My husband and I started a tradition with our first son before his Bar Mitzvah. We set out, just the three of us, and walked a section of the Israel Trail. With my eldest, we trekked from Bet Usishkin to the top of Mt. Meron. With my second son, we continued from Mt. Meron and finished atop the Arbel cliff. We left the Arbel with my daughter and walked through fields of mud past the Kinneret, to the summit of Mt. Devorah where we read her the words of Devorah the prophetess. My daughter was there when we returned to Mt. Devorah three years later, to wish her little brother luck as he set off on his journey with us, a journey that ended near the coastline north of Zichron Yaakov.
Logistics were a challenge on these journeys. We were in our 40s, and the idea of lugging heavy bags with all of our equipment or spending the night in a tent after a tough trek was a bit too much for us to handle. So we booked rooms in field schools, cabins, and hostels, and worked out where to leave our car and which friends or relatives could lend a hand in taking our car to the next stop.
My in-laws were recruited to help at the beginning of the trek with kid #4. They would take us to the starting point on Mt. Devorah, accompanied by my daughter, and we’d leave our car at the end of the route for day 2, at the entrance to the pastoral village of Basmat Tab’un.
I didn’t know the area well. Waze directed us to where the trail met the road, and we looked for a good place to leave the car, somewhere it would be safe. Somewhere where we were sure it would be waiting when we dragged our tired bodies up the road in two days’ time. The side of the road didn’t seem like a good option and the parking lot of a mini-mart was a way down the road, an interminable distance at the end of a long day.
“Where should we leave it?” my son asked, his 12-year-old eyes looking worried.
And then, I laid eyes on it. Ahead of me, ensconced in wildflowers and blooming fruit trees was a mosque, its minaret gleaming in the sunlight.
“We’ll leave it at the mosque,” I told him. “A mosque is a holy place. We’ll ask them if it’s OK, and if they say it is, nothing will happen to it.”
Some men came out of the mosque and we asked their permission to leave the car in the parking lot. They smiled, welcomed us, and said we had nothing to worry about. We thanked them and set out on the way.
My son and husband hiking to Bosmat Tivon. (Image courtesy of author)
Two days later, our blistered feet were aching and we could feel every muscle in our bodies when the Basmat Tab’un mosque minaret peaked out over the trees. As we trudged toward it, we saw our car waiting in the parking lot.
“It’s good we left the car with people we could trust,” my son said.
Reunited with the car at the mosque (Image courtesy of author)
My son is now 14, the same age as Walid Dalika, who was gunned down in cold blood in Basmat Tab’un today. Who could Walid trust? Why has no one stepped up to protect him and the incomprehensible number of other innocent victims of crime in Israel’s Arab communities?
Learning to trust others is an important part of a child’s psychological development and my son’s trust was reinforced when we were in Basmat Tab’un. We owe it to every child in Israel to experience the same. There is no reason that a country with the security capabilities to thwart advanced terror can’t reign in a civilian mafia that murders children. Teaching our children trust means making sure that they will not become victims.
My heart goes out to Walid’s mother who lost two sons today. This must stop.