'Azzun, Far'ata

Rachel A., Leora G.B. (reporting), Lily G. (guest, assisting)

Translator:  Charles K.

We reached Far’ata in the early afternoon; about a dozen students awaited us for their second Hebrew lesson.  Some are very young, some older (one, cheerful and filled with laughter, has eight children); they’re all eager to learn.

It was amazing how they remembered all they’d learned in the previous lesson.  One, who hadn’t participated in the first class, had copied in a notebook everything we’d taught and learned it.  That was very moving.

Since I don’t speak Arabic, my mother, who does, helps me (she’s 91 and full of energy).  But the most useful tools are pantomime and good will.

Some of the women are more dominant that others; they’re members of the more powerful village hamulas.  The social dynamics are interesting; they definitely help each other.  Someone always translates things not everyone understands.  That’s wonderful.

While the class was underway, Rachel gave H. a private lesson; she’s a fascinating and intelligent woman in her sixties who learned Hebrew on her own and needs someone she can practice conversation with at an advanced level.  H. told Rachel about her family’s troubles:  after years of living and working in the Gulf States they – parents and adult children – returned to the West Bank.  They had difficulty obtaining documents allowing them to live there.  One son was caught by the army without documents (not as someone illegally in Israel – in occupied territory) and jailed for three years; that destroyed his life.  Today, years later, all have documents allowing them to live in the West Bank.

We drove to Azzun.  On the way we twice saw command cars parked off to the right – six and four kilometers before the turn to Azzun.  They were facing the road.

There was also a military jeep at the entrance to Azzun, soldiers standing alongside.

We stopped at Z.’s shop.  Rachel had brought bags of toys, household goods and clothing.  Z. said he’s been receiving fewer donations lately; he was forced to spend NIS 300 to buy men’s clothing.