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Day 2 of the KKL France’s 20th Walk for Water

The second day of the KKL France Walk for Water combined excursions along riverbed gullies with visits to historical sites in the Golan Heights. This is the twentieth time this event has taken place, and this year the delegation is marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War and celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem.
The day began with a splendid scenic walk along Nahal Zavitan in the Golan Heights. The walkers set out along the heights of Yehudiya, descended into the gully and made their way via pools, springs and waterfalls to the Hexagon Pool.

Ariele and Stéphane Medioni, a Parisian couple, were taking part in the Walk for Water for the third time.
“These excursions are very enjoyable. It’s interesting to see remarkable sites, listen to explanations about them and get to know new people,” said Ariele. “I’ve got family in Israel, and we come here several times a year, but when we visit as part of a delegation like this one, it’s quite a different feeling.”

Her husband Stéphane added: “It’s fun to explore the beautiful natural surroundings of Israel, learn about the history and geography of the country and meet wonderful people.”

Their route led them to the delightful Hexagon Pool, where a cooling dip on a hot day is pure pleasure. The pool takes its name from the hexagonal basalt pillars of rock that surround it – a fascinating geological phenomenon that results from differences in temperature and pressure in the various layers of the lava during the cooling process.

“For years I’ve been hearing about the Walk for Water and I always wanted to take part, but until now things never worked out,” explained Chantal Attia, a doctor who also hails from Paris. “Friends told me that this time we really were going to do it, and I’m very glad indeed that I came. The routes aren’t always easy, but the landscapes are marvelous, and I’m getting to know new places. It’s very impressive to see how KKL-JNF is developing the country and to hear about the enormous contribution the organization has made to the state.”

Giordana Mosseri of Jerusalem is an Israeli of Italian origin who joined the Walk for Water thanks to her cousin Roger Asher, who is a well-known figure in the Jewish community in Paris. As he was unable to participate in the event because of his state of health, he asked Giordana to take his place. “Walking through the Land of Israel is a major mitzva, and it’s also the best way to get to know the country in depth,” she said.

After the long day’s excursion, the delegates finally arrived at Old Katzrin Park. Heftzibah, their guide – barefoot, and clad in the garments of ancient times – introduced herself as a local resident from over two thousand years ago, and led the group on a trip through time back to the days of the Mishna and the Talmud, hosting them in her ancient house and leading them on a tour of the synagogue and the olive press. Slipping easily into her role, she showed the Walkers for Water how olive oil was produced: one of the visiting delegates played the part of the tree that was beaten with a stick to release the olives, while another volunteer acted the role of the donkey that turned the heavy stone to squeeze out the oil.

Modern technology enabled the visitors to view a turbulent drama from Talmudic times in a film that portrayed a halachic debate on the laws of purity and impurity (dinei tum’a ve-tahara) enacted on six different screens. This debate, which developed into a discussion of the principles involved in reliance upon divine utterance, enabled the visitors to get in touch with the ancient history of Jewish settlement in the Golan Heights and the issues that have preoccupied Jews throughout the ages, right up to the present day.

Laurence Borens of Paris was taking part in the Walk for Water for the tenth time. “I love Israel and nature, and I’m especially happy to be learning about the history of the country,” she said.

The delegates spent the night at Kfar Giladi, where they rested and regained their energies for the coming days of the Walk for Water in the Golan Heights and Jerusalem.

Read this article in French