I have found that integration has been surprisingly facilitated by the ease in which locals are eager to introduce themselves, to tell you their story, and to happily listen to yours. Whether you are at a cafe, a bus stop, a restuarant, or even in the occasion that you randomly stop to pet a fluffy cat at the University of Haifa, there is likely someone within close proximity readily available to chat. I have met more people in the short two weeks and a half that I have been here, than I have in a year back in Los Angeles and Arizona (where I go to school) . I am not implying that American culture is in any way closed off, what I am referring to is the increased openness in which everyone is readily available emotionally to exchange ideas, experiences, and contact details without a sense of increased malice and mistrust despite the ongoing conflict that exisits.
An atmosphere of community and solidarity from Israeli’s of all ethnicities can be felt throughout the country. As my Arab-Israeli professor mentioned when we started his class, “You are now part of Israel and are now therefore Israeli”. Although some people are attuned to the idea of what they can take back with them, I am willing to challenge that ideal by aiming to leave a permanent footprint of myself socially, emotionally, and intellectually.