A Travellerspoint blog

Culture and Conflict

This was the day to look at recent history and its fallout, both good and bad.

We began the day at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. It was interesting to visit the same place as two years ago but with a different and more congenial guide. This time the tour took us into a memorial to the children who died in the Shoah.

After that we met with Rena Quint, a delightful woman who survived the death camps as a child--a rare achievement, as 95% of Jewish children in Europe did not survive. She told the story of how her mother told her to run away when the Jews in her town were gathered together in a building. She was five years old. She ran to her uncle's house. A few years later she ended up in a work camp and somehow was passed off as being ten years old. She had a series of "mothers" both during the war and afterward. Eventually she grew up in the US, emigrating to Israel in mid-life. Later Yuval told us that she wanted to accompany us to Ramallah, but backed off because she did not want to do anything illegal, and it is illegal for Israeli Jews to visit the West Bank.

We then went to the village of Ein Karem for lunch. This is a charming old Arab village that is now completely Jewish. It is, according to tradition, the home of Elizabeth and Zachary. We ate at a nice restaurant where I had something called a "Druze roll." It was a ground lamb mixture rolled in flat bread, fried crispy, and topped with a yogurt sauce. Really delicious. The village is, according to tradition, the home of Elizabeth and Zachary. We climbed to the purported site of their home where there is a pretty church. Unfortunately, it was closed, but it was a pleasant, shady spot. Following that, we stopped in West Jerusalem where Yuval spoke to us about the vibrant Israeli culture of today. He took us through an old section of winding streets and courtyards and then to the vast and vibrant Machne Yehuda Market.

Finally, we were met on the bus by Col. Danny Tirza, and I heard his story of his work in designing the Separation Wall and his perspective on the threat from the Palestinians and the role of the Wall. It was basically the same as two years ago, though we viewed the wall from somewhat different places, one of which was right next to a checkpoint. As was the case before, I found him well-meaning, but his descriptions of the Palestinians and his analysis of security needs were unconvincing, given what we had seen and the people we had talked to.

Then it was back to the hotel, where after a quick shower, we gathered informally in the lobby to look back over the day. Yuval joined us, offering his typically intelligent and nuanced analysis of the situation and the attitudes that underlie it.

Machne Yehuda Market

Machne Yehuda Market


Dates at Mahne Yehuda Market

Dates at Mahne Yehuda Market

Posted by mlld3536 17:00 Archived in Israel

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