Everyone at the Arava Institute is praying that the current round of violence ends quickly. The Institute itself is out of range of rocket attacks from Gaza; however, friends and family in Gaza, the Gaza envelope and the center of the country are exposed to danger. The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, faculty, alumni, colleagues, friends and family continues to be our primary concern.
Over the past week, tensions on the Arava Institute campus have been high. This past week, a group of students organized a protest on the road opposite the kibbutz against the Sheik Jarrah evictions. The staff has been in ongoing contact with the students, providing sympathy, support and space to discuss how they are feeling. There is a general sense of despair, frustration and exhaustion with the reality of the situation, but a comfort in being together and supporting one another.
The Arava Institute remains committed to helping to find another path through a common concern for our land, our environment, and our planet. Once this cycle of violence has subsided, together with our Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian colleagues, we will pick up the pieces and start again to rebuild trust. At times like this, it is easy to feel powerless but our power comes from our dedication to peace, the courage of our faculty, staff, alumni and students, and the resilience of the relationships we have built with our Palestinian and Jordanian partners across borders. Together, despite the ongoing political conflict, we continue to seek a path towards peace, reconciliation, security, sustainability, and self-determination for all.
David Lehrer, Executive Director