Adam Bauer, Joe Camp and Heather Spray – Presiding Fellows
There was a beautiful sunrise over the Sea of Galilee to start our day. We boarded the bus, and our first stop was at Yonatan, a mango and avocado packing facility. A waxy coating is applied to avocados to extend the shelf life and give the fruit a shiny exterior. Some fruit is sold locally, while others are shipped to markets in Northern Europe, Canada, and Russia. Only 5% of the fruit is wasted!
We then drove to Jordan Valley bananas – another packing facility. This is a brand new facility, but the company has been around for 60 years. The facility processes 40,000 tons of bananas each year, which are all sold into Israeli markets. All bananas are picked green and treated with ethylene gas to prepare them for the market. Nothing goes to waste in this facility as the banana stalks are fed to cows!
We finished our morning at an ag research station where we learned about various research projects, including water desalination. Our guide was Yuval “Banana Man” Levy, who we had met the prior day at the Kibbutz Hukuk farming community.
For a few hours after lunch, we visited some religious sites around the Sea of Galilee. These stops included the Church of Fish and Loaves (where Jesus fed the 5000), the Church of the Primacy of Peter (where the Last Supper was held), and the village of Capernaum (where Jesus taught and performed many miracles). It’s an amazing experience to see and touch where Jesus ministered!
We then drove to the Golan Heights area. We met with Matan Dansker, a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces, who shared his views on the Israeli military and their work in the Middle East. All Israeli citizens are required to serve in the military for 2-3 years, and then in the Reserves until age 40. He mentioned that Israel represents U.S Democracy in the Middle East. Matan was very responsive to our questions regarding peace in the Middle East.
We finished our evening at Decks restaurant along the Sea of Galilee. We enjoyed great food and laughs as we shared our favorite stories of the trip so far! We pack up and head to Jerusalem tomorrow.