Saturday, July 6, 2013
Caliber 3 and the Old City
Yesterday, after a lovely pastry filled breakfast we headed out to the Gush Etzion which is a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. There, we visit the Caliber3 anti-terror training center. Calliber3 is one of 6 privately owned shooting ranges in Israel, but it is the only one that the government associates with and uses to train anti-terror personnel. Calliber3 trains anti-terror personnel, ranging from mall and school security personnel to body guards to elite anti-terror forces. We participated in a two hour course for tourists, where they taught us all about the work they do to help protect Israel and the Jewish people. We learned all about their specific weapons, their tactics, and their training mechanisms. Then, our instructor, Eitan, taught us some basic firearm skills. We practiced with wooden fake guns, and then had the opportunity to shoot a baretta .22 caliber pistol and a ruger sniper riffle. One at a time, we shot at targets with Eitan by our side instructing us. Liat shot 7/8 while Andrew shot 5/8. In the shooting competition with the other tourists, our group triumphed.
It was really interesting learning about the security measures that are being taken in Israel. Being in the West Bank was also a totally new experience for both of us, and we were surprised by the fact that our taxi rolled right through the checkpoint and there was no security checking anything. It was a weird feeling, and we both had very mixed emotions about it. The contrast with our experience at B'Tselem was prominent and at the forefront of our minds.
After this adventure filled morning, we went to Machene Yehuda, the shuk in Jerusalem. Machene Yehuda is basically two narrow roads filled with little booths selling spices, fruits, vegetables, pastries, cookies, and so much more. It's crazy on Friday afternoons, because everyone is coming out to prepare for Shabbat. Everything is so cheap and delicious!! We found ourselves buying more and more as we pushed our way through the street. It was so packed that at some points we couldn't even walk!
We went to the Kotel for the first time Friday afternoon where we ran into Molly, one of the young adults who will be coaching the fellows on their Tikkun Olam projects! Small world! Andrew got into some energetic dancing with a group of religious men, while I watched with the other women.
Today, we enjoyed our Shabbas sleep, and slept in late and had our delicious food that we had gotten at Machene Yehuda. We went back to the old city and explored on our own, and then took a free walking tour of the four quarters. This tour took us all over the old city, and we learned so much about the history. It was great! Can't wait to go back with the fellows!!
-Andrew and Liat