After the farm, we made our way to Sderot to meet our new Israeli friends and eat lunch. Situated less than a mile from Gaza, Sderot (שדרות) is a small town that has been a target of rocket attacks by Hamas. While in the town, a member of the local government talked to us about the rockets, at one point explaining that about 8000 rockets landed in the city between 2001-2008. That’s an average of over 3 a day, and includes 75 that landed in the city in just one afternoon. But we were there to pick up the Israelis who would join us for the next 4 days.
Our group 8 people larger, we made our way to Tel Aviv. Our first stop was Hacarmel Market (דוק הכרמל), the largest market in Tel Aviv. We made it to Israel’s Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence (הכרזת העצמאות, Hakhrazat HaAtzma’ut) was signed. Our host gave us an incredibly emotional recounting of the day Israel was created, which concluding with the playing of Hatikvah, the national anthem.
After a quick musical history lesson at the hotel, we made our way to a bar for the night out.