“Differentiate the news from reality.”, Jerusalem, December 6th, 2010

It was Saturday morning 8am when I left the hostel and people were still coming out of clubs playing loud music. Tel Aviv really has energy and you can feel it. However to some extent also this city has to respect the Shabat (weekend of Jews) and so there were no Busses. Sherut, shared taxis (99% are Ford Transits) is the only way to move around. It got me to the old city of Jerusalem, close to my desired hostel. Arriving there I met Ryan who immediately asked me about my plans. 2 minutes later I was with him in a bus to Ramallah, the West Bank. Ryan felt better not going alone and as I felt the same it was great. We got proven right with the border situation not being tough but the change it provided being impressive. Behind that wall, yes the wall they built in 2005, was a whole different world. It was just like the rest of the middle east I experienced, loud, poor, crazy and filled with friendly people. Only here you could tell that there is constant tension and depression. People try to make a normal life but they just can’t being caged in like they are. After visiting the Arafat grave we took a taxi all the way to a village Ryan had a contact in. Its Bil’in and is famous for its continuous protest on the wall each Friday. The contact was a family organising the demo each week and paying a big price. One cousin dead, one uncle in prison and the guy we met spent 10 days in a coma as he got hit by a tear gas bullet. They showed us around but getting close to the wall made Israelis soldiers come towards us. We stopped provoking them on my wish. I got really touched (for the first of 3 times) seeing the land of his parents on the other side, now with Jewish houses on it. Also he told me about the random water supply and cut off his village is facing. It’s the world news in front of me. I pushed Ryan to be back at the border before sun set. The ride back is of course followed the same road with about 200 speed bumpers. People from the West Bank are not allowed into Israel territory, so they only move back and forth within this thin stretch of land. Leaving the country is only possible via Jordan. Crazy. At the border the check in much more intense going into Israel as they protect themselves from attacks. Again it was young, very young man and woman who checked in a rather arrogant style and made Palestinians wait for no obvious reason.

Then the other extreme, a 3 hour night walk into Jerusalem and to the Western Wall. Here I got touched the second time. I am just not sure if it was the holy place or the hundreds of dressed Jewish people and their way of praying that gave the Western Wall such a spiritual and for me also a bit scary touch.

The next morning I explored the area outside the old city before I went back into it and on to the temple mountain. That is a huge area reserved for the Muslims, Jews not allowed, and I have to admit that I can understand if some Israelis do not find that fair. They have the small Western Wall while the Muslims have this great area in the middle of the city, including the holy mountain. But fair and unfair goes both ways in this region. The grave church is another holy place. 6 different Christian directions find their holiest objects here and fight about it as well. People went crying, screaming, crawling on the floor, climbing small stairs, donating money, waiting in line to donate more, lighting candles, kissing stones and praying. Difficult for me to understand but the church rally is nice, special and a must see.

In the afternoon I got touched for the third time. I visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. Not too much to say to the killing of 6 million Jews, most of them women and children. I will do my share of presenting Germany in a better way and yes, we Germans will have to carry that burden for another 1000 year. Its good that way.

Let me summarize. Israel, a modern, western, not fitting island in the middle east but with every right to exist. To solve the evident issues will take almost impossible compromises from both sides. I emphasize on “almost”………………..    .

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  • thorsten says:

    wuensche viel spass in afrika, bin mal gespannt auf deine eindruecke, ob aehnlich positiv wie naher und mittlerer osten.

    wie gehts denn so ohne angie, bestimmt nicht einfach? Hast du meine andere Mail gesehen, habe ich in den alten blog eingetragen. schreib mal ne antwort.

    lg und alles gute aus nepal. thorsten

    • frank4444 says:

      Alter, du bist vom Erdboden verschwunden, hast Du meine mail bekommen???? Melde dich mal, ich bin bald in Uganda.
      Tschau FRANK

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