I’ve always known that I have family in Israel, and when people ask (as they often do) I declare it – amongst my mixed nationality I am, by blood, quarter Israeli. Despite this, I have never drawn any link between myself and that faraway province,; never met the family, spoken the language, dedicated thoughts to anything beyond the immediate political situation in the region. As far as I was concerned, the country and it’s surrounds were a conflicted mess. The Israelis and Arabs were alike in character if not ideology – too proud, too aggressive, too angry, and with it heavy-handed and retaliatory. Above all, neither side had a human face, just a harsh mental impression of impersonable military hardware and an associated death toll. Not all of that is untrue, but one thing is certain: your stereotypes and preconceived ideas don’t last 30 seconds on the ground.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing up a few of my thoughts and experiences from my visit to Israel and Jordan, on topics ranging from scenery and ruins to the (re)discovery of my family here and to an extent, part of my heritage. I’ll scribble a bit about the history and the people, and (if I’m feeling brave) the deep-rooted crush of religion embedded in every cobblestone and grain of sand in this technically secular state.
I hope you enjoy it.