Sea Days for Palestinian Children

God has pity on kindergarten children
So that their own happiness will protect us
Now and on other days.
Yehuda Amichai

It all started when Tzvia hosted two Palestinian families and their children at her granddaughter Shira’s birthday party. After the party, one of the fathers wanted to take his children to the beach. “They have never seen the sea”, he said, and Tzvia  suddenly realized that in the occupied West Bank, just a few miles from the sea, live children who have never seen it, have never swam in its waters, have never ridden the surf, or built sand castles on the beach.

Consequently, Tzvia, Rachel, Rochale and Racheli decided to open the sea for Palestinian children. Over the years, the leading team changed to Tzvia, Rachel, Riki and Amira.

Since 2007, every summer, at the end of the school year, we have managed to organize groups of children from various villages in the West Bank and bring them to the seashores of Tel Aviv. This has all been done with the help of a wonderful growing group of volunteers, as well as generous donors. For all of these Children it was the very first encounter with the sea.

The word has spread amongst the Palestinians who are yearning for the sea, and the requests to join our sea-days are always too numerous for us to accommodate.

The joy of the children meeting the sea, the waves and the sand is heart-warming.   After lunch, the children participate in workshops as theater, painting, clay sculpting, storytelling, and other social activities, at a Community Center in Jaffa that opened its gates to host the guests from the West Bank

While keeping the children busy, we form a women's circle where we can listen to the mothers recount their everyday life, share difficulties and hopes, as well as thoughts about the political situation and prospects for the future, allowing both sides to connect on a personal level. At 5 p.m., the children and their mothers end a long day with a boat ride in Jaffa Harbor, before leaving on the bus back to the village.

In our column A Day at the Beach you will find the story of each day, while under Media you can read articles published by the local as well as international press, and view a video films prepared by our volunteers. Photo albums from each such day can be found under Pictures.

We invite you all to share this privilege of ours, and take part in a wonderful experience.

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