Hannah and Je together

Friday, 17 January 2014

Israel Trip Ninth Day: Hebron

Today was kind of lecture day. We had three speakers in a day: one from religious Jewish, one from Christian group, and another from Muslim Imam.

View of Bethlehem from the Hotel

View of Bethlehem from the Hotel

When I’ve got up in the morning, I went out to the balcony and took this picture – the Bethlehem from the hotel.

Machbelah Cave(?)

Machbelah Cave(?)

And we went to Machbelah in Hebron. Machbelah is the burial cave originally Abraham bought for his wife Sarah. All the most important three generations of Patriarchs with their wives are buried here (by tradition). The only exception is Rachael as you know from the Bible.

헤롯과 그 이후 시대의 막벨라 벽

Machbelah of Herodian and after era

This tomb building is built by Herod. Even though Herod is cruel and did many bad things, there are so many things he left. The stone are recognised by its distinctive frame pattern. The upper part is built by Mamluk.

Machbelah Mosque

Machbelah Mosque

This site is fourth most holy place for Muslims, and before Israeli government came, it was of course Muslim’s. When Israeli army came, they divided it into two sections; one for Muslim, and the other for Jewish. This is muslim side mosque.

Machbelah Mosque Ceiling

Machbelah Mosque Ceiling

Just like other mosques, this one is so beautiful too. About the division, Abraham and Sarah are shared by both sides. They both can see it only though the caged windows. Muslims have Isaac and his wife Rebecca. Jews have Jacob and his wife Leah. Jews got what really matters to them because Jacob is the top common ancestor and is exclusive to them. But for the Muslims, Isaac is not the most important person, but Ishmael.

Prayer towards Mecca

Prayer towards Mecca

As I already wrote in previous posting, you will know where is the direction towards mecca in any mosque.

Sarah's tomb

Sarah’s tomb

When you go into the muslim side of the Machbelah, the very first you would see is Sarah.

Rebecca’s tomb

Rebecca’s tomb

Then inside the mosque, you can see the Rebecca next.

Isaac's tomb

Isaac’s tomb

Isaac is by Rebecca but little bit further.

Abraham's tomb

Abraham’s tomb

If you turn around, then you can see the Abraham.

In front of the Machbelah

In front of the Machbelah

We came out of the muslim side, and some of us went into the Jewish section. We must have gone without our local guide because even though he is Christian, the Israeli soldiers did not let him through. It is very stupid. They know he is law-abiding good citizen and just a tour guide. As you can see in the picture, Hebron and around the Machbelah area is very tensed and so many soldiers and military vehicles are always circling around.

Leah's tomb

Leah’s tomb

In the Jewish section, there is partition and writing “Women” in hebrew. The closer side which is right is Abraham and Sarah. The farther side which is the room on the left is their grandson. When you stepped into the room, Leah is on the right, and Jacob is on the left.

Jacob's tomb

Jacob’s tomb

There is no English signs at all either muslim or Jewish side. In the muslim section, local guide read us the Arabic. In the Jewish side, I was able to recognise the Hebrew names.

Christian Peacemaker Team

Christian Peacemaker Team

Then we went to the Christian Peacemaker Team whose office is in old town Hebron. They have a lot of difficulties working for the persecuted Palestinians, and even one of them were killed. But they still standing on their ground and working, sacrificing for others.

View of Hebron

View of Hebron

This is the Hebron view from the Christian Peacemaker Team office.

Kia Hebron

Kia Hebron

In Bethlehem, I saw Hyundai. And in Hebron, I saw Kia – another Korean auto maker.

Glass Factory

Glass Factory

Then we went to famous Glass Factory. Two were working on each side of the furnace. They presented us great show while they were making glass vases. It is amazing and when they do it, it looks so simple.

Horse as transportation

Horse as transportation

Do you see the horse? It is not for tourists, nor fun. They use it as mean of transportation. I’ve seen some people use horse or donkey as mean of transportation only in Palestinian area. What does this mean?

Tourist Police Bike

Tourist Police Bike

Downtown Hebron is crazy place with tons of cars, buses, trucks and horses too. I’ve never known that there is such thing like Tourist Police. But the officer came to us and guided the bus, sometimes stopping other traffic. How nice to us, the tourists.

Sheep neck

Sheep neck

We went to a very nice restaurant in Hebron whose name is ‘Hebron Restaurant.’ I ordered sheep neck. It was not bad, but ao tender and mild. The meat just melted as soon as my tongue touched it. Speaking of tongue, I ate beef tongue for dinner.

Jewish Settler Speaking

Jewish Settler Speaking

Then we went to nearby synagogue and listened to a religious Jewish settler in Hebron. He said many things, but I guess it was not that impressive to McCormick group. One of the things he said is that Israeli government built hospitals, schools for Palestinians and many of them are thankful for that. When he said that, I was confused if he is Japanese speaking to Koreans under Japanese occupation.

Imam Maher Assaf

Imam Maher Assaf

At the evening, we invited Imam Maher Assaf. Imam is a title for Muslim religious leader. Our local guide sitting next to him translated Arabic into English. He is liberal muslim, and most of the muslim does not think like him. But he is quite interesting figure to me.

Palestine Traditional Drink

Palestine Traditional Drink

At the evening session, our local guide George was with us and he introduced us Palestinian traditional (very strong alcoholic) drink. I forgot the name, but we mixed it with water and put some ice. Of course I did not drink it.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Israel Trip Fifth Day: Haram, Church, Al Quds University

We went to Haram or Temple Mount where the famous golden dome is. We went through the security at Al Asbat Gate as we did for the Western Wall. The haram is the third holiest place for the Muslims, and for that all the females well prepared by covering everything except hand and face. Of course head, neck and shoulder were covered. But still some of the females were given skirts to wear.

Al Asbat Gate Security

Al Asbat Gate Security

After the security, we saw the golden dome from afar.

Golden Dome from Afar

Golden Dome from Afar

But our first destination was not the golden dome but the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Al Aqsa Mosque Outside

Al Aqsa Mosque Outside

Inside the Mosque, it was very beautiful. The carpet, the ceiling, the columns, and the stained windows … everything is so beautiful.

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As you may know, all the muslims must pray towards Mecca everyday five times. And consequently every mosque tells you which direction is to Mecca.

Praying towards Mecca

Praying towards Mecca

This guy is praying facing the direction to Mecca with his son.

Column Inside Column

Column Inside Column

Just like any other things in Jerusalem, Al Aqsa mosque also has long and complex history. Round marble columns are (relatively) recently donated by the Italian government. But the square column on the other side is very old, and there was a window on the column which shows the older (Umayan Dynasty) round column inside.

Sabeel

Sabeel

After the mosque, we walked to the golden dome or Dome of the Rock. It was very short distance, and I found a something like fountain with tabs and stone chairs around. This kind of water spring or fountain is called Sabeel in Arabic. Sabeel also means way.

Golden Dome

Golden Dome

This was taken in very close distance. As some of my friends know, my camera is very old and it does not really zoom.

Golden Dome and Je

Golden Dome and Je

Until now, it was just normal tour course which anyone does. But with God’s help, McCormick group got special permit. After 2000, non-muslims were not allowed inside the Dome of the Rock. And we were the exception. With the special permit from the Muslim Authority, we went into the dome. I’ve never seen our local guide George taking any picture, but today inside of the Dome of the Rock, he was so busy taking pictures and even video. That just shows me how special the special permit is.

Inside the Dome

Inside the Dome

It was beautiful but I think Al Aqsa mosque was more beautiful for the interior. One thing which makes the dome of the Rock so special is not the golden dome outside. The rock inside is special. It is believed that Abraham was offering his son on this rock. And Solomon’s temple was also built upon this rock. For Muslims, they believe this rock followed Mohamed on his ascension to heaven. And he sent this rock back on earth.

To THE ROCK

To THE ROCK

The picture above shows the entrance to the rock below.

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And as I wrote above, in the mosque, you can easily tell which direction is to Mecca.

Praying towards Mecca

Praying towards Mecca

When I was stepping out of the Dome, I found a strange clock on the wall.

Prayer Clock

Prayer Clock

First one is current time. Second is the date of today. The others are the prayer time of the day. I think they pray five times a day, and I have no idea why the clock shows six prayer times.

St. George Cathedral

St. George Cathedral

And then we went to St. George’s Cathedral for Sunday service. It was Anglican Church. The service was very interesting.

St. George Cathedral Inside

St. George Cathedral Inside

And then we had lunch at the Notre Dame Hotel which is directly owned and managed by the Vatican. After that we went to Al Quds University which is Palestinian school. And on the way, in the Palestinian town, I saw the tall segregation wall.

Separation Wall

Separation Wall

It looks high but actually it is one of the low walls. I heard that some of the walls are twice higher.

Abu Jihad Museum

Abu Jihad Museum

Before the University, we went to the Abu Jihad Museum next to the University. This museum is for the Palestinian prisoners who were ill-treated in Israeli prison.

Professor Moustafa Abu Sway

Professor Moustafa Abu Sway

Then we listened to Professor Moustafa Abu Sway who was born and raised in Jerusalem, and also studied in Boston, USA. Our guide George was his student too.

Palestinian Village

Palestinian Village

After his lecture and Q&A time, we headed back to the guesthouse in Jerusalem. And on the way back, I took this picture of empty houses and apartments in Palestinian area. There was huge discussion and arguments after dinner meeting. I cannot say anything about this matter now, but I will try to post about it later.

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