Today was shabbat. The sabbath. I knew that Jewish people would not open their shops… but I kinda didn’t figure that everyone else would slack off too! So there was almost absolutely nothing to do.
So I caught up on my sleep. Yum. My window in the dorm looks out over the square and cars come and go until about 3am… and then begin again at about 6am. 4 hours of kip this arvo was excellent.
I wanted to go *that* way to much needed food, but He led me *this* way to food.
Just as I was about to head out, I found a bunch of abandoned food in the hostel. Some kibbutzim (people who work on a kibbutz) left salami, pita bread an hummous. They have a collective mentality and donating food comes naturally to them. YUM! I ate my full because today I had NO money in my pocket and in the morning I had only eaten stale bread from someone’s leftovers. As I ate the yummy pita bread wih hummous and salami in it, I wondered why I was eating… the sabbath should be over now and I was spoiling my appetite… wasn’t I? I set out feeling well fed.
I headed out expecting the sabbath to be over at 4pm (it started yesterday at 4pm… so that’s 24 hours). My calves were a bit sore after all the valley (and other) walking of the last three days… it felt lovely to be walking in the heat again!
However, almost everything was STILL closed. It turns out, the sabbath only ends at 8:05pm! Gah. There would *not* have been any food! I cruised around thanking God that I did have some food – because I would have been SO upset, not having eaten much that day.
I eventually found a place to sit… and so I sat. Doing nothing wih no one. Bored. Eventually I think I heard God say “you could pray for the place?” so I did. I love praying because it really works and makes a difference to people’s lives. So aftr that I sat again. And then ideas for my business came to mind and a REALLY COOL internet-bible-software idea came to mind too… which I will try and get built in the next 6-12 months. A really rocking idea for everyone! A brand new idea.
And eventually this internet cafe opened and I wrote some posts that had been burning on my heart for those hours. hehehe.
I came to Israel about 1 year ago and now again. I leave for Eilat tomorrow with Josh, my God-given blessing of a travelling partner. Here are my observations of this wonderful place.
- Last year Ben Gurion airport looked really cruddy, this year it has water features, the busses are organized and it looks lovely. It’s gotten a big facelift. This rapid change shows just how young this country is and that it’s still growing economically.
- They must be planning a BIG push for Jerusalem as a tourist destination, because they have an ENORMOUS car park being built outside Jaffa gate. I don’t see any signs of the touted monorail that they said (last year) that they were building and it was to be opened soonish.
- There is so much excavation here that it’s no big deal. One of the people in my hostel was on a dig and she found pottery from the “post iron age”… that’s 3200 yeas ago! Three thousand two hundred years old!!! She was nonchalant but inside I think she was beaming.
- It’s very very weird to see three 16 year old girls walking by giggling with massive automatic weapons at their side. Weird maybe doesn’t capure it. Although it’s weird, it’s comforting, because there is tension in the air sometimes.
Old City Jerusalem
- Last year in the Old City the arab area was really filthy. Remarkably so. This year it’s really clean, no filth on the cobble-stone floors. Something is happening there at a collective civic level, it might be that many people are moving from “palestine” (outside the wall) into the Old City and are bringing with them other cultural values. Perhaps it’s Hamas, they have a culture of “civic duty”.
- Last year the meat hung in the open air and dripped on the ground. This year the meat hangs in glas/clear cold storage so you can see it, but the flies don’t get it.
- “Palestinians”are MUCH more angry this year and more than one has used the words “we are fighting for.. etc.” which surprised me.
- I often hear in the 5 times a day prayers that cover the Old City the words “hizb-allah” which is the name of the resistance in Lebanon.
- When Israel first began in 1947 (this is a SUPERB overview of how Israel got started) the Jews had a poster welcoming people to Palestine. Now that EXACT poster can be seen in the Old City, but it’s used by “palestinians”. Ah the sad irony.
Muslims, Arabs and more
- More than ever I am sure that both sides MUST learn to live side by side, however when I look at how the two groups of people look at each other, particularly how te young muslims look at the Israeli’s as the Israeli’s walk by… I am not at all convinced that the young mulims want to live side by side. It’s just the way they look, the feeling I get is… not a nice one.
- The Old City looks like it is unofficialy being taken over as their capital… legally or not. I get that feeling. Many many people are moving into it from “palestine” and the Christian quarter really no longer has many (or any?) Christians in it. Ditto fr the Armenian quarter). Yes, a few, but not many. Only hard line hassidic Jews might live in their area, but few. Mostly they park outside the Western Wall gate and walk in only as far as the Western Wall to pray, then leave again. Only muslims and tourists and nuns/fathers/others live inside the walls… or so it seems to me. I apologise if I am wrong, it’s just what I see.
- The stabbing of a tourist the other night sort of entrenched that feeling that gradually no one is going to be welcome here. When the intifadah started a few years ago in the ONE road outside St Annes, Bethesda, 12 people died and 400 were wounded. 400 wounded in one year in only maybe 100 feet of cobble stone road!
- Having said that, the area is VERY safe and the older people are VERY nice and I never saw any problems while being here. Women did tell me they get hassled an touched a lot though, so walk in pairs or with a man.
- I found that muslims are VERY good people and VERY polite… IF you are polite to them. When I showed respect to them, they softened immediately and are very generous to me EVEN though I am a Christian. On time I showed respect to a teenage muslim girl, giving up my seat on a bus, and immediately some muslim boys shifted over and gave me a seat, smiled and introduced themselves to me and welcomed me to “palestine”.
- Many muslims greet me with “Merhaba” (a Turkish greeting) because they think I am a light skinned Turkish arab. God had something up His sleeve when He designed me, I am sure of it. I easily learned a lot of Turkish when I was there for 4 weeks many years ago. My life and God’s destiny for me look more and more fun and interesting!
- I discovered that there are four kinds of musims: Turkish, Persian (Iran), Arab (everyone else)… and then fourthly there are the Palestinians who seem to have an argument that they are *not* Arab an in fact are somehow decendants of the Israelites. Apparently this argument has legs, but I don’t know how true this is.
- I was blessed to be taught all about muslims, how Muhammad did his thing, about the ka-aba, the muslim world and much much more… in 4 hours by a man who just talked and talked with such great knowlege and wisdom. I learned SO MUCH. It’s hard to explain how much I learned or what God intends to do with this knowledge, but it as like attending a 3 year university… in 4 hours.
So now I am off to Eilat tomorrow. The Dolphins are calling. Eeeee! Eeeeee! 🙂