Olive Harvest at Kafr Kira, Tuesday 20.10.15,
After much longing, at the end of a fortnight or more in which wehadn’t come to "our" village because of Michal's illness, we finally managed to arrive – for a slightly different activity. In a preliminary phone conversation with N., our liaison person in the village, we were told that the security situation was alright but…. Women now have no time for "idle" meetings as the whole village is in the olive groves, in the midst of the harvest. We expressed an ardent desire to participate and were very gladly invited.
And so, on last Tuesday, we rolled on the well-known road, through the well-known village whichsuddenly seemed completely abandoned (at least for good reasons…) to the olive plot of the N. family. There we joined N., her cousi, whom we know from our current activity – also called N… the uncle and the aunt and three of the family's young men, one of them the first N.'s husband.
Everybody has been there since half past seven in the morning, and only we, the prima donnas, joined them at nine…
The atmosphere was wonderful, full of laughter and incessant chatter. Women and men picked the olives together, continuously, in perfect harmony: the uncle chopped stubborn branches, the young men passed the sheets from tree to tree and emptied their shining green contents into the olive sacks, the aunt collected in a special pail the "Joul" – the olives which fell to the ground before the olive picking itself – for the purpose of the preparation of soap, and everybody picked olives: on ladders, by daringly climbing on to the tops of trees, (the women too!) by manual "milking", by combing with small plastic rakes. So, as if randomly and unintentionally but actually in impressive order and organization, we proceeded from tree to tree. Michal and myself – new to this– just imitated every movement we saw. We climbed, we bent and we fought with everybody for each olive, even the farthest (one doesn't leave a single olive on the tree!)
At noon the containers of food and bottles of soft drinks were taken out and we were of course invited to participate in the picnic at the orchard.
After we ate and drank and were satiated, after having talked, and under the influence of the pastoral look of the hills covered with olive trees, and the warm family atmosphere, we came to the common conclusion that if every Israeli man and women would find time this month for one day of olive picking, most of the regions' problems would be solved without need for further means.
We promised to continue arriving for the olive picking until its end.
And then, Inshalla, we will return to our regular activities…
On Thursday 22.10 I joined a group of the "Law Abiders" organization (Rabbais for Human Rights) volunteers, for olive picking at the village of Burin who were "lucky enough" to be surrounded by sympathetic and well-meaning neighbors: The settlements of Yitzhar and Beraha – “blessing” (which is cynically nicknamed by the Hebrew speaking locals "Kelala" – acurse.)
The family which we joined was relatively small: just a man, a woman and their 22-year-old son who was joined by his friend as a paid help. The olives in this grove were bigger (Mansenilo?) and it was surprising to discover the difference even between one tree to the other in this orchard. I already felt like a slightly more skilled olive picker, and we worked the whole day without pause.
On the next day a group of volunteers from the same organization, who worked in the orchard near Itamar, were violently attacked by a veiled settler, who hit the head of the organization, the Rabbi Arik Asherman, and threatened him with a knife.