Sabeel in Ikrith “Remembering the Nakba”

Sabeel took 17 of its young adult participants to the depopulated village of Ikrith on Saturday, April 5, for an overnight educational trip. Ikrith, a Palestinian Christian village located in the Upper Galilee, was seized and its residents evictedby the Israeli militaryafter the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. After their forcible removal, many of the villagers fled to Lebanon, with others settling in nearby Palestinian towns.The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the villagers could return to Ikrith with military permission, but the military has so far refused to grant it, citing security concerns. Despite repeated evictions by the Israeli army, activists and descendants from Ikrith maintain a presence in the town’s church, the only building still standing.
On the Sabeel trip to Ikrith, we got to participate in the church service the villagers held in the morning, and were introduced to Fr. Suheil Khoury, who helped us organize the program.We met people from the community then went out for a nature tour with Mr. Milad Khayat. He took us to a park where we talked and got to know each other, and listened to Fr. Suheil share about Ikrith and expand on his sermon from the morning.We enjoyed a homemade lunch from Mr. Milad’s wife; we met her later during our trip and had the chance to thank her. After lunch, we started walking on afour hour hike into a valley called “Bassa” or “Karkar,” referring to the sound of the water that was found.
After the long hike, we were all tired, but Mr. Milad took us to another beautiful site near the village. Then we were able to go to the house where the young womenwould sleep for the night, in a village called Yaara, now a Jewish kibbutz.
In Yaara, we ate dinner,talked, and also met some of the youth from Ikrith. After dinner we went back to the church in Ikrith to enjoy the music of an artist from a nearby village called Tarshiha.The artist played the oud (an Arabic instrument) and entertained us with patriotic songs as well as classical Arabic songs; we sang along and drank coffee.
That evening, the boys slept in the church in Ikrith and the girls went to the house in Yaara.We met again the next day to have breakfast.
We left the house and went to the cemetery in Ikrithto do voluntary work with the youth of Ikrith, cleaning as much as we could. Then we hiked back up to the church where we had lunch all together, and explored the village more.
We said our thanks and goodbyes, and left for Tiberius where we had free time and a boat ride before heading home that evening.
We had new participants along on the trip and they greatly enjoyed it; they are eager to join us in our future events.