Deir Ballut, Haris, Kufr alDik

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Natalie Cohen, Rachel Alon, Naomi Bentsur (reporting), Nadim (driving) Translator: Charles K.



09:00  We left from the Rosh Ha’Ayin train station.

09:30  Hars.  It’s again gratifying to see the women are waiting for us.  Twelve are already seated at the tables in the club, ready for the lesson to begin.  Four more arrive later.  There’s a wide range of ages – very young women alongside the elderly, and all ages in between.  But they’re all enthusiastic and willing to work learning a new language.  It’s wonderful.

Today’s topic is male/female – persons (first, second, third), then numbers from 1 to 10, then some nouns.  The women are glad to be asked questions; most reply accurately and fluently.  We’ve prepared a text for them.

Something unusual occurred in the midst of the lesson: a man entered, made signs indicating he’s a deaf mute and asked for money.  We made a donation; he gave us a religious card in return.  Just like in a Tel Aviv café…


The tour:  Natalie and Rachel, a new colleague, left from Hars with Nadim at 09:30 for Brukin.  Many boys were in the streets, apparently because of school vacation.

10:15  Kufr a-Dik.  A Palestinian Authority police station has opened in the village.  A police car drives around, keeping the traffic moving.  We tried, unsuccessfully, to speak with a young man delivering merchandise to a grocery store.  He’s wary, doesn’t want to talk to us.  An army vehicle comes through the western exit from the village; two soldiers get out, one of them with binoculars.

10:30  A familiar sign at the entrance to Deir Balut warning Israelis not to enter Area A.  Nadim starts talking to a resident of the village who happens by and declares, “What peace?  There won’t be peace as long as the settlements are there.”  As if to confirm his words, we see to the east a new road to the settlements of Padu’el and Alei Zahav.  A sign on the outskirts of Alei Zahav reads “That way,” four structures under construction behind it.  Is that a new settlement or the old trick known as “expansion?”

The army jeep is still there on our way back.  One of the soldiers looks through the binoculars toward Kufr a-Dik.  Traffic flows past them unimpeded.

11:00  Back to Hars.  The lesson ends with greetings for the new year.  Will it be a year of peace?  The women of Hars are skeptical, like the man from Deir Balut.  And so are we.

11:30  Back to Rosh Ha’Ayin.