Thursday, July 03, 2014

Holy City

Jerusalem is hot.....
Not just the temperature but the political climate as well. 
I have always been conflicted about visiting this part of the world.  Sometimes out of fear as well as concern over issues regarding social justice.  That said though in have more than curious so at the ripe old age of 63 I needed to experience it for myself. 

Trips are planned months in advance so when the flights were booked it was a time with relative calm. By the time we were ready to enter the country a kidnapping occurs and while there we learn the victims were murdered. While in Jerusalem the news hits that there was a revenge killing.  I see smoke rising in the hillsides. Dogs bark throughout the night. There are young soldiers carrying assault rifles wearing green uniforms in groups of five or six or all over the place.  I feel a sense of unease. 

Despite all this the population goes about their daily routine. Many are extremely friendly striking up helpful conversation all the time. Throughout my travels I have not encountered a more welcoming group of people. They invite you to their studio, their home, give you tastes of exotic fruits while walking in the village. Amazing. 
Grapes, apricots, pomegranate all grow in our yard.  Discussions with locals exchanging stories about heroes including Bob Marley,  Bob Dylan, Che Guevara and even The Allman Brothers.  More amazement. 

I once heard an interview with singer/songwriter Dar Williams who had a scheduled tour during Americas 9/11 crisis who said that traveling during times of great upheaval is difficult but tends to draw people together.  I know this to be true. 

Tomorrow we leave Jerusalem for the North of Israel where it will be cooler. 
   This is written while staying in a foggy, small Vineyard in Germany near the French Border. 

With the passing of time and place The Holy City continues to haunt the news as well as my personal psyche. 
As the sad reality of this conflict fans out through the diaspora. I listen to media reports of people taking it to taking it to the streets in major cities worldwide and I sense a fever spreading.  

This war and it's David & Goliath story has flipped the switch to make it okay to express hate against the Blue & white. Palestininian suffering has touched a nerve and perhaps as a result it seems to me that it may have spilled over creating a climate which allows expressions of blatant anti Semitic comments. Some signage at demonstrations already reflect that.  Physical altercations have even occurred at rallies and sporting events. 
Jewish stores in Paris have been attacked. 
While in Brussels I noticed that a local kosher bakery has police protection during its limited hours. 

What is the best way to react?   Hide my head in the proverbial sand, personally confront all racial attacks or to just ride it out hoping it will not will get any worse.   Are they any other choices?


jherz said...

Knowing you feel ill at ease is very disconcerting! Please be careful!

DAEPRO said...

Hi Judy & all
After I posted this I realized people would worry. I regret being that dramatic.
Its a strange dichotomy of worrisome news and people enjoying the day. Yesterday we walked for 4 hours around The Old City without incident, had a great dinner of salad, pizza and wine from the Golan Heights. Walked some more and came upon a group of 50 or so people sitting in a drum circle doing Aramaic chanting.
What people say is this period is just life in Israel and its the way it is. "We are used to it." That said I could never live here. Leaving here on the 9th.
We are fine.
Have a great 4th of July.