Michael Adler – American Friends of Ariel’s General Counsel – made his first trip to Israel in honor of Ariel’s 40th anniversary event. He spent his first day in Ariel visiting landmarks, meeting people and becoming familiar with community life. Here’s how he summed it up in his blog:
Tour of the city of Ariel in Samaria. Unbelievable lessons about Israelis and Palestinian Arabs actually working and studying at Ariel University together with dignity and respect, challenging every narrative and preconceived notion. Highlights of my morning include: Touring the Achva factory in the impressive and rapidly expanding Ariel Industrial Park (and tasting fresh warm rugelach and halvah right off the machines and speaking with Palestinian employees and managers), Ariel National Leadership Center (where groups from across Israel come to learn team-building skills), the Field Center for Entrepreneurship where we met with local Ariel business entrepreneurs and a group of investors and entrepreneurs from Belorussia and the Ariel Holocaust Museum and Heroism Memorial with some unbelievable artifacts and life stories being meticulously maintained by a curator and survivor.
In the afternoon, I was given a VIP tour of Ariel University, the 8th accredited university in Israel and home to 15,000 students, and a tour and tasting of the Ariel Wine Research lab, where wines from the hills of King David are being meticulously recreated from seed to production to bottle. Other highlights in Ariel during the afternoon included the Ariel Sports & Recreational Complex, the Ariel Performing Arts Center, views of independent Palestinian Arab villages surrounding the city followed by private meetings with Mayor Eli Shaviro of Ariel and dinner with board members of the Judea-Samaria Chamber of Commerce. In the evening, I attended the 40th Anniversary Celebration and concert, a fun carnival and concert by the City of Ariel to celebrate its founding forty years ago, highlighted by fireworks and the appearance of Israeli pop duo Static and Ben El. The concert celebrated the founding of the city in 1978, and is now with a thriving population of 20,000 residents.
Click here to view the photo album.