An artistic work that has resonated with me on my gap year is the wall that borders Israel and the Gaza Strip. I had the privilege of going to visit Tsameret Zamir, a woman who lives in moshav Netiv HaAsara, where the wall is located. She began a project called “Path to Peace”, which attracts visitors from all around the world. When we visited, she showed us a film called “Life in the Shade of the Wall” to help us understand what life is like living so close to the Gaza Strip. She then shared with us personal stories about the hardships of being a resident of the moshav and raising a family there. Though we heard heartbreaking stories about the struggles to stay safe when missiles are near, Tsameret remained optimistic throughout her speech and emphasized the importance of tolerance and kindness. I was really able to gain some perspective by hearing her talk.
The border started out as a giant, gray wall. Tsameret took her passion for mosaic creation and combined it with her hope for a peaceful future, giving life to the “Path to Peace” project. After speaking with Tsameret, we each picked a small piece of pre-made mosaic and wrote notes on the back. I remember feeling inspired and writing prayers for the people on both sides of the wall, as well as a wish for lasting peace. We then walked to the wall to glue up our pieces, and seeing the wall in person was a truly amazing experience. The mosaic mural represents that there are people who want to make change. “Peace” is written in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, and the mural on the wall faces the Gaza side, so residents there can all see it.
This creative work helped me feel more sure that I am in the right place on my gap year, both physically and metaphorically. It’s so easy to think of conflict between Israel and Gaza, and there is so much to learn that I often feel confused and unsure of where I stand. Being at the beautiful border, though, kind of took me to a big-picture perspective, and showed me that it should not be two sides, but one. Even though the border doesn’t solve all of the problems between the Gaza Strip and Israel, it definitely shows that there is an attempt, maybe even a chance, at peace. Seeing that was enough to restore my faith in humanity a bit.