My alarm clock has never been worked as hard as it is here in Tel Aviv. At 8.00 am Jules and I are waiting outside the hotel and within seconds are greeted by the smiling face of Lior Sabban driving the car towards us on this bright and sun shiny day. We are bound for the Sea Of Galilee. In the car with us is our trusty team of Russ Kendall and Brandon Christensen from Kaleidoscope Pictures in Provo. Russ and Brandon are technically here on other film business of their own, but have kindly donated their time and film making skills to help capture this mission for Love Hope Strength.
Russ Kendall has directed films and documentaries in Israel before and knows his way around somewhat, so today we are heading north to Mount Arbel near the town of Tiberius. We are going to get a feel for the kind of terrain we will cross if we decide to come here and hike the 62km Gospel Trail from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Jules and I, with help from Shlomio (and now Brandon and Russ), are trying to capture this initial experience on film so that we can convey the magnitude of the journey we hope to make in 2014. It has already been a life changing experience.
At Mt. Arbel, we hike a short distance to the summit and are greeted with a view of the entire Sea Of Galilee. Scholars of the Bible will know the import of this region and from our vantage point we can see in the distance, Mt. Beatitudes, famous as the supposed site of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. We film footage to introduce the Love Hope Strength movie that is currently in production at Kaleidoscope Pictures and also other clips to feature in the appeal footage that will be compiled once we have completed the initial mission to Israel.
From here we descend to Tiberius itself and as it is the Sabbath, not much is open, although we find a restaurant that caters some lunch for us. We are now on Kaleidoscope time and their mission is to capture the sunrise for a movie they are producing. We are driven to the far side of the Sea Of Galilee and high into the hillsides above. Lior knows his way and we soon find ourselves at an amazing vantage point that offers Russ and Brandon the perfect setting.
The cameras role and a time-lapse is being captured so we are all able to sit back and soak up the beauty of the sunset. Russ asks me about future projects and so I pull out my laptop and give him a premiere of a new / old Alarm video that has been cut to a remixed version of ‘Sixty Eight Guns’. It is good to see the original line up of the band in full flow and the lyrics from 30 years ago seem to reveal themselves in a new way, “and now they are trying to take my life away”, I had not thought of it before, but how relevant is that line considering everything Love Hope Strength is doing for people who’s life is under threat of being ‘taken away’. Food for thought indeed.
Night falls on the Holy Land and we are back in the car and bound for the Shuni Amphithater in Binyamina to see an amazing Israeli artist named Aviv Geffen. We arrive just as the opening act are closing their set and before long Aviv is on stage and rocking a crowd that must be some 5000 strong. The venue is an old Roman Amphitheater and it is something to hear rock and roll sung in Hebrew and in such a spectacular setting , especially by a man who I know can speak English (Aviv also sings in an English speaking band called Blackfield with Steven Wilson of the band Porcupine Tree).
Aviv is a striking rock star from the glam, art rock end of the music spectrum. The songs are very melodic and contemporary sounding. It is a great show and closes with a spectacular encore. Aviv departs the stage alone and as soon as the house lights come up the crowd dissipates into the night.
Soon after, I am summoned to the dressing room and Aviv and I finally meet. He is a very welcoming person and we talk about my experiences in Israel. Aviv expresses his desire to be a part of the LHS mission next year and from a man so committed to the peace process I could not have wished for more. We say our goodbyes and our troop head back to Tel Aviv. There is laughter and high spirits on the way back fuelled by so many future possibilities.
Mike Peters 2013