Tishrei 19, 5777
October 21, 2016
Palestinian terror in the last 24 hours
For the last two days, we here in Ashdod have heard and felt occasional and sometimes regular booming from the Gaza area. Since we know that the IDF rarely if ever attacks any terrorists there, we have wondered what is the source of the explosions?
This morning comes the answer: Egyptian forces have been attacking Palestinian terrorist targets in the Rafah area as part of the ongoing war in the northern Sinai. In the last week alone, more than 20 Egyptian soldiers have been killed along with about 150 terrorists.
At a distance of 40 km from the Gaza border, our home shakes when an Egyptian bomb or artillery round explodes.
The Palestinian “desire” for peace
Try to wrap your mind around this (actually it is not too hard). Several days ago, Oded Revivi, the mayor of the Judean community of Efrat, decided to turn his municipal sukka into a “peace tent.”
Revivi invited local Palestinians to come, drink coffee, and generally celebrate the holiday of Sukkot. Palestinians from Hevron and Bethlehem came, and later Revivi posted a picture of the group along with the thought that “Jews and Muslims sit and examine together how to produce good neighborliness more and how to build a future of peace.”
All fine and good. Just like all Israelis who earnestly desire peace with our neighbors, Revivi made a gesture for peace.
But yesterday, the PLO of Mahmoud Abbas, aka the Palestinian Authority, answered that gesture as he always does–by rejecting it. What’s more, he had the PLO police arrest a number of Palestinians who participated in the peace sukka and chuck them in prison.
So much for building a future of peace.
UNESCO BE DAMNED: WALKING FOR JERUSALEM!
Yesterday was the annual Sukkot march for Jerusalem in which your humble servant participates every year. This year, it seemed especially important to do so because of the ludicrous UNESCO vote that took place last week.
We drove from Ashdod into Jerusalem at 7:30 am and parked our car close to the central bus station at the Central Zionist Archives. Already the area was crowded with many buses that had brought tens of thousands of fellow marchers from all over the world. The bus beside us had ferried “Polish-Christian Friends of Israel” from their hotel.
From there we boarded a special bus to take us to the start point of our walk, Armon Hanatziv.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Jerusalem geography, Armon Anatziv is a neighborhood also known as East Talpiot; home to some 20,000 residents, it is located across the so-called “green line” on a hill in southeastern Jerusalem and possesses a promenade with an amazing view of the Jerusalem skyline.
The neighborhood began to be built following the 1967 war. Recent archaeological findings suggest that the area may also be where Jesus was interred following his crucifixion; a speculation based on names that were found on ossuaries that were found during excavations.
After receiving the map of our route, we started down toward central Jerusalem first passing through the “Peace Forest”. I stopped to take this photo which is the way I see Jerusalem:
Through the forest we went (it’s really not a forest in the conventional sense of the word), and then up into the central part of the city.
We stopped for a break at the Lions Fountain in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood where mats had been spread in the grass so that we could form “a magic circles” with a facilitator which the Arvut organization had provided. Without going into too much detail, during the next 45 minutes we enjoyed the shade while being fed nonsense about “civil discourse” by our particular facilitator.
The gist of her talk and our activities was that the world would be a more peaceful place if we all just listened to each other, valued each person’s opinion, and avoided criticizing him or her. Unfortunately for our facilitator, our group was not inclined to agree that each person’s opinion should be valued; we pointed out that numerous opinions should be disrespected. Finally, when she called for “tolerance”, one of our foursome let her know that tolerance was a word that she particularly found abominable.
And so our time in the shade ended, and we continued.
Along the way, we saw hundreds of beautiful sukkot and stopped to give blessings on a lulav and etrog. We then came upon a wonderful group at a street corner who were waving Israeli, Swedish, Finnish, and Jerusalem flags.
I stopped to chat with them for a while, and they were very eager to tell me how they were praying for Israel, Jerusalem, and Israelis everyday. For my part, I told them that we had just been in Finland where we met with a wonderful Finnish Christian who used to live and study in Jerusalem–and now is engaged in pro Israel advocacy in Finland. And I added that all Israelis thank them for their prayers.
From there we continued our trek until we finally ended at Sacher Park amidst numerous food stalls, music, and children’s amusements. But coming into the park I was struck by this odd threesome:
Surprised to see a Muslim-looking flag at this event, I asked the man holding it where they were all from. Azerbaijan was his answer–they had flown to Jerusalem just to participate in the festivities.
Our walk finally came to an end and what a walk it was.
UNESCO be damned: to go through the streets and neighborhoods of our eternal and magical capital is an indescribable joy.
And here’s a news flash for UNESCO: Jerusalem will remain ours forever!