Oh what a day!

The past 24 hours have been a roller-coaster of emotions. Yesterday I visited Cheddar Gorge with my sister on a lovely day out. We arrived home late and I logged onto Facebook to see that one of the girls who was in the village at the same time as I was had finally put up her photographs. I slowly scrolled through all 140 plus of them and as I recognized face after face, memories and feelings came flooding back and eventually tears started to roll down my face with bitter-sweetness. My heart once again felt heavy seeing the innocent, smiley faces of the children who wanted to hold out hands, skirts, teeshirts, anything of us, knowing that these beautiful children have no future, no freedom and no peace.

I slept badly.

Forward to this morning when I logged back onto Facebook and there was an inbox message from someone I didn’t know telling me to stay away from Israel and go and see my terrorist friends in Palestine and messages on a thread from a Facebook group where I was looking for somewhere to stay whilst in Israel in the coming fortnight. Here is the copied transcript (with names removed)

Hi, we are 2 women who are looking for somewhere to stay in Jaffa about the 11th August…we just need the night there as will be getting a train to visit Caesarea the next morning….will be also asking for Nazareth, Acre and Gallilee later in the week. Thanks
  •  Anyone? (me)
  •  There is no train from Jaffa
  •  Sorry I meant train from Tel Aviv.(me)
  • Are you pro israeli or pro palestinian?
  •  What? I am asking for somewhere to stay whilst visiting Israel. Sorry I asked for hospitiality, I will book a hostel or hotel. I didn’t realise that you had to be in a certain ‘camp’ to be able to get a bed! (me)
  •   ארי, הצלחת להרגיז תיירת בשאלתך חסרת הטאקט והלא רלבנטית לפורום זה
  •  Thank you R. (me in response to the above post in Hebrew)
 I hope you will enjoy your stay here, and will meet many nice people.
That is my hope too….and I hope we can get someone to put us up, if not like I said we will have to book a hostel. It is the first time I have used cs and am not having much luck with it (me)
Have you considered that your lack of luck may be due to the way you approach the whole thing ? As per the guidelines, people posting a request here are kindly requested to attach a link to their CS profile. We are still waiting to see yours and your friend’s. Not to mention that for obvious safety reasons, the best way to find a couch is thru the cs engine on the CS website (as opposed to FB)
  • Oh sorry I didn’t know that, like I said it is the first time I have used CS. But to be honest judging by the way I have been treated, I am looking forward to my trip less than I was and think it may be best if I stay in a hotel when I will be less judged. Thank you anyway. And I have posted on CS thanks Flo, but thought I would try here.
  • Lisa, CS is actually a pretty time-consuming affair. It requires a lot of profile-browsing to find people whose profiles you’ll find “inspiring”, to which you have to add the time to write a bunch of considerate couchrequests, then the time to wait for the answers, etc, etc…You say you felt judged but don’t forget it’s about opening one’s door to complete strangers and that nothing is due, so yes, people will want some info about you (that you’re supposed to provide on your profile) and they also expect other members to follow some kind of etiquette, as you would in any other life situation
  •   hey
    don’t judge a all country by a few ppl.
    don’t judge ppl. by their country, judge them individually

    and Ari is new here, not really a member of CS, 
    and doesn’t understand how to write in public forums 
    and how is words affect other ppl.
    or about the idea of CS
    Y – I direct your attention to this and his other responses about hosting women he wrote in my other post.

    so anyway…
    CS is about ppl., 
    it’s not about finding a place to stay free, it’s about getting to know new ppl. and get personal with them and their area.
    so you need to find ppl. how share your interests, or ppl. that are different and you wish to get to know them and share your differences. need not say, from an open minded point of view.
    either by getting hosted or just meeting them for a hang out.
    that is why it is MOST important to fill out your profile and tell about yourself and the kind of ppl. you like to get to know.
    by meeting them, but not necessarily staying with them.

    enjoy this land and it’s ppl., 
    and know that a country is not what souly makes a man
    but the soul of many ppl. is what makes a country

    happy trails, Rem 

  •  I tend no to delete messages just because I don’t like it. What makes this group interesting that people can say their opinion and you can either like it or not. As far as I know, CS does not delete profiles of people just because they prefer to host only girls, or only people with the same political opinion.
  •  still, this kind of msg. are hate speech and should not have a place in this group. all opinions are welcome if ppl. know how to express them and are not offensive to others.
    but this without doubt is
  •  Hi Lisa, first of all I strongly agree with what people wrote above about the nature of CS and that it’s better to look for a couch on the website using the designated engine e.t.c.
    On a different note – we’re a democratic pluralistic country (with it’s flaws), but you should be aware that having a cover photo like yours won’t help you in getting positive reactions from 99% of the people in Israel. I consider myself to be very critical of my government, but seeing someone from abroad looking for hospitality in my country while taking such a negative stance against it, doesn’t awake welcoming emotions in me.
  •  oh please don’t start a political discussion here
  •  Don’t worry, Yaniv will censor any political discussion, right Yaniv?
  • I’m sure not a lot of american cs would love to host pro al kaida in their house…the wall that you fight against my dear was after thousand of people were killed by suicide bombers..if such a people are your friends I doubt someone host you in his house…
    (By the way my profile picture is this)
    loveSo, I decided to remove myself from the group, rather disappointed that they weren’t a more open minded group of people. It also saddened me greatly. Here was I, trying to make sense of a situation that I can not get my head around in any shape or form, opening up myself to go to Israel to listen their side of the story and before I have even got there I have met huge obstacles and prejudices. I really want to meet Israelis that I can connect with, but this so far has pushed them further away from me, and this really saddens me. I do wonder where and when that connection with humanity is lost and an inbuilt hatred begins.
    I continued sipping my morning coffee, tears of frustration slowly dripping from my eyes, mixed in with the images of ‘our little family’ from the village last year, when THAT song came on the radio- Rihanna’s, “I Found Love in a Hopeless Place” and the tears then really did pour forth (this was our song for the trip).
    I am returning in less than 2 weeks time, to see mainly Israel this time….after today it is not a trip I am looking forward to just quite as much as I was.

About shakingtheshadowsfromtheolivetrees

I have a massive case of wanderlust and plan to see as much of this beautiful planet as I can before I die. I love Egypt, which gave me my first taster of Arabic culture, since then I have travelled to a few Arabic-speaking countries. My idea of a nightmare is an all inclusive 5* hotel resort. I much prefer to stay in basic accommodation in amongst the locals. Some of the best food I have eaten has been street food...and incidentally some of the worst has been in a 5*hotel. This year has given me the opportunity to visit Palestine, a place I loved to read about when I was younger in my children's bible. I am sure it isn't going to disappoint.
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2 Responses to Oh what a day!

  1. Tara Conroy says:

    So sorry Lisa.

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