Today was my final day in Israel-Palestine.
While the rest of the group will continue on for a few days, because of a engagement that I committed to before this trip, I will return home.
Today included walking through an Israeli checkpoint, wandering around Bethlehem, attending church at Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church, dinner with a local family, and a significant time in Hebron.
While much of what we have experienced has been rich and meaningful, the time spent in Hebron has had the most impact on me: the military presence, the history of Ibrahimi Mosque, the palpable tension between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents, the visible signs of occupation, stark combat reminders, and the general sense of economic desperation. Our leader indicated that many believe that Hebron represents a microcosm of the conflict. One can see and feel this reality. And while I am disappointed that I am not able to be part of the trip for the rest of the time, I am grateful to have spent time in Hebron.
I have to idea if/when I will be back, but I hope I will be able to do so sooner rather than later.
Post-event and post-jet-lag, I will post some final thoughts and reflections, but until then, thanks for hanging out with me along the way.