By Brian Freedman, ICCI intern
Alumni from ICCI’s three young adult programs met in Jaffa for a tour of the storied city as part of a new initiative to create and maintain a strong alumni community. A professional tour guide walked the more than 20 Palestinian and Israeli Jewish alumni through the streets of the historic city, while highlighting significant landmarks and discussing the roots of Palestinian nationalism.
During the tour, which started at the Ottoman Clock Tower, winded its way through the famous Jaffa Flea Market and ended at the Jaffa Book and Coffee Shop, the alumni were charged with interviewing passersby about their thoughts on the expected Palestinian declaration of a state in September. At the end of the tour, the participants relaxed in a room above the bookshop with coffee and sweets and shared the results of their interviews and their personal feelings on the discussion topic.
Hanni, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was the most ambitious participant, collecting six interviews during the tour, enough for the more reticent alumni who preferred to listen to the tour guide and not bother strangers. Hanni’s findings ranged from ignorance to optimism to aversion to politics in general. When the discussion moved to the alumni’s own opinions, Hanni stressed that the Palestinian government, which he distrusts, does not represent the Palestinian people. He added that he would be bothered that because his village will not be included in the new Palestinian State, he will never be a citizen there. His village, he added, is his home, and he will never leave it. An Israeli Jew expressed concern for the safety of her country, in light of the onset of rocket attacks when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Another Israeli Jew said he would attend a party in North Tel Aviv to celebrate Palestinian Independence.
The alumni gathering in Jaffa marked the third event of the newly formed Young Adult Alumni Community, which kicked off its inception in February with a retreat at Beit Oren, a kibbutz in the north of Israel.