On a visit to Israel last year a colleague suggested that I visit Kibbutz Metzer, a community founded by Argentinean Jewish émigrés in the 1950s. So along with my Quaker traveling companion and one other American, I hired a taxi and drove north from Jerusalem for nearly two hours to the interior of the country.
As I sat down in one of the four plain metal chairs around the small table in the trailer office of the kibbutz, I stirred my coffee slowly and wondered about the commune’s simplicity. I wondered also about the journey of its people and of those in neighboring Israeli Arab villages. Dov Avital, the secretary general for the kibbutz, who had poured each of us a cup of coffee, as is customary among the people of the Middle East, was as eager to tell his story as we were to listen.
Bill Plitt, an educational consultant from Arlington, Virginia, is director of community outreach for Friends of Tent of Nations North America, which supports cross-cultural understanding and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.