The drive from Afula in Israel south to Jalame in the West Bank takes only minutes, but these two towns are worlds apart. Afula is a relatively affluent suburb with ATMs, tree-lined streets and pleasant neighborhoods. Jalame is a town of degrading poverty, which is evident in the potholed roads (when they’re paved at all), storefront vegetable stands and shells of buildings—memorials to the wars that never end.
We know this drive well because it takes us through an Israeli checkpoint on our way to Zababdeh, the Palestinian village where we live. Zababdeh is one of a handful of villages in the Holy Land where a majority of the residents are Christian, and it’s the only such village in the northern West Bank. We have been teaching English and religion classes in the village’s Roman Catholic school.