Twenty four clergy men and their wives joined Sabeel’s annual trip to Galilee. After so many years Sabeel managed through the Orthodox Patriarchate to obtain permits for the clergy from the West Bank to go to Israel. We had clergy and wives from Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala, Jerusalem and Galilee representing different church denominations.
Our visit started at Saint Elias monastery “El-Muhraka” or “Place of the Sacrifice” at the Carmel Heights, Rev. Ibrahim Simaan from the Baptist Church in Nazareth gave full explanation about the place from both historical and biblical perspectives. We went up to the roof of the church and saw the beauty of the city.
The group went to Isifia village where we were met by the Melkite priest Fr. Samir Rohana, and visited the church and learned about its history and the service that the church provides for its people. We also learned about the population of Isifia who are Druze, Christian and Muslim. A nice reception was ready for us; we enjoyed very much talking with some of the congregation in the village. At the end we visited the old age home that belongs to the Melike church and met the people there, spent a wonderful time with them, prayed and listened to their stories. It was truly moving to be with these special people and hear their stories.
We headed to the depopulated village of Ein houd. The village was turned into what they call an “Artists’ Village” as its residents are artists from different fields. We had a wonderful lunch at the only Palestinian restaurant that belongs to one of the people of Eid Houd village who was driven out from his village but still has a place next to the village. Mr. Abu Elheja the owner of the restaurant guided the group on a tour of the village showing us his house, his family and relatives’ houses. We met an artist who was an American Jew who moved with his father to Israel in the 80’s and now he lives there, part of what this man said is “I know that the house I live in belongs to Mr. Abu Elheja, but I prefer that we don’t talk about the past but live our lives from now on”… this is what they call justice!
After an interesting tour in the village we headed to Nazareth and visited the Church of the Annunciation for the Orthodox, prayed together and left Nazareth each to his/her town and village