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A Land of Milk and Honey / working title

BeeTime visit to Israel/Palestine

during the first two weeks in November will include visits to projects and meetings with people involved with natural beekeeping. Inspired by the honeybee, we will seek stories of collaboration and co-existence, of the possibility for peace as lived by people connected to the landscape and active in the social realm.

The visits will be documented and the stories edited to a short film (working title: A Land of Milk and Honey). Our tour will culminate in an Urban and Natural Beekeeping Conference at Tel Aviv University (@Porter / Environmental Studies Department, Tel Aviv University) on 14th November 2019.

The first Conference took place in January 2019, where many beekeepers and bee lovers came together to be inspired about innovative bee husbandry initiatives. Invited to take part this year, we will join this one day encounter sharing together with local and international bee activists as Heidi Herrman, trustee of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, UK among others.

We, BeeTime are an artist based research project from Spain, exploring what we call the Time of the Bee, that quality that works quietly within the artificial gaps humanity has created between culture, nature and spirit. We live in an era in which we need to learn to implement regenerative practices within agriculture, animal husbandry, land development as well as cross cultural collaborations. Our future survival as a species depends on it, and nature can teach us many lessons in how to go about this.

We are currently raising funds for this journey, which will allow us to expand our enquiry into the question ‘what can we learn about the Land of Milk and Honey that the old testament speaks about?’ And, ‘Will we find a story of regeneration and hope propelled by a common love for the earth, in this war torn land?’

We will need to cover our travel and daily expenses once in Israel, as well as editing and post production work. Thank you for generously helping us bring this story to life by donating HERE and spreading the word.

Here we share a preliminary programme of people and places we wish to visit. We are in contact with several local artists who will hopefully also take part in this enquiry.

This journey is woven together with:

Yossi Aud / Bees for Peace

Yossi initiated “Bees for peace” in order to join hearts and create cooperation between Christians, Muslims and Jews, Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians. The initiative helps build bridges through the bio-dynamic beekeeping method in multiple constellations – amongst kids in schools, through courses and activities for adults coming from different sectors and cultures and in diverse joint initiatives. The project emphasizes empowerment of women from “traditional houses” (whether Muslim, Ultra-religious Jewish or other disempowered populations), who usually don’t go out to work.

Yossi has initiated a variety of projects in urban settings, with adults and children as well as initiating a nation-wide network for swarm collection called Magen Dvorim Adom (S.O.S.bees).

 Bees and Kids Is a Simple Love Story; an educational program by Yossi Aud
Bees and Kids Is a Simple Love Story; an educational program by Yossi Aud

We will begin our enquiry in the Beit Shean Valley, visiting the

Tel Rehov Archeological Site

which is the earliest apiary to be revealed to date in an archaeological excavation anywhere in the ancient Near East and dates from the 10th to early 9th centuries B.C.E. We are interested in tracing a thread that links beekeeping in the Mediterranean from antiquity to the present and exploring the relationships people have had with this land through the honeybees.

The term “honey” appears 55 times in the Bible, 16 of which as part of the image of Israel as “the land of milk and honey”. It is commonly believed that the term refers to honey produced from fruits such as dates and figs. Bees’ honey, on the other hand, is mentioned explicitly only twice, both related to wild bees. The first instance is how Samson culled bees’ honey from inside the corpse of the lion in the Soreq Valley (Judges 14: 8-9). The second case is the story of Jonathan, King Saul’s son, who dipped his hand into a honeycomb during the battle of Mikhmash (Samuel I 14:27).

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “First Beehives In Ancient Near East Discovered.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2007.

Yossi Aud and Tarek Nasser

and their project Healing Jerusalem with the bees in the natural way. Together we will visit local hives in homes of East Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhoods, graduates of the training course for women, titled: Beehives in East Jerusalem / Sustainable Initiatives in Jerusalem.

Muslala, Jerusalem

Muslala is social centre in Jerusalem, that brings together artists, social activists, and residents of Jerusalem’s city center. Most of the action takes place in the public sphere with the desire to create a new model that combines artistic action with a social affinity that takes place and affects the local urban space and even beyond.

Muslala rooftop is home to Jerusalem’s Urban Beekeeping and is a unique meeting place for amateur beekeepers from the diverse ethnic groups living in the city. A true human ‘beehive’ comes to life around its varied activities with the city’s diverse public from religious and laic backgrounds.

Muslala social centre in Jerusalem
Muslala social centre in Jerusalem

Heading to the Galilee, we will meet with

Alla project Nazareth

and meet with graduates of the biodynamic beekeeping course – Arabic women from Jenin and Jewish women from the Galilee. We will also head to Mizpe Harashim and Peki-in, and meet with beekeepers in the Upper Galilee.

As part of an enquiry into honeybees and honey in the Islamic religion, we will meet with activists from Jerusalem who are active in the above mentioned projects.

Islamic beliefs, traditions and values have provided effective and comprehensive solutions to meet many of the current environmental challenges facing humankind. Islam has emphasized the importance of preserving the environment and protecting natural resources. According to the teachings of Islamic Sharia, the essential elements of nature – land, water, fire, forests and light – belong to all living beings and not only for the human race.

The Holy Quran and the honorable prophetic year serve as a beacon in promoting the concept of sustainable development in Muslim countries, as well as all over the world. Allah swt ordered humans to avoid harming and destroying natural resources that would destroy and deteriorate the environment. Allah has distinguished the human race by exploiting natural resources and making it as a guardian. This is under the guarantee of the right to use all resources and not to be harmed and destroyed.
Text from Sustainable Initiatives in Jerusalem / مبادرات الإستدامة في القدس

We wish to project Toni Serra/Abu Ali’s film In the Path of the Bees, sharing a closer, artisanal and magical relationship with bees as lived by beekeepers in Morocco. This is a film we presented at our Learning From The Bees Exhibition in Holland last year. The story speaks about Islamic views on bees and nature that we feel will resonate with all who take part in this journey of sustainable bee husbandry.

The Honey Path Project / Neve Shalom

The Honey Path project aims to promote the creation of symmetric relationships between Arabs and Jews from a young age. It’s taking place in Oasis of Peace, a village that is inhabited by Jews and Arabs, who volanterally live together and promote mutual life. Near the village, an apiary was set up, where the elementary bilingual school students visit it and learn about the harmonic and unique social life of the honeybees, and reflect their behaviour into their own community.

Talmei Ahva

Talmei Ahva agricultural farm in Lod is a community education center that combines agricultural, environmental and social education, emphasizing the interconnection with the environment. The multicultural value is integrated and interwoven in the unique farm curriculum and diverse communities that live in the area. The children have been taught biodybnamic beekeeping and have set up an apiary there.

Sustainable Beekeeping Association

The association is home to bee lovers and beekeepers from all natural breeding approach dedicated to learning and teaching, researching and supporting natural, local bee.
They work to protect the honeybees, promote educational programs relating to sustainable beekeeping practices and to preserving and restoring natural habitat in country. We are interested in meeting with the people who bring to life this impulse in Israel and talk to them about what fires their passion for this work.

'Have you ever heard about multi-story skeps? Apparently they where in use in the past. This is from a book written by the brother of Carl Linnaeus (Physician, Naturalist And beekeeper!) ' - Sustainable Beekeeping Association Israel
‘Have you ever heard about multi-story skeps? Apparently they where in use in the past. This is from a book written by the brother of Carl Linnaeus (Physician, Naturalist And beekeeper!) ‘ – Sustainable Beekeeping Association Israel

Mor Kadishzon

Mor lives and works in Mizpe Harashim in the Galilee. She has recently translated The Life of The Bee, by Maurice Maeterlinck to Hebrew. She has been investigating the world of the bees in various domains – literature, arts, naturalistic and ancient studies as well as in the practical fields, and is happy to share with us her unique perspectives on honeybees.

Ronit Bar Ilan

We will spend time with Ronit observing hives and talking to people, observing the relationship between Bee and Human being, through her skills as a focusing facilitator. FOCUSING is an innovative practice developed by Eugene Gendlin whereby one can learn to direct their attention toward things they experience that are difficult to describe in a concrete way and gain awareness into their bodily felt sense. Ronit’s artistic project – NECTAR OF THINGS brings her close to the theme of the bees. She collects echoes of the collective consciousness in the form of lines of texts, sequences of words she chooses carefully from newspapers and written texts. Each line encrypts, implies, flips, flutters. She cuts them all by hand, paying attention to the feeling, and relates the work to the search for nectar by the bees.

In his article The Holy Grail of Restoration John Liu writes about a regenerative project in the Sinai desert (Lake Bardawil). He quotes scientific evidence that shows that this land was once abundant in water and vegetation.

As one looks closely, one begins to see how the Sinai de-vegetation over time led to dehydration of the biome and attendant higher surface temperatures that caused an inversion in wind direction. These extremely high temperatures caused by human beings de-vegetating this specific region reversed the wind, which began to pull moisture-laden air to the south. If you play a scenario forward from 7000 years ago of a vacuum pulling moist air out of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, the end result is exactly what we have right now…..We are forced to contemplate why the areas that were once known as “the Fertile Crescent,” “the land of milk and honey,” and “the Garden of Eden” have become war-torn deserts.

‘The Holy Grail of Restoration’ – an article by John D. Liu, published in the magazine ‘Kosmos Quarterly’ Summer 2019


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