“You watch a film showing jeeps in the desert, and you know you’ve done the same thing.”

Participants from the German-Israeli youth encounter mail@more.


mail@more is a joint project between the education funding body “Jugendinitiative Spiegelbild”, the Heinrich-von-Kleist school/IGS Rheingauviertel and the Neve Hanna children’s home in Kiryat Gat, Israel. As part of a weekly elective course, the adolescents from Wiesbaden are carefully prepared for the German-Israeli youth encounter. The concept for this trip, for which participants receive extensive educational support, was developed in close collaboration between Spiegelbild and the other partners.

In the spring, the adolescents fly to Israel and spend the first few days in the desert with Israeli children. They sleep outside under the stars or in tents, experience the severe temperature fluctuations between day and night, and prepare their own meals.

After that, the group explores the country. The adolescents get to know each other face to face. The German visitors gain a different view of the country, people and conflicts, which they had heard about before in the media. This enables them to form their own opinion about these things.

The scenes when they say goodbye are an indication of just how much the group has grown together in the last eleven days. The excitement over the reunion in Germany just two months later is all the greater. When the Israeli children come to visit, it’s an opportunity for the adolescents from Wiesbaden to show their guests the place where they live.

“For me, cooking my own meals was a new experience. That was also my first contact with the Israeli kids, and it brought us together.”