A fascinating place with a dangerous clash of cultures, religious fervours and extremism. History meets the future!!
I found it fascinating to watch the zealots following the rules.
This human need to believe in gods goes way back into our primitive past. The tribal elements are manifest. We commit so much of our time, wealth and emotional state into these religious systems.
Just think if all that time, energy and money had been directed to say – removing poverty or green issues.
I saw lots of fervent belief or display. I didn’t see god anywhere.
We walked through the city towards the Wailing Wall.
We walked through all the old alleys, the marketplace and the ancient streets.
Beatific expressions around the tomb.
We made our way from the Christian sector through the archaeological site of the old market to gain views over the city.
Two different types of uniform.
Through the narrow streets of the old town.
Through the market.
Through the remains of the old market with its romanticised view of what it would have been like in Jesus’s time.
Past the modern-day busker.
Out to a terrace with views over the city.
The cemetery of Mount of Olives.
The Wailing Wall.
The al-Aqsa mosque.
Men in uniform.
It was, as one might expect, lavish, spectacular and beautiful. The artists and artisans had certainly gone to town.
One had the feeling that there was definitely an edge of competition here.
As an atheist, I could appreciate the artwork and wonder at the devotion and ecstatic expressions of the worshippers – reminded me of the expression on my face when I met Bo Diddley.
We arrived in Haifa at dawn to discover a port that was not exactly the world’s most picturesque.
Israel intrigued me. I am not a religious man. Indeed, I think religion is the cause of many of our problems. But I was aware of the history and could see that Jerusalem was the focus of centuries of conflict between the three Abrahamic religions. It had fought to an uneasy truce. Jerusalem was the powder keg for the whole Middle East. It could go off at any moment. The Palestinian/Jewish situation looked like it would never be resolved.
For the West this presented a great opportunity to benefit from the unrest. The whole Arab world was in conflict.
It was easy to see how this constant state of animosity and fear pushed people to more extreme positions and beliefs.
I was eager to have a look. A lot of history was bound up in this small area.
Boarding a coach we set off for Jerusalem and received our first glimpses of Israel through the window.
We arrived at the walled city and entered in.
We caught our first glimpse of orthodox Jews. We were going to see a lot more religious extremists in the course of the day.
We arrived at the Abbey of the Dormition.