Our two weeks back in the Middle East has come to an end... we're back in the States just in time for Thanksgiving. After our time at the Syrian border, we made our way into Israel. We spent the first few days in Jerusalem and Ramallah catching up with Mohammad and Liat while grabbing last minute b-roll and audio for Our Land.
On Friday, we hung out with our friends Elias D'eis and Said Beik who worki at Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem. They were sharing with us some of the exciting things coming up like a cultural festival taking place in Bethlehem this summer. They're doing great things in Palestine and we're hoping to collaborate with them on future initiatives. Check out what they're up to at www.OpenBethlehem.org.
After hanging out with our Holy Land Trust friends, Elias Halabi invisted us to dinner with his family. It was great catching up with him. He's been busy working on a music festival in Bethlehem and working on various photo projects that advocate Palestinian culture.
We traveled north to Nazareth on Saturday morning to stay with our new friends Hunter and Lauri. They run a young life club up there and we got to hang out with the students and hear from them about their struggles with identity living as Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. It was very interesting hearing them discuss and debate with each other about what peace looks like in the Holy Land. During our time in the north, we met Fadi Batrice, a Palestinian painter who also expressed his concern with living as a Palestinian outside of the West Bank and Gaza. This is a voice we have not expressed in any our films so it was good to hear from these people living in Nazareth and to understand their perspective of the conflict. We're planning on putting together a short video of some of the conversations we were able to film.
Anna and I made one last visit before our long journey back home. Neve Daniel. A Jewish settlement just outside of Bethlehem. Whenever we tell a Palestinian that a Jewish settler speaks about peace in our documentary, they question how this is even possible. How could a settler, a person who essentially lives on stolen land, advocate for peace? We thought the same thing... until we met Nachum last summer. I'm not saying we are advocating for settlements, we still think the building of these Jewish neighborhoods are unacceptable and harmful. But Nachum has truly challenged our way of thinking. It was great seeing him and his family before we left on Tuesday. We're excited to tell his story, along with Mohammad's, Elias' and Liat's through our film.
We are very thankful for the people we've met and the stories we've heard during our short time in the Middle East. Anna and I speak on behalf of the entire crew to say that we are excited to finish this film and get it out there.