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article imagePhoto Essay: Chemical weapons and war threats? Israelis live on Special

By Lesley Lanir     Sep 8, 2013 in World
Haifa - With the threat of war looming, how are some Israelis spending their leisure time and what are they thinking? A visit to an event at Tulip winery in Northern Israel shows that life in Israel carries on in the ‘waiting room’ and shadow of war.
Tulip, a boutique winery in Israel, was opened in 2003 and is owned by the Yitzhaki family. Tulip sells around 100,000 bottles of wine in Israel and around the world. The winery is located close to Haifa in a small village called Kfar Tikva - "Village of Hope."
Kfar Tikva is a community settlement for people with special needs. The village's aim is to provide a place to help the disabled community develop and to provide employment in activities, jobs and opportunities that will help people with special needs reach their own potentials. Needless to say, a number of the Kfar Tikvah members work at the winery. One of their projects “Do not label" was initiated from the belief that you can label wine but not people.
Although Tulip winery is in Israel, it is situated only about two hours drive away from the conflict and massacres in Damascus. Despite the feelings of upheaval all around, Tulip went ahead with its 10th anniversary celebrations and upgraded its annual wine-tasting event into a full-blown party.
Tulip Winery  Israel 10th anniversary event.
Tulip Winery, Israel 10th anniversary event.
A packed venue with guests sipping away at selected wines, nibbling treats and dancing showed that the Yitzachi family, who followed their dream in opening this winery, and the guests were not thinking of putting their lives on hold whilst the big guys were deliberating whether to bomb Israel's troubled neighbour, Syria.
Tulip winery gave an open invitation to the event to whoever was available to come from all over Israel and those who joined in not only sipped a wide selection of Tulip's reds and whites but also danced the night away to hours of Jazz and Brazilian music played by the Bossa Trio.
Giba Perelman  Bossa Trio at Tulip winery  Israel.
Giba Perelman, Bossa Trio at Tulip winery, Israel.
Bossa Trio  Latin Brazilian music.
Bossa Trio, Latin Brazilian music.
Juares dos Santos (drums  percussion and vocal) at Tulip winery.
Juares dos Santos (drums, percussion and vocal) at Tulip winery.
The three band members also seemed to have few worries about the fact that war may be around the corner.
Excerpts from chats with guests at the event:
“Afraid and concerned? We are Israelis. We are threatened all the time with something. If we are not being threatened, we are being blamed. Sometimes we are blamed and threatened at the same time. We get used to it. We live under a permanent feeling that one day there will be a war or some kind of conflict. So, no, only the usual worries and concerns and for us life carries on until something starts; then we decide how is the best way to change our routine.”
Choosing wine at Tulip winery  Kfar Tikvah  Israel.
Choosing wine at Tulip winery, Kfar Tikvah, Israel.
“The situation in Syria? Yes, it’s tragic and worrying, there are wounded Syrians in our hospitals in the north and millions of refugees in Jordan and Turkey but no one knows yet where the truth lies; so, we carry on until there is a change that definitely affects our daily lives.”
“Why did I come here tonight? Why not? I work hard all week. Why shouldn’t I taste great wine, dance and and go out and enjoy myself at the weekend? What do you think - that I’m going to sit at home and wait for the air raid sirens to start with my gas mask by my side?”
“Do I have a gas mask? Do I have it with me? That is a joke right? We are in the Village of Hope and we have hope.”
More about Israel, Chemical weapons, syrian conflict, Tulip winery, Wine
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