Summer is in full swing and as it turns out, tent camps can be found not just in Tel Aviv.
The Ezra youth movement’s annual summer camp is taking place this year at the Kennedy Forest near Moshav Aminadav, southwest of Jerusalem. Thousands of campers are participating, sleeping in tents in the forest, enjoying good food and participating in a wide variety of activities.
“There are 1,000 boys here,” said Ezra director Benny Printz. “In two days, when the boys leave, over 1,300 girls will be arriving. This year the camp is centered on the subject of immigration under difficult conditions - both to experience what it feels like as well as to learn about this very special time period in the history of the Jewish people.”
According to Printz, the purpose of the camp, beyond giving the children a good time, is also to teach them about responsibility and about living on their own.
“A child lives at home where his parents take care of him and he’s used to that,” he said. “All of a sudden he goes outside the cocoon and he has to get along on his own. The showers, the bathroom, the food, sleeping not so comfortably. And it’s amazing to see what it brings out of the children and that’s why they have so much fun and love it so much.”
At a time when tents are such a hot issue across Israel, one cannot help but compare the unpretentious tents of the Ezra camp, a youth group known for its service to the community, to the protest tents in Tel Aviv. But as Shlomtzion Shachor, Ezra’s Kfar Ganim branch coordinator said, the real tents are in the youth camp.
“The real tents are here. This is where we truly settle the land of Israel,” she said. “We build tents for the fun and for the experience of it and to learn not to complain about anything, but also to have the actual experience of settling the land of Israel and touring the land of Israel.”
And what about the food?
“The food is excellent, healthy and nutritious,” said one camper. “There’s no such thing as a shortage of food. There’s an abundance of food, generosity.” Arutz Sheva will not vouch for the level of the cuisine on a gourmet scale, but the youngsters are full of smiles and no one is complaining.