Touring the Israeli Occupation: Young U.S. Jews Get an Unflinching View

Outside, Ms. Ofran told of violence including the massacre of 67 Jews in Hebron in 1929, and of 29 Muslims gunned down by a settler as they prayed in 1994, which ushered in a period of Arab suicide bombings.

She was leading the group on a thousand-yard tour along what were once some of Hebron’s main market streets, until Palestinians were forbidden to use them, even to get to their front doors. Today they are a graveyard of abandoned storefronts and apartments, as well as some homes where Ms. Ofran said settlers had moved in illegally after the Arab owners, demoralized by restrictions and harassment, had fled.

“People aren’t kicked out,” she said of the Palestinians who had left. “It’s unbearable to live here.”

At a last checkpoint, Arabs crossed into the Israeli-controlled section, where soldiers protect 800 settlers from the city of 200,000 Palestinians beyond the gate. Pointing up a steep street to an Arab neighborhood, Ms. Ofran said cooking gas could not be delivered there by truck; people had to carry the tanks on their backs.

The only Palestinian vehicle allowed in, she said, was a garbage truck.

“This is all really sad,” said Liyah Foye, 19, a senior at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.

Ms. Foye, who as a black Jew said she had experienced more than her share of bigotry, said she was hit hard by the idea that a “state founded to protect one marginalized group” was oppressing another.

She said she had always loved Israel and seen it as a “beacon of light.” But what she saw on Sunday overwhelmed her: “My joy and my light shouldn’t be coming from someone else’s darkness,” she said.

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