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March 10, 1989 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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SCHECHTER'S

STEVEN M. HARTZ

Jewish News Intern

oseph Silverstein's trip
to Israel last month
started with an ad in
The Jewish News placed by
the American Zionist Youth
Foundation. The AZYF was
seeking parents who have
never been to Israel and who
also have teenagers who plan
to travel there in the near
future.
Overall, tourism is down in
Israel. The ad was placed due
to the plunge in youth
tourism; 2,500 youths toured
Israel last year which was
down from 6,000 in 1987.
Silverstein, like many con-,
cerned parents, wanted to see
if Israel was as unsafe as the
American media suggested.
"There were 30 people
chosen to go on the trip," said
Silverstein. "El Al picked up
the tab." Silverstein and the
other parents last month
toured Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,
the West Bank, Golan
Heights, the Ein Gedi Spa,
Masada and Tiberias. "I
always thought of Israel as
being just a desert," noted
Silverstein. "But Israel is
very mountainous; it has a lot
of swamp land, and it is very
beautiful."
The tourists had their first
look at Israel when they land-
ed at the Ben-Gurion Airport
in Tel Aviv. "We saw men
walking around with guns,
and we found out why they
walked around with guns,"
said Silverstein. "The soldiers
are issued rifles, and they
have a responsibility for that
rifle. If they lose it, they are
punished or imprisoned. So,
the rifles become part of
them. I think a lot of people

j

have a misconception that the
whole country is a police-
state, where they just walk
around with rifles, and that is
not true. I walked in Tel Aviv
at one o'clock in the morning
for about two miles, and I felt
very secure!'
From Tel Aviv, Silverstein
and the other parents on the
tour drove to Jerusalem. "The
first day, the group visited old
Jerusalem and saw the old ci-
ty and the wall," noted
Silverstein. "We saw how
Jews preserve the old as well
as the new — they don't
destroy the digs. They build
shelters around to preserve
the old!'
Night life in Jerusalem as
well in as the other cities the
group visited was fun for
Silverstein. "I went to a lot of
discos at night time, and a lot
of discos in Jerusalem are in
the alley," said Silverstein.
"The people were very friend-
ly and courteous, and it was
very safe!"
Soon, it was off to a moshav
in the West Bank. "I saw the
West Bank and heard it was
a dangerous place, and it
wasn't. We were on the
Lebanese border, and again,
there were no problems. I ex-
pected to see fighting and
soldiers lining both sides of
the border, there was no such
thing."
Silverstein was impressed
with Tiberias. "It had ice-
cream stores and pizza
parlors. It reminded me of
Petosky (Michigan). We went
on a lido (boat); the boat
reminded me of the Bob-Lo
boat; it had music and danc-
ing. I loved it!'
At a kibbutz on the
Lebanese border, he noted
that "the grounds were very

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Joseph Silverstein makes a furry friend on his one-week trip.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

39

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