Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 8:34 am | Fog/Mist 51º


Paul Burri: Observations After Our Recent Trip to Israel

My wife and I recently went on a 10-day trip to Israel. Well, not exactly 10 days. Since the trip involved about three days of grueling travel time, we really had only seven actual days in Israel. (The flight from Tel Aviv to New York City was 12½ hours, then after 1½ hours of wait time, another 5½ hours to LAX. Hard to take for our old bones.)

Of course, we saw the required 9,716 churches on the trip, and each one was more beautiful that the one before. We also saw or visited every known important biblical site on the list, including (but not limited to) the Temple Mount, The Dome of the Rock, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada (my favorite), Megiddo, Qumran (where the Dead Sea scrolls where discovered) and Jericho. Shall I go on?

And, of course, we have 27,502 pictures to prove it. (I’ll send you all 27,502 if you’re interested.)

But I was very interested in some other things on the trip — mainly from the point of view of a business person.

One of them was the just-slightly-below-the-surface resentment of all things Israeli from our Palestinian tour guide. Then there was my impression of the differences I saw between Israeli cities and territories and that of the Palestinian areas.

Years ago, my wife and I went on a European trip just a year after the wall came down between the East and the West. That was also on a tour bus, and whenever we crossed the east/west border it was like going from Technicolor to black and white. Everything on the western side was green, clean, freshly painted and colorful. On the eastern side, everything was dismal, broken, run down and in black and white.

I noticed pretty much the same differences between Palestinian and Israeli territories. (Territories may not be an exactly accurate term, but I use it for convenience.) On the Israeli side, things were modern, clean, and seemed efficient, in working order and “in Technicolor.” On the Palestinian side, there were piles of trash everywhere, everything seemed broken or in disrepair, buildings were incomplete or run down, people were aimlessly standing around on street corners, smoking and clearly out of work or with nothing to do, and everything seemed to be in black and white.

Palestinian family-owned shops were ubiquitous and all the same — a small shop selling tchotchkes or souvenirs with one man sitting out front on a plastic lawn chair smoking a cigarette. It is probably the same as it was hundreds of years ago, except for the plastic lawn chair.

Since our return, I have had a much greater interest in the Palestinian/Israeli situation and have been studying about it. I now have a pretty clear understanding about the 1967 war between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the present stalemate between the Israel and Palestine. I certainly don’t have any answers to the seemingly impossible situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but I don’t think either side is completely right.

I do believe that the Palestinians could learn a lot from the Israelis. Certainly they could when it comes to developing their country, their economy and their people.

P.S. Our flight from Tel Aviv left at midnight the night before the recent rocket attacks began from the Gaza Strip. Although I don’t think we would have been in any immediate danger, I don’t think our timing could have been better.

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer, guerrilla marketer and iconoclast. He is available to local organizations for speaking engagements and to local businesses for business consulting and/or mentoring. The opinions and comments in this column are his alone and do not reflect the opinions or policies of any outside organization. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous Paul Burri columns. Follow Paul Burri on Twitter: @BronxPaul.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.