We thought it would be cool to
film in an old olive grove in the Galilee. The gnarled trunks and endless
rows of trees took us back in time. It was only when we met Moussa that we
realized just how far back in time the olives had taken us.
Moussa (Arabic for Moses) noticed our activity in his olive grove. He
greeted us without a trace of suspicion, and asked about our identity and
subject matter. When we explained our fascination with his ancient trees he
said "You haven't seen anything yet. Come with me." Chaim and I
followed the 70-something Arab Israeli, who was clearly comfortable with
the Hebrew language and with us as Jewish Israelis.
Author with Moussa
He unlocked a tall sliding metal door, revealing a sizeable warehouse,
adjacent to the road and to the vast olive grove. "This is just a hobby,"
Moussa explained with a smile, proceeding to introduce us to an impressive
array of sophisticated machines designed to extract oil from olives.
Frankly, I felt like a little kid being shown for the first time how an
airplane works. There were mounds of "olive cakes," the dried dregs from
decades of olives being turned into rich oil. On the far wall, our host
pointed up toward the ceiling. To our astonishment four huge earthenware
containers were displayed, having long been retired from use.
"These vessels represent generation after generation of my family
harvesting and processing olives," Moussa pointed out, with warm,
unboastful pride. We stared, trying to absorb the implications of what we
were seeing. Here was the peaceful caretaker of olive trees with a history
stretching back many centuries. Moussa pointed out that the name of his
town, Rama, is similar to the Judean village Ramot referred
to in I Samuel 8:4. This remarkably friendly man, as if grown from the very
soil of his olive grove, was reaching out to us - enabling us to
share in a history, geography, and agriculture that are all essential to
our own heritage.
If ever one doubted the possibility of Jews and Arabs living in harmony,
sharing a heritage that stretches back centuries and centuries, our time
with Moussa dispelled such skepticism. I'm not saying that all of our
Arab cousins are like Moussa. Nor am I negating the covenantal promises to
the descendants of Jacob. But the Scriptures are also clear that we are to
treat with respect the "ger" - the non-Jewish dweller in our land. "The
stranger (ger) who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you,
and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of
Egypt: I am the LORD your God" (Leviticus 19:34).
I'm looking forward to visiting Moussa again. In a heart-warming way
he connected me at a deeper level with this unique land and its people.
to the work of Ohalei Rachamim.
Let us know what you think - why not comment to this
The authors of these articles are often involved
in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most
comments. As is normal with print and online magazines,
Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we
feel are edifying in tone and content.
20:16 03May17 Diana Rumboll -
Delighted to know these wonderful story tellers, the olives can
bring hearts together, as witnesses of the Scripture's
richness, teaching us something fresh each day.
22:19 03May17 Paul -
There is some research that you might want to look into: Olive
trees get pruned ... the branches are layed on the ground around
that olive tree,... wild olive branches are grafted in ... after
3 1/2 years you drill a hole next to or near the wild branches
that were grafted in and graft The Original branches back in ...
this provokes them to produce more fruits because they are
jealous of the wild branches.
02:05 04May17 Jens Kaldewey -
A wonderful story, it drove tears into my eyes. I don't know
why. There was a Sense of also being connected with the new and
the old Israel, a strong moving feeling. This I am writing as a
17:07 06May17 Ameria Heldt -
I find this article interesting and helpful when praying for the
nation of Israel, the land, and its people.