Day 1 by Josh Golt

By May 6, 2014Birthright

Standing on top of the Golan heights-on top of a volcano- in the same spot our brave soldiers once stood on Yom Kippur of 1973. Hearing Gary speak of the soldiers who were standing in the same place we are right now looking out onto Syria with hundreds of soldiers and tanks coming toward Israel puts things in perspective. We are all standing here solely because those soldiers (who were the same age we are now) gave their lives for this country. The reason why we get to call the beautiful land of Israel, our home. The soldiers of 1973 were raised saying “never again” and they meant it.

I’ve learned a very important part of Israeli culture, the difference between “grill” and “BBQ” flavored chips. Thanks to David, Gary’s (our tour guide) son, I now know that there is a distinct difference. BBQ is what we think of in the states, BBQ sauce flavored. Grill is more like a restaurant style grill in Israel where many different meats are made on one large grill and cooked with charcoal and wood. So, whatever it’s worth, that’s the difference in Israeli chip flavor. Also, on a more serious note, today we traveled to Golan Heights, an old Israeli bunker that lies on the border with Syria. While there, we could hear, and even see, bombs going off in Syria. While it was not an immediate danger to us or Israel, it made the idea and reality of conflict much more real, for lack of a better word. To actually experience the conflict (from a distance) evokes feelings and realizations that we can’t often come to in the states just because we are so far and typically so uninvolved. But nonetheless, Israel is an incredible and beautiful country and can’t be happier to explore and experience every bit of it.

Author Dan Leshem

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