Zochrot’s activity in the country’s space began with tours in Palestinian towns and villages destroyed by Israel during the Nakba. The idea is to study the history of these places, intervene in space by posting symbolic signs commemorating the erased village or neighborhood, contact Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons and collect their testimonies on the circumstances of their expulsion in 1948 and subsequent prevention of return.

Over the years, Zochrot’s perception of space has developed and expanded, and its activities have expanded accordingly. Our space is not only inhabited by memories and histories: it also inheres the potential of realizing the return and doing justice with the refugees. This has led to the development of a new sphere of activity in Zochrot, in addition to the tours and other activities to expose the crimes of the Nakba: the area of return, or more precisely, thinking about the practical aspects of return.

A Future of Return is a new project designed to raise and publicize the issue of the Palestinian refugees’ return to their home communities, and examine how participants in learning groups about the issue deal with it. The process will be videotaped in order to produce a final short film (15-20 minutes). This film will be screened for various groups and audiences.

The project will focus on four destroyed villages in the Beit Shemesh area: Dayr Aban (near Beit Shemesh and Moshav Mahseya), Zakkariyya (Moshav Zekharia), Beit Nattif (Kibbutz Netiv Ha-Lamed-Heh), and Bayt Jibrin (Kibbutz Beit Guvrin).

Zochrot will be working with a group of Israelis closely related to those villages and the area in general as settlers or former settlers, workers, researchers or those with a family or personal story about the place. At the same time, a Palestinian organization from Bethlehem will be working with a group of refugees whose families were uprooted from those villages in 1948.
The group process will include twelve weekly meetings: nine two-hour meetings in Zochrot and three tours to the village sites – four hours each.

The meetings will be held on Friday mornings. The first meeting will be held on October 13, 2017.

The nucleus of the group will be made up of Israeli settlers in that area, but we will also welcome Israeli participants from other places willing to grapple with the issue of return by joining the projects.

Israelis living in one of the project communities who are unable to participate in the group process but are willing to be interviewed are welcome to write us, and we will schedule an interview with them.

For registration and further information, please contact us at umar@zochrot.org
Last registration date: September 30, 2017