Friday, 18 June 2010


Over the last couple of weeks I have been invited to visit the homes of some of the members of staff, and yesterday I went to Mughar, a Palestinian village which has a mixed population of Christian, Moslem and Druze. I had visited Ayman a few times, accompanying him to his church, but this time I visited Samir, one of the maintenance workers at the hotel. Samir is Druze, a Moslem sect with many members in Lebanon and Syria. The Druze are unusual for Moslems, in that they always support the state of Israel and participate in the army. However, like all Palestinians, there is a longing to visit relatives in Syria and Lebanon, many of whom they have never met, because there is no peace between these countries and Israel.

Samir lives in one of the nicest houses I have visited in Israel, beautifully decorated with antiques and with commanding views over the Galilee hills. Like many of the Arab houses, there were flags flying from the roof (in Samir’s case, an Argentinean one) – an indication of which team the family were supporting in the ‘Mondial’ (World Cup).

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Scots Festival

Every year in May there is a celebration of Scottish culture at the Hotel. This year it coincided with the departure of the General Manager, but the managers (departmental heads) are real professionals, and they pulled it off.

There was a superb closing concert, set in the hotel gardens overlooking the Lake and with wonderful music (admittedly Irish rather than Scottish), and other events such as a whisky seminar, a study of Macbeth through drama, opera and film and an evening of Scottish songs.

A Scottish chef (above) also appeared in a workshop, demonstrating how to cook Scotch Broth - not a patch on my mother’s! -and stovies, and then trifle (with jelly!).

Monday, 14 June 2010


The siren sounded throughout the country, and people immediately rushed to their shelters. It was an air-raid practice, and I was at my Hebrew conversation class. So the 8 of us trooped downstairs to the designated room and joined all the others from the educational centre. Fortunately it only lasted a few minutes, as the room was full of junk – the thought of spending any length of time there something not to dwell on.

The following morning, quite early, I heard the boom of thunder from the Golan Heights, but it wasn’t thunder: rather the army testing their big guns! Rumours of possible war were suddenly rife in my Hebrew group!

Then to cap it all, there was the incident of the flotilla of ships bringing aid to Gaza, which resulted in several deaths and the almost universal condemnation of Israel. At the Hotel there is a policy (official/ unofficial?) not to talk about politics, and the Arab staff members were reluctant to talk about the incident, apart from in private, whilst the reaction of the Jewish members of staff varied considerably. ‘Why does everyone in the world hate us?’, one of the younger members asked me.