Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

In the north of the country, a tug-of-war pits the population of a kibbutz located on the banks of the Asi river against a handful of activists who claim the right to enjoy the beaches along the river. A battle that reflects the divisions that undermine Israel.

A couple of religious, ultra-Orthodox Jews picnic by the Asi River in northern Israel: he in his bathing suit, shorts and blue plastic tattoos; she in her customary wig and long black skirt, but without stockings. She allows herself this freedom on this June morning, on a narrow, dusty beach, while a hothouse heat rises from the Jordan Valley.

Below, athletic young people stroll across the lawns of the waterside kibbutz Nir David. The inhabitants of this former collectivist village have private access to a kilometer of river on their own land. A privilege which, in this remote and impoverished region, arouses protests.

The 800 kibbutzniks (residents) of Nir David grant their neighbors access to the northern fringe of their village, which the latter consider humiliating: a barbed-wire corridor next to a paying sports complex. They have to show their credentials to a guard, who closes the beach in the evenings and during the weekly Sabbath break.

By admin