Alas, our last day in the intellectually fertile mindscape of the Arava Valley. We wrapped up interviews on Kibbutz Lotan with Mark Naveh, the mazkir (ie, kibbutz secretary), about the challenges of his evolving community, and Mike Kaplin, one of the brains behind the creative ecology centre. Afterwards, we walked down the stairs of a bomb shelter—and into a student seminar about peace and social justice.
We returned to Ketura, where I had one of those only-in-Israel conversations with a Palestinian student in the swimming pool of the kibbutz. He described his intellectual aspirations and the frustrations of growing up and trying to do business as a Palestinian in East Jerusalem.
Finally, we sat in on several student presentations about their research at the Institute before we had to hop into the car and drive across the Negev Desert, past tank-training facilities and down into the Ramon Crater (where we nearly ran out of gas) before finally pulling into Kibbutz Urim. We were both intellectually and physically drained. We had seen visions of different ways of living together in the desert and it will take days, probably longer, to make sense of all that we learned there.