We really couldn’t resist going inside after seeing the sign outside the restaurant reading, “When in Rome, do as the Romans. Come try traditional Israeli-Yemeni food.” The food was delicious, and we walked around in downtown Jerusalem after we finished, ultimately ending up in a beautiful park.
Since today was rather uneventful, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on last night. Several Israeli students from Hadassah College and Hebrew University came over to our apartment to meet with us and give us their perspective on the current state of affairs in the country. It was really interesting to hear things from their point of view, since we’ve only been hearing about the conflict from an academic perspective for the past week.
Something I found interesting was how the students reacted to the map of Israel that we had hanging on the wall. They commented that it was an extremely leftist map that favored an Arab perspective. Pointing to specific borders, two students showed Anna and I how how they would redraw them to reflect their perspective. The students also were outraged to see East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem split into two distinct areas. Where I come from in New Jersey, a map is a map, with no room for debate about the borders. It seems like in Israel’s case, there really is nothing that remains unaffected by the conflict.
When the Israeli students were done denouncing Elan’s map, we went out and continued our night with them. We went downtown and were sitting outside when we saw a fight break out at a bar. Since Israel is swarming with police, two officers ran over to the scene and broke up the fight within a matter of seconds. An Israeli student we were with, Tal, approached one of the officers and asked what had happened. He returned to our table and explained the situation, then went on to comment that police officers in Israel are much more open to interacting with civilians than in the United States.
Meeting with the Israeli students was probably one of the most educational experiences of this trip for me so far. I’m really glad that Professor Lefkovitz and Elan set this up for us, and I hope that we get another opportunity to interact with more locals. Northeastern is all about experiential education, and this is the kind of experience that is truly invaluable.
– Jaclyn Roache