Notes from the field
As a tour guide and just a regular Jerusalem resident, I often make mental notes of observations that I would like to share.
This past week, I guided a bus of Israeli tourists in Yerushalayim on Yom Yerushalayim.
We were to visit the Mount of Olives with its amazing view of Temple Mount and the Old City. We were to continue to Menachem Begin's grave and then to the home of a women and her family living on the Mount, in the midst of an Arab neighborhood.
I did not know much about my group, other than that they are from a suburb of Haifa and are associated with the local library. The sponsors and my employer that day is an organization called, Im Eshkachech"("If I forget Thee.. Psalms,) whose aim is to familiarize Israelis with our capital.
Well, as I was giving my explanation of the major sites of the panorama, I mentioned that the First and Second Temples stood for a combined eight hundred and thirty years on the same site as the golden dome today and added the classic Jewish prayer of two thousand years,.".and may the Third Temple be built speedily in our days, amen".
From my audience I heard a sudden commotion. as two people loudly protested my getting "political"
I was happily quickly supported and assured by the majority. They reassured me not to pay attention to them. They protested as well when some one on the bus coming up to Jerusalem said the travelers prayer . Too political? Forty Israelis - and two opinions.
The same two were unhappy earlier when I pointed out that the Arabs of Jerusalem were on their way out of the city during the Six Day War. They just wanted to flee and not receive the treatment they had hoped to mete out to the Jews.
Jerusalem could have been empty of Arabs at that moment of miracle and grace - had not Moshe Dayan urged them to stay. Stay they did indeed. Thank you Moshe Dayan. My two keepers of "correct thinking" were extremely unhappy
Israel allowed a memorial to the fallen Jordanian soldiers of the Six Day War to be built(it is on the hill just outside the city wall as one makes the turn from Damascus Gate to the Lions Gate). When I point this out and ask if any one has seen the similiar memorial to Israeli soldiers in Amman or Cairo... the same " tolerant bunch" steam in their seats. Why must I destroy illusions..?
This is history and facts not know to all and it is my job to teach, inform, provide back ground and perspective. I am no longer surprised that some people just do not want to learn certain facts. These are usually the self proclaimed liberal , open minded ,tolerant kind. It never ceases to amaze me just how closed and intolerant they really are.
Then, at a dinner table just today, conversation turned to the phenomenon of Jewish - Arab intermarriage, and the terrible trap that young , misguided Jewish girls sometimes find themselves in. This time it was the turn of the "American - Israeli" to champion the "tolerant position". A young woman thought I was totally narrow minded and bigoted to object to inter religious marriage in Israel. She protested, "but what if they "love" each other..?" It wasn't my job to explain to her why it is not good for the individual Jew or for our people or country.. It was her parents' job It was clear to me that they were very supportive of their enlightened darling.
It did not surprise me then when I related my story about the rebuilding the Third Temple..She reacted with a "God forbid" I thought that was a rather ironic choice of words to express her protest of the rebuilding of His House...
Never a dull moment. What a country!