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Notes from the field

By Shalom Pollack
5/31/2014, 10:05 PM

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!