Here in Israel, two months has almost passed and I am again caught in a bind; hesitant to make plans to leave, yet aware of the insanity of staying. Its hard to put my finger on what it is in the air here that makes me feel ‘at home’, It would be easy to say its the Jewish thing, after all, I am surrounded with remnants and reminders of my history and my culture. But I don’t feel an affinity with organised religion - so that isn’t it. Besides, there are about 150 Arab villages here, predominantly muslim but also christian, that line most roads here in Israel ,(not including any of the villages in the Palestinian Territories) and for sure I have never lived in such close proximity to large muslim communities before now! The feeling of home comes as much from the unknown as from the known. I am passionately interested in the history of the people and the land here… able to be active and involved in life as it plays out around me. Here I have a feeling of being welcomed, wanted and witnessed. I am part of a big family, a big web of people who care to connect, and create. Perhaps feel like my gifts can offer much to the people and the land, that I will be looked after and that I will never be alone. Perhaps this is what it means to be home - but I guess it’s so much more.
Since i arrived here two months ago I have spent time exploring friends, family, history and the personal and political perspectives of Jews and Arab Israelis/Palestinians. Even as I type the words the complexity of this issue shows itself… both through the reaction I feel rearing in YOU, my listeners - and my own learnings.. as I recount the diversity of perspectives I have come to hear within the words ‘Palestinian’ and ‘Arab’. From Mohammed of Hebron telling me that his people are Caananites and not Arabs, to my Arab Israeli friend, Rabea, saying they he does not identify as Palestinan, to my friend Hiba who identifies as Palestinian but who doe not have Palestinian citizenship because she was born in Jerusalem - one of the most contested places on Earth! As I wandered through the old city I met Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, who also do not eat pig, I saw many a robed men, with a few variations that revealed their religious affiliations, and amidst the religious structures, a flurry of tourists from all over the world, all colours, all races, united in either fascination or prayer and probably both. To say that this situation is complicated is an understatement - the more you know about the stories of this land, past and present - the more complex one realises it is. Here in Israel, the people diverge perspectives within their own supposed groups, and there is infinite variety of accounts, situations and realities that exist, live, thrive and suffer here, side by side. Yes there are patterns, and narratives and stories. Injustices lined up next to defiant courage and cross-cultural camaraderie. The only REAL certainly is that anyone who from the outside aligning with a side, is stupendously ignorant. From the inside, its impossible to judge. People have been through so much pain, so much injustice…. there is no right answer, but gentle reminders to recognise our own humanity when we look in the mirror, so we can see it reflected in the eyes of our neighbours.
As most of you know all my painting equipment was stolen a month ago and I have been fundraiser in preparation to replace everything when I know where I am staying.. I have recently repurchased the basics needed for Merges (hooray!) so I am now officially able to do that again - in case the need or want arises. Everything in Israel is twice as expensive so the value of my lost equipment is double what I thought it was… Such is life. Here is the link if you wish to donate, https://www.gofundme.com/supportorlyfayareplaceherkit you are welcome to and I thank you with all my heart - to everyone who donated already, gems! Love you very much. May blessings shower one and all.
In the meantime I have begun writing my book ‘Painting People into the World”, chapter one almost complete and it was cathartic and wonderful to write. I look forward to more quiet time in a little house somewhere somehow, to get this story out and into the world.
I am about to catch a bus to Tiberias where I will be picked up to go to my Vipassana course. It has been 7 years since I last sat in silence for 10 days and I am so ready for another round. May clarity, purpose and presence be met in the silent hours with myself.
See you on the other side!
Peace, Salam, Shalom
16 years world traveller, internationally recognised award winning body painter with a background in Anthropology, Orly delves deep into the enquiry of what it means to be a human being and ceaselessly expresses her art whilst following her heart. Nowadays, specialising in mimitism (camouflage), Orly's current expressions are a moving living creative and expansive entity that represents her passion for re-merging humanity with the earth from which we came, sustainable conscious living, healing the sacred feminine as we learn to respect our mother earth and advocacy for balancing commercial gain with global and local contributions.