As we said our goodbyes to Yad Vashem, we headed towards the beautiful Israeli Supreme Court to hear from former Chief Justice Asher Dan Grunis. Justice Grunis spoke to the students about the differences between the U.S. Supreme Court and the Israeli Supreme Court. The comparison in the annual caseload (about 70 cases in the U.S. versus 15,000 cases in Israeli!) really stood out for the students. The court have 15 justices that generally sit in panels of three to hear the cases.
After driving up north, we ended the day with a speech from Adam Waddell from Eco-Peace. Eco peace is an NGO that works to facilitate peace talks and promote sustainable development between the Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli governments. Aurusa Kabani shared her thoughts about this NGO.
Eco-Peace Middle East, has initiated the Good Water Neighbors Project to help communities between the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee use water to build regional environmental stability and cross-border peace between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Jordan is facing a water crisis as 80% of the country is desert and the Jordan River annual water flow is declining rapidly. Palestine is landlocked inside of Israel with no access to a natural water source. And while there is multiple water sources available to Israel, it is economically constrained from selling filtered water. Fortunately, regional municipalities are taking the first steps to develop sustainability and clean water in the Jordan Valley, thereby providing Jordanians and Palestinians access to filtered water in exchange for navigating the mouth of the Jordan River to the Sea of Galilee. Co-existing and peace-building do not always need to be politically motivated; here, environmentalists are promoting cooperative efforts to protect the shared environmental heritage in the region while creating necessary condition for lasting peace.
Mr. Waddell spoke to the students about how water from the Jordan River has the power of bringing the communities and countries together. Aurusa also observed how many people see this conflict “as a clash of religions and cultures. And we only see resolutions motivated by politics.” But water, something so simple and necessary to survive, could help solve this conflict. We then spent the night at Mitzpe Hashalom Kibbutz. This kibbutz is located near the Southern Golan Heights and has a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee.