Is Israel safe?
Although the army is much more active and visible in Israel, it gives a sense of safety that there are conscientious people around. Security and safety issues are of the utmost importance to the Israeli government and security organizations. While we are aware of and understand the threat from neighboring countries or from terrorist organizations, it is not a daily thought or danger to our well-being. The target is not a rural kibbutz and instead the attacks are directed against the Israeli people and specifically the military. We travel with our own transportation, and we mainly spend our time at historical sites and museums, which are not targeted. If there ever are heightened security alerts, we avoid the area in question.
Can I communicate with my friends and family in the States?
Yes! There are many ways our students can stay in touch with loved ones while they are in Israel. On the kibbutz, students will have access to WiFi and can stay connected whether it's through WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or any other phone/texting service. You can discuss your best options with your carrier to obtain an international plan or even consider purchasing an Israeli SIM card to put in your cell for your time in Israel. In addition, there is a phone available for student use in the main house, and the rate we have for calling the States is very inexpensive. Our kibbutz also has a mail room, so letters and packages can be sent directly here.
Will I be “adopted” by an Israeli family?
Every effort is made to help you find a family to be part of while you are in Israel. Additionally, building relationships with people on the kibbutz provides a natural way to bond and become involved with a family. We do provide opportunities early on to connect with people socially in large and small group settings, as well as in individual and more personal environments.
What is life like on a kibbutz?
This question is best answered by coming to experience life on a kibbutz for yourself! Although the kibbutz consists of a strong community environment, families live in individual homes (many with stunning views of the Sea of Galilee). The kibbutz is undergoing expansion with new home construction and many new, young families continue to join the kibbutz. Our kibbutz friends are laid back, relaxed and hospitable people who love visitors. Many open their homes to us and offer coffee, tea, and an assortment of fruit and cookies at any given moment.
On the kibbutz is a community grocery store, meat market, hair salon and cosmetic boutique. The entire kibbutz is enclosed by a security fence and gated entrance with a man on guard at nights. While the kibbutz experience is away from the rush of city life, located just a 5-minute drive away is the shopping center with a larger grocery store, coffee shops, home goods stores, arts and crafts, department stores, gift shops, diverse restaurants and a new music and arts center with unique cultural experiences.
What kind of work will I be doing?
First, remember the work you are doing is for the Lord! We are here to serve and love the kibbutzniks, not to have “cool” or “dignified” work. Work on the kibbutz varies based on seasonal needs. There is work maintaining the kibbutz (we call it “garden” work) all year round. Garden work includes hedge trimming, chain saw work, raking, week pulling and spraying, planting , sweeping, gutter cleaning, etc. Work in the banana fields has not been done in the last few years, but there is no saying when they may decide they need a little extra help. There is maintenance work from time to time that needs done but that is very sporadic. Students may be working mainly in the factory on the kibbutz which folds and put together small-scale medical kits, surgical gowns and packets. This work has been wonderful for building relationships on the kibbutz.
How difficult are the classes?
This is a tough question to answer and depends on each individual. BII’s hands-on approach allows you to experience what you are studying. You will join in holiday celebrations and meet people who lived the history you are learning. Hearing their personal stories will bring the facts learned in the classroom to life.
Yes, there are paved roads! There are even a few wildlife crossings as you travel in certain parts of the countryside and desert areas. Although the drivers here are a bit "enthusiastic." We have a group van and travel around the country to visit and study on very nicely paved roads.