I have spent the past months traveling around Israel in search of its future. I have traveled from Metula to Eilat with my camera and notebook, meeting people and discussing their thoughts and hopes for the future of Israel. I continued studying Arabic with the intention of being able, someday soon, to communicate with Palestinians in their native language. Look out for my forthcoming book: “Nothing New Under the Desert Sun.”
In order to help myself and others better understand the past, I translated into English the Rose of Jericho, a book of essays about the history of the people of Israel in their land, written by social critic and former Freedom Fighter, Amos Kenan. It was a pleasure to delve into the history of the area and its people through the eyes of the gadfly of the state. A manuscript is available.
I spent a few days in Norway, by invitation of the International Student Festival in Trondheim. The theme of this years festival was Peace Building, and I constructed an interactive installation that resembles the Middle Eastern desert. I invited the festival participants to come in out of the snow, sit in the desert sand and write their ideas for making peace in this faraway land. People stayed for hours, talking and relaxing and before they left, they hung their creations on the gallery wall. It was inspiring to meet so many passionate, dedicated and thoughtful people from all corners of the world, with whom there is more in common than not. A catalog of the exhibition is available and an interactive website allowing virtual visitors to post their ideas for peace is forthcoming.
At the interview last year, the Haas Koshland award committee and I were discussing my plans for Israel when suddenly Frances Geballe turned and exclaimed: “I get it, Nili! You are going to bring peace to the Middle East!” She realized, before I did, that it is now up to my generation to realize the much-anticipated peace in Israel. I am grateful for the opportunity to devote a year to these pursuits and plan to continue this work.