Every day we have a block of time called Zman Metsuyan, “a wonderful time,” a structure through which chanichimot explore their connections to Israel and grapple with historical and current issues in Israeli society. So far this summer, chanichimot have engaged in peulot (activites) about different topics relating to Israel, Zionism and Jewish history. We have explored kibbutzim, Zionist thinkers, and the history of Jewish migration.
Every summer, we run peulot discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, specifically on the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. We do this because as a camp that is part of a Zionist, anti-Occupation movement, we believe that educating about the Occupation is a crucial part of educating responsibly about Israel and Zionism. We want to educate our chanichimot about working towards justice in Israel and Palestine for all people. Last session, we ran a Zman Metsuyan on different aspects of the Occupation to bring a nuanced and realistic perspective of what is currently happening in Israel and Palestine. We ran two round robins, one for the lower shetach and one for the upper shetach.
For the upper shetach, or chanichimot entering grades 8-10, we ran three stations. At one station, chanichimot read Breaking the Silence testimonials from IDF soldiers who have served in the Occupation and discussed Israeli soldiers’ experiences in the Occupied territories. In another station, we read a text about the Palestinian people’s historical struggle for statehood and discussed the culture and continuity of Palestinian people, despite the oppression that they have faced over time. Finally, we ran a station where we discussed the disparities in resource allocation such as water for Palestinian people compared to Israeli people, and looked at visuals that displayed this inequality.
For the lower shetach, or chanichimot entering grades 4-7, we ran three different stations. At one station, we learned about settlements in the West Bank as we looked at pictures taken in Israel and the Occupied territories, and we discussed how this has resulted in unclear, disputed borders. In another station, we discussed the prevalence of Israeli checkpoints within Palestinian territory in the West Bank and the daily violence Palestinians face when passing through checkpoints. Finally, we ran a station about Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian youth activist, and discussed how Israeli military law affects Palestinians in the Occupied territories.
In all of the activities, the chanichimot engaged with the content, sparking important discussions with thought-provoking questions. Many chanichimot shared that they hadn’t learned about these realities or had the space to ask these questions in any other communities in their lives. Furthermore, they expressed appreciation for learning novel and nuanced information on the Occupation at Mosh and an eagerness to continue learning about the Occupation in this space. We felt that chanichimot engaged in the content in a mature and responsible way, and were all able to learn something new. As a tzevet that cares deeply about incorporating anti-Occupation education into our nuanced and complex Israel education, we are excited to continue this educational process with our chanichimot this summer.
– written by Tess Greenwood, Mimi Sieradzki and Leah Savage (madrichimot at Mosh)