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  • Abel Bolink

A totally new experience- Europe Shnat with HaBonim Dror Olami

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

First of all, let me introduce myself.

My name is Abel Bolink, I am 18 years old and last year I graduated from Het Amsterdams Lyceum. I left two weeks ago to Israel for my gap year program. I'm going to a Masa-HaBonim Dror Olami Europe program for 9 months. I will spend the first period in the


I'm also going to do an army program, an Ulpan, and one leadership training course. Throughout most of the program, I will be accompanied by a number of fellow chanichim of HaBonim Dror Olami from the Netherlands and Germany.

Every month you will receive an update from me about my time in the promised land.

As you all probably know I had to, just like everyone else who traveled from the Netherlands to Israel, I spent the first two weeks in quarantine.

We stayed at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, me and my friends were

separated from each other. Alone in a hotel room for two weeks. That's how you learn something about yourself. I have mainly spent my time watching Netflix, sports, and reading some good books. I fully enjoyed the experience - the nice sea view and the room itself was quite pleasant. The entire hotel was colonized by the army. Our food, bedding, and even the

technical services were all done by soldiers. The food was the great downside of the whole story.

Food was scarce, wet, and, above all, monotonous. The peaches were harder than the apples and rice was greasier than butter. Luckily, my friend and I had rooms that were next to each other, which made it possible to see each other from our balcony while we were eating. After two days we knew with one skipping rope and a cardboard box to build construction with which we could send food to each other.

The two weeks passed extremely quickly. In addition, the feeling of finally being able to walk around freely was very liberating. After quarantine, we spent an afternoon on the beach in Tel Aviv and then continued to the kibbutz. The kibbutz is called Revivim and is located just south of Be’er Sheva (the Israeli “capital of the desert”).

The kibbutz is completely different from what I am used to. I sleep with two friends in a three-by-three meter room. With everything you see you get the urge to get an extra cloth over it. There are many dogs, cats, and other animals. In short, a completely different world. Not that that takes anything away from the fantastic experience.

In the coming month, we will be working on a fundraising campaign for an initiative of Keren Hayesod that takes care of less fortunate elderly people in shelters.

In addition, we will be busy with kibbutz work as well: fixing up bicycles, helping with the laundry, or picking olives.

I am really looking forward to the coming month. Until now I am having the time of my


In short, it is a totally new experience.

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