First Stop

Trip Start Jun 11, 2013
Trip End Jun 21, 2013

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What I did
Bialik Rogozin School

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shalom! Marhaba!

Hello USA!

We have arrived in Tel Aviv. It is a bustling and cosmopolitan city. For some reason, many people were getting married today!

We arrived late last night just in time for dinner at our hotel. We are right on the Mediterranean Sea which I got a chance to swim and play in the waves this afternoon!

Our first stop this morning after breakfast was the Biayalik School. You can see below for a link for more information. Basically, this school serves the needs of 900 immigrant/refugee children from all over the world. The challenge is how to communicate. The students learn Hebrew and English and continue to be educated in their mother tongue. The boy in the picture was from Ghana. The headmaster of the school spoke with us about the challenges they face with the students gaining Israeli citizenship. As you may remember, all Israelis serve in the military, male or female. So there are benefits to gaining citizenship, but there are also duties that must be fulfilled as well. Last year, the immigration police deported 20 student refugees from South Sudan back to their country. One of the teachers on my trip (Actually she is a principal) has a very similar school for refugees in Houston ISD

Academy Award Winning Documentary about the Bialik Rogozin School (our first stop): (Raven, sorry we never got a chance to watch it in class).

We had lunch in Yafo- supposedly the place where Jonah set sail before he was swallowed by a whale in the Biblical story. It was old. See pics.

Then we met with Gisha, an organization that works to empower movement for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. So, I didn't realize this but Israel has been tightening up their noose around Gaza since they withdrew their settlements in 2005. Along with economic sanctions (limiting import and exports), they have also created what is called the permit regime. Israel will not let anyone out of Gaza. Not even to visit their friends in the other Palestinian territory (West Bank). They limit their movement with checkpoints. There is one for people on the border and one for goods. There is also one checkpoint on the Egypt border that Palestinians use. Remember the tunnels? I think I posted a video of that way back on the Middle East unit. The Israelis blocked goods to be imported, so the tunnels which have been used to transport weapons were then also used to transport things like chocolate and kid toys (nonessentials).

I have posters of Gaza Strip for you. You can look at the checkpoints in Google Earth.

On our way back to the hotel, we saw the "White City". It is a type of architecture (Bauhaus) that has been named a UN world heritage site.

You can see it below on Google.
Tel Aviv via Google Wonders:
aviv/#ql=3 (See Nova, it looks like Europe!).

First question for some Israel Geo Swag:
What is the currency here and what is the US dollar exchange rate?
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Dale Bulla on

I read that there has been an exemption for orthodox Jew that allowed them to avoid military service. I had also read that this exemption was controversial. Can you confirm that?

Dana on

Dale, so sorry! I just saw that I had comments on the blog! Yes and yes! They are exempt. Discussion recently to lift the exemption. :-). Arab Israelis also exempt, but some choose to serve for the benefits.

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