Tamar Asraf
Tamar Asraf Tamar is married to Eyal and mother of five children. She lives in Eli. Tamar is the spokesperson for the Binyamin Regional Council. Wednesday 11.3.15 No comments 2468 views

Thelma and Louise

With election frenzy in the air and everyone running, whether for Knesset or far away from it, I decided to make some choices of my own.

Confession: my life moves at a dizzying pace. I try to juggle between my home and my work and my work and my home. I don’t do this very successfully because my work and projects accompany me almost 24/7, they stay on my mind everywhere I go, all the time. It’s a situation which leaves me without a moment of rest. I admit, I love it, and when I write “it” I mean both the pace and the content. But there are sometimes moments when I feel that’s it’s ENOUGH, I’m overloaded and mentally crowded. Worst of all, I feel stuck – the wellsprings are dry and I need to connect myself to an oxygen tank. I urgently need a little freedom and space; otherwise, my ability to be creative and think straight disappears, and without them, everything malfunctions. The few vacation days I am eligible to take over the course of the year, in addition to the many vacation days that the children receive, and the gap between the two, don’t really enable me to take a day off so easily, definitely not as frequently as I need one. Add to that the fact that I am a mother, leaving the house for a few days becomes a major project. In short, my dreams of a vacation transform into the reality of more work, more running, and this need is suppressed until it simply explodes.

When the last explosion happened, I decided not to give up. This was an opportunity to go for it, big time (big time is relative, of course). I invited my good friend Tzofiya (fictitious name, full name kept confidential), we put on our sunglasses, packed a small suitcase (and a ton of backpacks), got into the car and had a Thelma and Louise style vacation, in the metaphorical sense of course. Windows open, music blasting, we’re driving northward without plans (well, almost), totally spontaneous, going with the flow. Just the thought that I – Tamar Asraf, who always works according to timetables and meticulous plans – was simply getting up and driving into the unknown, already released some of my bubbling steam. The entire way, and even a few hours beforehand, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. “I’m simply driving away!” It was always something that only happened to other people, not to me. Here I was doing it, without very much prior planning, taking a two day break from the madness, and charging forward. We got into the car and for a moment, I felt all of the heavy weight that sits on my shoulders being thrown off. This despite the fact that I ranted the entire drive to Tzofiya (fictitious name) about the new debate regarding the “religionization” of the IDF and the related studies on the topic which remind me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I also made a few calls on the matter and tried to advance another article or two, but I still felt free, ranting and happy.

We travelled in the direction of the Jordan Valley. Near a relatively new community called Rotem, we recalled that there was a lovely café, so we drove in. We were welcomed by the breathtaking landscape of the desert, the silence, the café’s sweet, simple design and excellent food. We continued northward on the Jordan Valley highway and at Tzemach Junction, realized that what we were missing was a good massage. We headed for a spa in a town called Natur and told the owner on the phone that she simply had to give us a massage!

When she asked what time to expect us, we told her that we were already at the entrance of the town. To our surprise, she was willing to be spontaneous and give us pampering massages. We continued on from there to Kibbutz Merom Golan to stay at a gorgeous zimmer, because if we’re on vacation – then we’ve got to do it in style. We made our way there through thick fog and in “splendid isolation,” which kind of reminded me of the roads here in Samaria, except for that the fear of rocks/Molotov cocktails/shooting was missing.

I thought to myself that the silence and the distance, coupled with the feeling that there was no tension in the air, was exactly what I had been looking for. The next day, early in the morning, we went out to make an old dream of mine come true – to pick apples. To energetically work the land without Leftists and without settlers, without the media and without clichés, just silence and intensive physical labor. We reached the orchards of Kibbutz Ein Zivan, where we were paired with two charming young men from the kibbutz who gave us a brief training session, and then we were off to work.

Two not-so-young settlers (sorry, Tzofiya, I hope you aren’t offended) and two young kibbutz boys, picking together and having deep and meaningful conversations about children, family and life in the Golan. We realized that picking apples for an hour or two is fun, but doing it all day every day is another story, and that you need a lot of willpower to finish the row. I felt intoxicated, happy in an inexplicable way, in love with the trees, the dirt, the apples and the amazing landscape of the Golan Heights. I felt that I wanted to be part of this place, that it would be so comfortable and fun to be a Moshavnik[1] from the Heights and not a “settler,” with all the baggage that comes with the title. I thought to myself, what would it be like to move to a secular kibbutz? Would they agree to accept us? How would it affect our lives? Was it even possible? How simple it seemed from inside the apple orchard, to live like this, secular alongside religious. An infinite number of emotions and thoughts arose and filled my head while we filled more and more containers with hundreds of red, sweet apples.

I didn’t want to go, I felt that I hadn’t had enough, that I wanted more and more of this magic. On the way back (what can you do, you have to go back to reality), I wondered how I could find these feelings within my hectic lifestyle as well, and how I could avoid settling for waiting an entire year until the next vacation. How could I find a place in my life for the Golan, and was I brave enough to make the change? Was I even capable of leaving the mountains of Binyamin that I love so much? How necessary is it for us to continue living specifically here? I don’t have answers, I confess – that’s also part of the idea of being Thelma and Louise, the courage to think and imagine spontaneous changes in life.

Quickly enough, we went back to being Tzofiya (fictitious name) and Tamar, but the piles of apples that we brought back with us, including this one that I am munching on now as I write, bring me back for a moment to that wonderful feeling of freedom.

[1] A person who lives on a Moshav – a cooperative agricultural community.


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