All in Jerusalem

Normalization

The following post was written before the most recent wave of violence began, tragically claiming lives on both sides, and resulting in increased police presence, arrests and clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian civilians. While I recognize the heightened emotions that Israelis and Palestinians both have and the desire to distance ourselves from each other, I still stand by the following words, with all sensitivity to those suffering from these tensions.

8 Perspectives: Hope for Jerusalem

Jerusalem Day commemorates the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City after the June 1967 Six-Day War.  Israel calls this the reunification of Jerusalem, a day when Israel proclaims it will never again be divided.   It is a day of triumphalism.  Floods of young people come from West Bank settlements and pour through the streets of downtown Jerusalem singing songs of Israel’s greatness while carrying large flags, marching through the Old City and visiting the Western Wall. 

Just Another Day in Jerusalem

I saw Jerusalem through different eyes today.  I saw the city through the eyes of my front seat passenger who let out a gasp as my car curved around Sha'arei Tzedek hospital onto Herzl Blvd where the glistening silver of the Jerusalem light rail caught him off guard in the early morning sunlight.  The involuntary reaction was expelled like that out of a small child seeing the ocean for the first time.

Sunday Morning Groceries & Conversation

I pull my full cart to the checkout line. A young woman with dark, straight hair smiles at me. My eyes are immediately drawn to the large wooden cross necklace she wears. It is prominent and obvious, and she is proud of it. She is interesting and I’ve never seen her before. I have frequented this store and others in the same chain for years, and the only Arabs in the store are those who work in the deli, re-stock shelves, organize produce and, on rare occasion, bag groceries. I’ve never seen an Arab work at the cash register.

Pregnancy and the ‘Third Intifada'

I have lately been thinking about how weird it is to be in this time of turmoil, supposedly a “third intifada,” just as I am nearing the end of my pregnancy. It really made me ponder things and the world that I am bringing a child into. I can be either optimistic or pessimistic about it and even find humor in the fact that life never seems boring these days. Most of the time, I sway between all three in the same week!

The Third Intifada?

During the past week we have begun to see the words ‘third intifada’ appear in a number of news sites, along with other names, such as a ‘car intifada.’  While it’s too soon to tell if what we are experiencing will continue and worsen into what will truly be an ‘intifada,’ we have seen a tightening of security measures following successful attacks on civilians.  It’s important to remember that this isn’t new, though.  Violence and injustice are constantly simmering here, and these attacks gain more coverage and response, a sort of bubbling and bursting at the surface, a reminder that all is not well, the status quo of occupation is insufficient, and the suffering touches all of us.

Facing Off with a Humvee

Suddenly, I was the next car up, squarely facing a huge Humvee. People on the street started waving me the same way the previous car had gone so I just followed their directions and quickly maneuvered over the sidewalk, into someone’s driveway and then onto another sidewalk.  I felt a sense of camaraderie and was really grateful for these people who were so helpful, not even knowing me!