Gaza and West Virginia Have More in Common Than You May Think



Credit Rick Wilson
Kids in Gaza

A deep love of their homeplace, resourcefulness, and deep faith – West Virginians and people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel share a lot.

Front Porch contributor Rick Wilson just returned from a visit to Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, and he says he’s struck by both the obvious differences and the similarities in culture.

“In West Virginia, we have space. We have green…We have this love of the open road,” Wilson said. “For a lot of people there, it’s borders and checkpoints. That feeling of being confined, it really struck me.”

The population of Gaza and West Virginia is roughly the same – 1.8 million people. But in Gaza, they live in just 140 sq. miles, compared to 24,000 sq. miles in West Virginia.

But hillbillies and Palestinians share one trait, Wilson said.

“A big word for Palestinians is ‘Steadfastness’  — this effort to try to hold onto the land and try not to be displaced.”

Wilson says Israelis are rightfully afraid for their security and there is no easy path to peace. He says it starts with more personal connections between people on both sides of the fence.


Credit Scott Finn
Rick literally extends the olive branch to Laurie.

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