Caritas shows young Palestinians life beyond the wall

Twenty-seven young Palestinians visited Israel recently in a 'Know Your Country' trip organised by the Caritas Jerusalem volunteers program. For many it was the first time they had left the Occupied Territories. Palestinians are usually not permitted to visit Israel except during religious holidays.

The objective of the trip was to visit towns and cities where their families originally come from before 1948 when they were driven from their homes by the formation of the new Israeli state.

Rami Kort, Caritas Jerusalem youth department officer said: “This experience is special because in these short and few moments as the youth tour these areas it will challenge them to think and learn about their past history and challenge them to think of their future.”

The first stop was a visit to the Latin Church- Ramla where the parish priest Fr Faheem welcomed our youth and spoke about the Church’s history and the people of Ramla. The youth attended mass with the local Catholic community where they were introduced to the local Catholic community. After mass they had coffee with the members of the community and were able to be introduced to the youth. Our youth were very happy to meet these people and hoped to develop bridges between the two groups.

Later, the youth toured the city of Ramla and visited the historic monuments and the Arab and Israeli neighborhoods in the area. While strolling through the town, they visited the Tower of Ramla, also known as the “White Tower”. It is six stories high with a spiral staircase which was built in the 13th century. The youth asked questions concerning the monuments and their history.

The trip then continued to the next town originally Palestinian Lydda, the legendary birthplace of St George, a patron saint for a number of countries. The participants visited the church of St George and the next door mosque. There was much to see in this short day and for 21 year-old Mansour Awad, this was an exciting moment: “I did not know that we had such important monuments in the 1948
area. I was introduced to many new historical places and churches which I never knew about. I felt very happy to be part of this trip and to share it with such dear friends.”

The last stop was the city of Jaffa, an ancient port village believed to be one of the oldest in the world. A boat took the participants for a tour in the Jaffa Sea and the guide explained the history of the city.
Our volunteers enjoyed lunch with the special fish of the area and returned home safely in the evening.

Source: Caritas

Share this story