02 July 2006

peace, history, and security.

For those who believe tensions in Israel stem only from disagreements between Muslims and Jews, I offer the following from the 29 June Jerusalem Post:

Haredim attack Christian tourists promoting brotherhood in Jerusalem

Approximately 100 haredim (Orthodox Jews) assaulted a group of 50 Israel-supporting Christian tourists wearing t-shirts reading "Love your neighbor as yourself" in a Jerusalem neighborhood on Wednesday, 28 June. After police disbanded the assault and left the scene, the haredim ignited a trashcan, forcing police to temporarily close off the street. You can't make this stuff up. Three tourists and a police officer were treated by the Israeli Red (Star of David) Cross on the scene for light injuries.

Some more observations from Haifa. Yesterday on the bus ride home from the beach, an elderly woman sat down on the seat across the aisle from us. She had a blue number tattooed on her forearm. That's the closest I've ever been to a Holocaust survivor. Being near her, completely unable to imagine the horrors she must have faced as a young girl, reminds me why I can't pick sides in this conflict. I support the notion of a Jewish state (in so much as a secularist can accept state-sponsored religion), but also a Palestinian one - I want this land to be shared, and I don't want further violence committed to secure a homeland for the victims of one of history's most terrible atrocities.. On the topic of conflict and security, while Haifa has far fewer IDF soldiers than Jerusalem did, security is still tight. Our bags are searched everytime we enter our hotel lobby, and the bar (Sketch Special Bar - great name) we went to last night for the match (viva wine and cheese!) did the same. I assume it's standard practice citywide. While I'm not afraid of anything happening to me while I'm here, it's comforting to know measures are being taken to assure I'm not proven wrong.

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