Amidst the bloodshed and the terror are so many hidden gems in this Land of ours. It is such a breath of fresh air to get a glimpse of businesses that are booming, people who continue to work together through the conflict, and places where Israeli innovations are bursting onto the scene and making the world a better place.
This is the glimpse that we were privy to over Chanukah, when we used
one of our days to explore the Maaleh Adumim area with the help of Tour Adumim and guide Shelley Brinn. We arrived in the area in the morning, ready for a tour of three factories in the Mishur Adumim Industrial Park.
There are close to 350 businesses and factories in the industrial
zone. Some are Jewish owned factories – and some of them are Arab owned.
The entire area throws the Apartheid state accusations out the window
and demonstrates just how closely we are tied to each other, and how
capably we are able to make things work at times. Most of these
factories have Jews and Arabs working side by side.
This is where the SodaStream factory
was located prior to relocating to the Negev in the past year, due to
overwhelming BDS pressure, leaving hundreds of previously well paid
local Arabs jobless.
Those doing the yelling and pressuring are certainly not the ones
touring the factories and seeing with their own eyes how many financial
opportunities are in the area; and how vital Mishur Adumim is to the
economy in this part of the country.
We started at the Mamlechet HaHalva
factory where we learned about the process of making excellent artisan
tehina and halva. The highlight, of course, were the free samples of
about 8 different kinds of melt-in-your-mouth halva. We happily
purchased 4 different flavors to take home at the reduced factory
With our tasty purchases in hand, we made our way to a fascinating
tour of Aleinu, a company that is showing the world that it’s possible
to create an agricultural feast on the top of a tall building. With
their aeroponic facility, they are growing lettuce and spices in a
football-field-sized space…three stories in the air. In perfect Israeli
fashion, they are pushing the greenhouse envelope and showing the world
amazing innovations. They have managed to create a space that uses no
soil whatsoever and very little water, and yet their greenery is
blossoming and growing across over 4,000 square meters of this very
Finally, stop three was at a blow-your-mind guitar making factory.
Tal Macmull always loved music and he loved guitars. At the age of 16,
he spent a year building, from scratch, his first electric guitar. And a
love affair was born. Tal moved to the States for a bit to research the
market, and realized that there was a market (ready for this?) for
authentic 1950s guitars.
Apparently the guitars today are made with different types of wood,
glue and other materials than the ones from times-gone-by were. Any
trained musician can easily hear the difference in the instruments, and
they are willing to spend large sums of money to get that perfect sound.
So, Tal has made a very successful business, Macmull Guitars,
out of recreating vintage 1950s electric guitars. This means that he
searches the world for the wood from the 1950s (including going so far
as to buy a house in the States just to rip it down for its wood!), he
purchases machines that were used at that time for guitar creation and
he makes the dreams of skilled musicians come true.
Tal’s workspace is amazing and his passion is awe-inspiring.
To top it all off we had a delicious, incredibly reasonably priced
lunch at Hummus Adumim. The hummus was mouth-watering, the pita and
falafel balls were hot and the atmosphere had the perfect Israeli
We are an amazing people.
And our hidden gems surprise me every time that I stumble upon them or am shown the way.
(This blog was originally posted on the Israel Forever Foundation website. I'm posting it here for those who might not have seen it.)