Study excursion to the Negev

2016

The MBSF spent November 20-21st in what has become its traditional fall study excursion. This year we headed to the area of Nitzana in the Negev. We toured the remains of the Nabbatian cities Shivta and Tel Nitzana. We hiked around Gevei Yamin in the Machtesh Hagadol area, and we also stopped for a short visit in Dimona, a town which used to be a neglected remote area, and now going through an impressive wave of growth and development, mainly because of a new railway line to Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv. However, the center of the excursion was a visit to the highly controversial Holot detention center. The visit was preceded by a screening of the documentary Between the Fences by Avi Mugrabi, which shows a theater workshop with inmates of Holot - Asylum seekers and migrants from Africa. One of the participants in the film, Nuraldin, who entered Israel eight years ago, after escaping the war in Darfur, Sudan, joined us for this visit. He shared his personal story and his stay in Holot in 2013, as well as the big demo organized by the detainees on summer 2015 . When we came to the area near the gate in Holot we met a few other refugees from Eritrea and Sudan. We formed a circle and listened to their stories of their persecution and escape, and reports about their highly frustrating present situation in Israel. It was an eye-opening and thought-provoking encounter that left an enormous impression on all of us.