In the midst of the fall holiday season that includes Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur followed by Sukkot and the Muslim holiday of Eid – the site of blossoming trees throughout the Holy Land can’t help but remind us that the fall harvesting season is fast approaching. During the month of October, Palestinians and Israelis alike will begin harvesting their fields. The Holy Land is the home for some of the oldest olive trees, which are about 4,000 years old. For Palestinians, the olive tree is important for economic and symbolic reasons. The olive tree parallels to the Palestinian connection to their land. Olive trees are drought-resistant and can grow in poor soil conditions. Similarly, Palestinians are resilient and continue to survive and resist for their independence.
This is a popular time for people with different backgrounds coming together to harvest the olive trees. From my experience, some Palestinians are not allowed to harvest their olive tree fields because of the Israeli army or Jewish settlers. To assist these Palestinian farmers, internationals play an important role. There are dozens of organized opportunities to experience the olive harvest.
Since the olive harvest is approaching, an art exhibit focusing on olive trees recently opened and will be on display until December 13, 2014. The exhibit is located in the primarily Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahem and is called “The Benevolent Tree.”
The gallery is three stories with multiple rooms. According to the gallery’s description, the exhibition “is an attempt by 78 Israeli and Palestinian artists, to reinvigorate the broader discussion on the essence, importance and symbolism of the olive tree.” Continuing, the description says, “the sanctity of the olive tree has become intertwined with the sanctity of the land, to form a single entity symbolizing the difficult arguments and bloody conflict that have been going on for years on end.”
For more information about the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery click HERE.