Hannah and Je together

Friday, 15 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Forty Fourth Day – Protesting

Today is Friday, and there was supposedly no class today, but because the teacher moved the day from Monday to Friday, it was school day only for my class.

For the week day name in Arabic, they just use number from Sunday to Thursday.  Sunday is “Day one,” and Thursday is “Day five.”  But Friday is called “Day of Jum-ah.”  I think this name possibly came from the word mosque which is “Jami-” in Arabic.  And most of the Arabic speaking area is muslim.  So Friday in Arabic might mean “the day for Mosque.”  And Saturday is “Day of sabt” in Arabic, which I guess came from the word Shabat.

Friday Worship of Muslims on the street

Friday Worship of Muslims on the street

After the class, I understood why this Christian University does not have class on Fridays.  They broadcast the service into the air with so loud volume of speaker, and people worship on the streets.  The other side of the picture and the street is totally blocked by the people.  Every Friday, the Manger Square is filled with muslims.  And I was not able to move at all.  This is not cool.  And there is not even an easy detour.

Palestinians protesting against Israel

Palestinians protesting against Israel

After the Muslim service, people began to shout something and raised many flags.  I asked some people around me, and was told that they were protesting for Gaza and against Israel.  They were marching to the “famous” Israeli separation wall.  They said that they would throw many stones at Israel soldiers.  I just hope that no one would get hurt, because Israel soldiers might shoot at them.

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.

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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.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Israel Trip Third Day: Jerusalem Old City

The guesthouse is in Palestinian neighbourhood where Arabic is commonly spoken. And it is obviously noticeable for the signs too.

Signs in Arabic

Signs in Arabic

From the guest house, we walked to the Jerusalem Old City through Damascus Gate.

Damascus Gate - one of the major access to Old City Jerusalem

Damascus Gate – one of the major access to Old City Jerusalem

This gate is called in Arabic as Bab Al-Amud which means Pillar Gate. There used to be two pillars by Hadrian and people still used that name even though the pillar is not there for more than thousand years. But you can see the mark where the pillars were in the Old City right after the gate.

Pillar Mark

Pillar Mark

We walked straight to the Western Wall, namely Wailing Wall. It shows a few different era’s construction with the Herodian wall at the bottom. And we went to Western Wall Heritage Centre where we saw some of the historical and architectural information in visual way.

Temple Mount and Temple model

Temple Mount and Temple model

Herod’s temple is much more bigger than the previous ones even way bigger than that of Solomon. Because the land was not level, Herod made the south side much higher to make the temple mount level, and both corner on the south side is called Pinnacle and the horn was blown for many reasons. At the north end, Herod used the natural bed rock as part of the temple mount.

Herod's Frame

Herod’s Frame

This pattern is Herod’s distinctive frame pattern. If you see the picture below, that is just little part of the one rock. They are all huge and giant. The average weight of those stones is 5 ton.

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Huge Stone

As we all know, this glorious Herod’s temple was destroyed by Romans A.D. 70, and some of the destroyed parts are still preserved:

Destruction of the Temple by Romans

Destruction of the Temple by Romans

We were walking under the centre ramp (see the temple model above), and we came out to the open field at Herod’s time but it is still covered because the houses were built after that over those areas. And we met two pillars by Herod.

Herodian Pillar

Herodian Pillar

And on the floor of the same level with the pillar, there are stone-pavement from the same time. In other words, Jesus may walked on those stones.

Pavement from the Jesus' contemporary.

Pavement from the Jesus’ contemporary

And then we kept walking through the water channel/tunnel and to a water basin.

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This was built at Hasmonian Dynasty which means it is even before Romans came to Israel. This water tank was used for more than thousands of years. One thing is that nobody knows where the water comes from and how it collects waters.

St. Anne's Chapel

St. Anne’s Chapel

We went to St. Anne’s Chapel by the White Fathers. White fathers is the missionary group and the father in charge of this site is from Canada. More than 80% of the members are from Africa, so the white is colour of the robe not the skin. Once they tried to rename, but almost all the black members voted against it.

This chapel has amazing acoustic design.  A few of the McCormick group sang ‘Amazing Grace,’ and it echoed like a band of angels was singing together.

Birthplace of Mary

Birthplace of Mary

St. Anne’s Chapel is dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Mary. So she is grandmother of Jesus. Catholics believe that mother Mary was born here while Anne was living.

Crusader's Chapel

Crusader’s Chapel

Next to the St. Anne’s chapel, there is huge ruin. It is the ruin of many different things – Hadrian’s pagan temple, Byzantine, Crusaders … You can see the crusader’s cross on the bottom of the pillar.

Pool of Bethesda

Pool of Bethesda

And the ruin also has a pool named Bethesda, where Jesus is believed that he healed the sick on Sabbath day.

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

Now, it is time to talk about the Via Dolorosa, the most famous Christian pilgrimage.

Church of Condemnation

Church of Condemnation

The Church of Condemnation is at the original place (as believed) where Pontius Pilate and his army stayed, namely Antonia Fortress.

Game board

Game board

On the floor, there is a mark – the play of the soldiers. According to the guide, the mark was drawn around Jesus’ contemporary.

Church of Flagellation

Church of Flagellation

It is believed that Jesus was whipped at the Church of Flagellation. And you can see the patterns of nails, whips. Above the gate, you may identify the thorns.

Ecce Homo Church

Ecce Homo Church

Ecce Homo means “Behold this man,” which Pontius Pilate said to the people. There is huge arch in and out side of the church. But the scholars believe now that the arch was built at Hadrian after Jesus.

Jesus fell first time

Jesus fell first time

Via Dolorosa identifies three locations that Jesus fell, and this is the first one.

Jesus met mother

Jesus met mother

Right next to the first falling location, this point is believed that Jesus met His mother Mary.

Simon of Cyrene

Simon of Cyrene

This place is believed that Simon of Cyrene was forced by the Roman soldiers to carry the cross of Jesus. There are a few more scenes in the Via Dolorosa such as Jesus meeting pious women. Via Dolorosa may correct but may not correct since different churches claim different spots, and different scholars says different things. We do not know any thing for sure. But what is important is not to identify historical accurate locations but to feel it and add it to our faith.

Holy Sepulchre

Holy Sepulchre

After that, we went to the Holy Sepulchre though the Coptic Church. In  the Holy Sepulchre, there was no line and our guide said it was miracle. Only two or three can fit in, and I went in with another lady, and she cried a lot over the casket. I just wonder if I had to tell her that the casket is empty and Jesus is alive.

The Holy Sepulchre is so-called the holiest place for Christians. And several different churches owns different parts of it. There are serious dispute between them, so two Muslim families open it in the morning and close it in the evening. What a shame.

Adam's Tomb

Adam’s Tomb

Some Church says that Adam is buried here. It is very important to their theology. The rock over the glasses is the rock of Calvary.

Broken Stone

Broken Stone

The rock seen over the window is Rock of Calvary. It is broken into two. Because when Jesus died, there was earthquake, and the rock was broken into two.

Calvary Rock

Calvary Rock

This is actually on the Calvary. Still you can see the huge crack. There are a few more things to see including Anointing Rock. We went out to the Jewish neighbourhood.

Manora

Manora

This giant manora is not the only one telling you that you are in Jewish quarter. So many males are wearing black hats and dressed like Jewish.

Golden Dome

Golden Dome

That golden dome, so called Dome of Rock, is the most famous thing in Jerusalem. And you can see the western wall under it. Tonight is the beginning of Sabbath, and many Jewish people came to pray here.

Western Wall

Western Wall

This is very sentimental place for all Jewish. The women are not allowed to pray with men. They have their own section. And all men must cover their head. The wall is continued inside to the left side when you face it. And there is a library with all Hebrew pray books.

Skull rock

Skull rock

Then we went to Garden Tomb. It is based on the bible (of course) with the name of Golgotha whose meaning is skull. And the rock is very similar to the skull shape (the mouth piece is hidden by the reconstruction).

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The first and third picture is the entrance of the tomb and the middle one is inside of it. For the last picture, you can see the rail for the rock to roll which covers the tomb. Some scholars think the Holy Sepulchre is where Jesus was crucified, others think Garden tomb is the place. Again, we do not know for sure. But I do know that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive.

Segregation

Segregation

This is the separation of Jerusalem. One city, one Jerusalem but one side is Jewish part, the other is West Bank, the occupied land. Jerusalem means peace. When can we really have true peace in Jerusalem?

We went to Sabeel, and listened to Cedar, one of the founding member of Sabeel. It was eye opening. I want to write about it later in more detail. If I do not go to bed right now, I may die.

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