My Globe Israel Trip

My GLOBE trip to Israël -  Jelle Kabbes, geopraphy teacher at the Rembrandt College, assistent country coördinator, The Netherlands

What a remarkable journey this is. A journey where science, education en cultures meet.

I thought to travel to a country where people, cultures and religions constantly are in conflict. Of course this tension is very sensible in a the city of Jeruzalem. A city devided by both visible and invisible walls. A city where 18 year old boys walk around with automatic firearms while updating their Instagram. They’re barely adults. The city where the Jewish and Arabs cross eachother in the narrow alleys of the old city and avoid eye contact. The city where you can see the checkboard of world religions at the Temple Mountain.


That is one way to look at Israël.

But there is our Israëlian host Farid, the most charming, loud, extravagant, extrovert country coördinator. This Arab Israëli speeks, shouts and sings in 6 different languages, the language of a true builder of bridges. While enthousiastic guiding us through the city of Jaffa, he’s on the phone talking Jordanian Globe partners across the border. Gets us in the US Embassy Residence for a lovely dinner in the garden of the ambassador and brings an impressive number of ministry officials. But above all, he builds bridges between all sorts of communities, schools and students.


The glue to make people stick together? Globe.

Using Globe as a scientific, intercultural partnership between schools from all over the country.

From primitive schools from the Golan Heights near the border of Syria, to Arabic and Jewish schools all the way in the south of Israël. They all join and DO Globe. They’re all investigating weather, vegetation, water and soil. Share, compare their measurements and come in contact with other participants and learn from and about eachother. We saw teachers meet eachother, learn together, even dance with eachother, regardless etnic or religious background.

This is not the Israël we see in the news.

And so you end up at a school on the border of both Israël and Palestina. The wall separates the community, but the community is a national excample for mutual integration. The schoolprincipal showed us a painting made by students that marks the expeptional position they have in the country. The painting shows an olive tree and two groups devided by a wall. But on both sides the communities refuse to be separated and show strength to be a unity.

Farid once more managed to acompany our delegation with state officials and US Embassy representation at the school. And so there was a group of more then 20 nationalities clapping their hands to the loud music at this remarkable schools. It was great to see the pride and thankfullness of Globe director Tony Murphy at each single speech he gave. As an experienced GLOBEtrotter he seemed very impressed.  

Closing ceremoy


The official part of the GLOBE courses, workshops ended Thursday night with an official closing ceremony. For me this was the moment to honor Farid, which wasn’t easy because our world champion multitasking was busy talking all kinds of languages through his telephone. But seeing the Dutch delicatesse “Stroopwafels” convinced him to finally sit down and listen.

For years I teach about the subject of the Israëli and Palestina conflict. Every single year, the next question comes up:

“But sir, this conflict seems neverending, who is doing something about it?”

Farid is such a person! A person that knows how to connect people, students, schools, ambassadors and mayors. Together they present a community which you won’t often see in international media.

They are the people my students ask for.

I thanked him for his inspiration and actions. The bag of Dutch “Stroopwafels” are impossible to equal the importance of his accomplishments, but he was delighted. “I loooooooooove this”

Farid closed the ceremony a host of this event. He was serious about his goals for peace and understanding in his region. His final statement “You know me, I fix everything Jelle, I will fix this too, don’t worry”.

“I have a reeeeaaaallllly nice surprise, you will enjoy it, I am sure, you know me”.

On Friday we had our last day of the programm. The day started with a statement by Farid, which we heared throughout the whole week. “I have a reeeeaaaallllly nice surprise, you will enjoy it, I am sure, you know me”.

And so we followed Farid to Mount Carmel, North Israël and the Golan Heights to visit the Druze people. Surrounded by mystery and myths, this community lives spread out in different countries divided by changing borders. They stay in their villages of origin even after several regime changes. They serve the army of the changing regimes, sometimes resulting in the situation that they have to battle their one people on both sides. Their religion has 5 holy books, but no one can read them, exept for the Druiz people self. Overlooking the mountainranges of Syria, Lebanon and Jordania we ended up in the living room of a Druiz family serving a great variety of food. Another rare experience.




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Descending mountain roads we pass the dividing wall and arrive at the beach of Haifa. We put the GLOBE cloud- and hydrology protocol into practice with our feet in the Mediterrean Sea with a temperature of 26.2c….

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Just at the point my eyes closed the sun gave me a last wink, I hope to see him next week again when I’m back in The Netherlands, where it’s 8c…..

I’ll ask Farid to fix the same weather for us in The Netherlands as well….I guess that I already know his answer.

What I learned?

Globe is far more than attracting students to science. It is a true global community with common values which is connected by sustainability, environment and culture.

Israel is not only the conflict. Often the country and the media are being kidnapped by intolerant parties on both sides. Israël is a county where so many cultures live next to eachother. Often they play in the same footballteam, eat the same ingredients and dishes, talk on and on and on, love to make jokes, are very hospitable, and crazy about food, music and dancing.


My notebook is filled with contacts all over the world; Cyprus, Russia, Germany, France, Croatia, Israël, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, U.S.A. and so on……..


These are all GLOBE partners working in school looking for collaboration abroad. 

Would you like to collaborate with other Globe schools abroad, please search for Globe schools on the site or contact your country coördinator.

Hi Jelle, I like your story and the way you have presented it. I also like your description of the Globe " The glue to make people stick together"