Blogs from Israel, Middle East - page 15

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 30th 2013

The walls of the old city absolutely fascinated me, and when I found I could walk the ramparts from the Jaffa Gate on the west wall (not to be confused with the Western Wall) to the Dung Gate on the south wall, I was in. Entrance to the ramparts costs NIS 16 about US $4.70, but if you are looking for history and some fantastic views, it’s worth it. Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia. As each invader entered the city, they knocked down the city walls, or at least part of them. Once the conquerors were comfortably ensconced, they rebuilt the walls to repel the next round of invaders. Quarrying stone is hard and heavy work. So, instead of quarrying new stone, the conquerors would re-use the stones they had previously knocked down, or ... read more
recycled paving stone
a view of the ramparts from the south
ancient crenellations

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 28th 2013

I really enjoy local farmers’ markets and wet markets. (I also like grocery stores, but that’s another story.) These are some of my favorite places to visit when I travel, and since the Mehane Yehuda Market is not too far from where I am staying, I decide to visit. First of all, the place is huge; covering several blocks. The market dates back to the Ottoman Empire and offers just about anything you can want. Fresh fruits, sure, but also nuts, and dried fruits, household goods, prepared foods, juices, fresh flowers, and mounds of delectable pastries, a never ending parade of color and smell. Vendors call to you from their stalls singing the praises – and I literally mean singing – of their wares. And of course their stuff is ever so much better than the ... read more
Halvah!
Halvah King
more halvah

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District April 27th 2013

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, many American attitudes toward the Middle East and Islam were quite negative and, in some cases, openly hostile. I found my world turned upside down and felt as though my childhood was suddenly over. The time had come to make my own decisions about other countries and peoples, relying no more on the perspectives of family and friends. It was a defining turning point of my life, but once I became caught up in university applications and music school auditions, the events of that terrible day faded into the background. Never did I imagine that I, myself, would one day journey to those distant lands. Sometime over the Christmas holiday, I had a conversation with my Mom about her long-held desire to ... read more
Mom Likes To Live Dangerously
Three Languages of Israel: Hebrew, Arabic, and English
Czech and Chinese Prayers

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 26th 2013

The Temple Mount is one of the holiest sites in the Abrahamic religions. This was the site of the First Temple, built by King Solomon around the tenth century BCE. This temple was built on top of the location of the Foundation Stone, believed by Jews and Moslems to be the spiritual junction of heaven and earth. The temple stood for 410 years before being destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II. The First Temple contained the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Today, the Dome of the Rock stands on top of the Foundation Stone. This is also considered to be the place where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice before being stopped by an Angel of the Lord. This story is mentioned in the Koran, as well ... read more
wall plaza
From the woman's side
southern end of the wall

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 25th 2013

My first day in Jerusalem I walked to the Old City. Jerusalem is divided into the Old City, which has existed for at least 4,000 years, and the New City, which dates to 1860. That was the point at which Sir Moses Montefiore, a wealthy Jewish stockbroker from England, built the first neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City, complete with a windmill for grinding grain. Since living outside the city walls was considered to be risky business at the time, he offered financial incentives – which sounds much nicer than “bribes” – along with employment to anyone who would move to the new neighborhood. I entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, which is an actual gate that used to be closed at night. Immediately inside the gate is the Citadel, which dates ... read more
City Wall
Old City Wall
Inscription Jaffa Gate

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 24th 2013

I had heard many stories about the added security screening people face when going to Israel. El Al’s pre-flight security checks are legendary, and I had read horror stories about getting though (or not getting through) Israeli Immigration. There is good reason for these precautions, and I certainly understand the Israeli’s caution. I wasn’t particularly concerned. My point of departure was a small regional airport in California, where getting through security took all of three minutes. I wasn’t flying El Al, I am a near-sighted, middle-aged, reasonably pleasant woman with a US passport, and I am registered with the US Global Entry and Trusted Traveler programs. I connected in Newark to my flight to Tel Aviv. Even though I had already gone through security at my departure airport, I had to go through security again in ... read more
morning walk

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District April 3rd 2013

Apr3 A " WHAT " state solution in the Holy Land of Israel- Palestine This article is specifically to educate readers on what alternatives there are for a peaceful solution in Israel- Palestine. It is not simply a 2 state solution that is the solution... I want to give the readers more choices!I dedicate this article to those who would support state terrorism and islamic fundamentalism- you dont have to pretend... mohammed abbasi, martin behugiar,neena crinion, john paul wedger, mervyn roberts crown court judge, yvonne gibson, yvonne lewers of the social serv... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District February 23rd 2013

During my week vacation in February, I travelled to Israel to visit some friends who live in Jerusalem. I flew into Tel Aviv and spent one evening and day there. Then I headed to Jerusalem and spent two days exploring the city. After that I went on a guided tour of Masada and the Dead Sea. Then my friends and I went to Bethlehem, Haifa and Akko. Hope you enjoy the pictures!... read more
Tel Aviv - Old Jaffa
Tel Aviv - Carmel Market
Tel Aviv - Carmel Market

Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan February 5th 2013

Country drive to the farthest reaches Our host Ilya, who works from home, has offered to drive us all the way up to Golan Heights today. Though Henry and I do not wish to take advantage of our hosts’ hospitality, it’s hard to turn down such an offer. Plus he happens to be an archeological buff and so his expertise and friendliness are an irresistible combination. The drive takes about two hours (a lengthy excursion in this tiny country!). We only make pitstops and so rely on my guidebook and Ilya’s descriptions of the sights around us, whetting my appetite for further Israeli adventuring at some future point. I would love to go to Tsfat, the ancient home of the Jewish mystical strain called Kabbalah, or prowl around the banks of the large (and important) Sea ... read more
Largest waterfall in Israel!
Hyrax! Gah!
Nimrod Fortress

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 4th 2013

The Western Wall We wake early. Or at least, we’re out of the hostel before the street vendors open up. The streets are wider, brighter with the reduced clutter of stuff and clamor of conversation. We’re headed to the Western Wall. As we walk, I make myself put aside my initial emotional reaction to seeing the Wall yesterday. Really, it was the reaction at seeing the undeniably differently sized spaces for men and women to approach the Wall. Yesterday, I saw the clump of bodies on the women’s side, vying for space to touch and pray up close, contrasted sharply with the black shapes on the men’s side, spread out and moving about freely. There were just as many women as men. But they had a third of the space. The softness of the sunset colors ... read more
A random wall with beauty
View from our hostel window
Jerusalem on the hills




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