Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Showing who is in charge

Today was a good day. I feel like we do so much travelling here in Israel and there is so much to see and experience that the days have become a blur and it's hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day in Israel before heading to Egypt.

We left from the hotel this morning and headed to the Temple on the Mount, and waited in a very long line to pass through security and enter the Muslim place of worship. Once we had passed through security, myself and two of the other younger women were pulled out of line for wearing t-shirts, even though there were quite a few older women wearing the same length tops, and were asked to further cover our arms. Mickey explained that this was not because of us, but because of them - they want to show who is in charge. They think that people want to destroy the mosque, and tear it down with violence in order to take it over. Most Jewish people haven't been to this place for two reasons, one being that it would somewhat defile the religious aspect and two being that it's a muslim site, so they really don't care. This area is located on  a platform of 32 acres, which can hold 1/4 of a million people. The Muslims can agree with people living on land that was once Muslim, but they cannot agree with a non-Muslim state (such as Israel).

We next visited the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic. These aren't pools in the modern sense of the word, but they are more so water reservoirs. Beside this was the Church of Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary. This has been my favourite Church that I think I have ever been in anywhere in the world, because it's a Crusaders Church and is very simple and traditional, with no embellishments or fancy ornaments. It has amazing acoustics and the people singing sounded so beautiful.

From here we went to the the Garden of Gethsemane, which was so very busy that Grandfather and I literally did a quick lap of the Garden and headed out - there were so many tourists pushing together that it was quite overwhelming and hard to appreciate the actual beauty of this place. From here we went to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park - which from a history students viewpoint was very interesting, but apparently I didn't find much to write about (I keep notes during the day so I know what to write here), as all I wrote down was that the Hebrew word for corner is "Pina", deriving to the word "Pinnacle".

Our final stop for the day was at the Israel Museum, where we saw two of the most interesting things. One was a model of Jerusalem, which was gigantic. We walked around it and Mickey pointed out all of the things that we had seen the past few days, and it was amazing how much of the city that had been destroyed we had seen. After we spent a good amount of time at the model of the city, we went in to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. This was not the first time I had seen them, but it meant to much more to me this time as I have now been to where they were found and I know so much about the context.

And that was today! Back to the hotel in Jerusalem early and tomorrow is our final day in Israel, with a few more sites to see and then an afternoon of shopping in the the Jewish Quarter. I've never had such an exhausting week, but boy has it been worth it.

The model of the city of Jerusalem

The Dome on the Rock

The Garden of Gethsemane

The Jewish Cemetery

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