Meeting on the Israel National Trail: A KKL-JNF Joint Initiative

Monday, February 09, 2015 3:22 PM

A coexistence walk on the Israel National Trail, February 23 - April 20. Sign up now!

For its 10th year, the annual Meeting on the Israel National Trail walk will depart on February 23rd, 2015 (5775).

Walking the Israel Trail in Tel Azeka. Photo: Tania Susskind

The Meeting on the Israel National Trail initiative was inaugurated ten years ago by the Afner family in memory of their son Avi, who died in an IDF helicopter disaster. Since then, the event has been expanded, and today it commemorates a much wider spectrum of Israeli society; it is now held in memory of all those who fell in Israel’s wars and all victims of enemy attacks. This year it is taking place with the support and partnership of KKL-JNF.
The event is designed to offer a social values-based excursion that will strengthen Israeli hikers’ connection to the country’s trails – and to the Israel National Trail in particular – by means of dialogue, engagement with the profound questions facing Israeli society, culture and heritage, and recognition of issues that unite or divide those who live here.

Three fundamental issues underlie the event. The first of these is commemoration: During the walk the IDF fallen and victims of enemy attacks are remembered every day. The second is renewal: Renewing people’s acquaintance with one another as they walk, direct contact between people who have never previously met, and study workshops devoted to Jewish Israeli culture. The third is dialogue: In the course of the walk both unstructured and structured (discussion circles) debate takes place between people from different walks of Israeli society; this debate, which is multigenerational, heterogeneous and multicultural, is designed to strengthen connections, increase understanding and help people from different sectors of society to accept one another, whatever their differences of opinion.

Participants in the event are generally individuals or small groups. The educational program consists of a daily dialogue sheet related to a weekly topic. During each day’s walk – generally 15-20 kilometers – structured workshops are held, and the day concludes with a get-together whose topic relates to the site, to a prominent person present, to a personal or communal initiative or, sometimes, to the time at which the walk is taking place. In the ten years since this apolitical event began, tens of thousands of walkers have participated in it.

This year the walk from Eilat to northern Israel will take place from February 23rd until April 20th 2015.
Additional information is available from the Forest Hotline (1800-350-550) or the following link:
Groups wishing to join the walk must sign up on the website.
Only small groups of up to 15 people can sign up.
Families or individuals can sign up on the walk’s website