Some Surrounding Arab Villages
The following places are not within walking distance, but they are a short taxi ride away.
If you take a left out of the kibbutz entrance and keep on heading straight for about eight minutes, you’ll arrive at Baqa-Al-Gharbiyye. Baqa is the fourth largest Arab city in Israel. Baqa is known for its incredible sweets and its wedding dress shops. Arabs come from all over Israel to buy their wedding dresses in Baqa. Baqa has a lot of coffee shops (or Nargilah cafes) that you can go to (although girls should always ask permission before entering and won’t always be allowed in) and it is a great place to eat on Shabbat when all of the Jewish restaurants are closed.
Kfar Kara literally means “Pumpkin Village.” If you take a right out of the kibbutz entrance and then another right at the Karkur Junction, Kfar Kara will be the first city on your left. It is best known for having an extremely disproportionate number of doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and educated professionals. In Kfar Kara you’ll find an incredible Research Center as well as Jesar ala Wadi/Gesher ala Wadi (Bridge over the Wadi), which is a joint Jewish-Arab school (only one of five in all of Israel). If you are looking to get to or from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or other places in Israel, there are many buses that stop in front of Kfar Kara. Near the bus stop, in the entrance to Kfar Kara, is a fantastic vegetable and fruit market.
Ara and Ar’ara are the next villages after Kfar Kara and are across the street from one another. Ar’ara is the older village, and Ara was an extension built later across Highway 65. For many years they were considered to be separate villages even though all of the families are intermarried and live interspersed between the two “villages” across the road from each other. Finally, the two villages were merged (politically) into one village and are now run as a single entity.
Umm El Fahm
Umm El Fahm is the second biggest Arab city in Israel and the biggest Arab Muslim city in Israel (Nazareth is the largest Arab city, but has a large Christian population). Umm El Fahm is considered a city (not a village) because of its large population (somewhere between 50,000-60,000 people). Umm El Fahm is home to many Arab millionaires and has an incredibly diverse and booming economy within its walls. Umm El Fahm is located after Ara and Ar’ara on road 65 and is on the way from the kibbutz to Nazareth.
There are many other small villages in the area. You will get to know them throughout the program.