Hannah and Je together

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Forty Ninth Day – Fighting with Teacher and Hebron

The arabic teacher in my class is Marwa Bannoura, young lady just married last month.  I bet she is nice person, but she has some problem at her teaching method.  She gives us too many vocabularies everyday, and expects us to memorise everything.  Because none of us can memorise all everyday, she is always mad at us.  And most days she made us feel dumb.  She always says that it is so easy, and why can’t we do this easy thing.  Oh yes, it is easy to you but not to us.

In my class, we have five students. Mateo from Italy, Anna from Switzerland, Lina from Germany, Klitos (which we call clitoris) from Ghana, and I.  The other students sometimes told me that they feel so dumb.  And today, I do not know what happened to her, but she looked very unhappy from the beginning.  And when we were not doing well with Arabic, she raised her voice and yelled at us.  I was holding myself for three weeks, but I could not bear this any more, so I had some argument with her.  She became so emotional and commanded me as if she is the queen and I am her servant.  I came out of the class eventually.

I do not know about the Palestinian culture and its teaching method, but I am not Palestinian first of all.  And she cannot treat us as kids.

First she talked to the dean, and later dean came to me and we talked.  One of the thing she complained about me to the dean was that I ask too many questions.  I doubted my ears.  Isn’t a student supposed to ask questions?  What the hack is wrong here?  When students cannot catch up, especially every student in the class, then she needs to change the way of her teaching, and repeat that until students get it, not yelling at the students “dumb.”

And she dropped two days because she needed to go to the court for her parking tickets.  Twice in four weeks is too much.  A teacher especially these kind of Academy is a service provider, not a queen nor governor over the students.  She is not professional but just amateur.

Jewish Settlement

Jewish Settlement

Anyway, six students went to Hebron after the class.  A student who arranged it told me that his friend is not an official tour guide but better than any other, and we would visit not only the tomb but also the old market and we can see the Palestinian reality.  So I joined them.  The picture is Jewish settlement above the Old Market.

Protecting Net

Protecting Net

Above some streets of the old market, Palestinians placed a net because Jewish settlers throws too much garbage and sometimes stones.  As the McCormick travel group experienced, the settlers in West Bank are mostly religious Jews, and they are so much worse than secular Jews.  We all saw that Mara was bitten here in Hebron by a Jewish settler.

Market Checkpoint

Market Checkpoint

Today we crossed three checkpoints in Hebron.  One is when we went out of the old market which is the picture above.  Then when we went in to the Jewish side of the tomb, and also when we went in Muslim side.  Strangely enough, the soldiers were so friendly to us.  They were all smiling at us, and very nice.  It was good, I am not saying it is bad.  I was told that there are different races among Jews, and they also have very strong racism.  And I was also told that European (White) Jews are not really dispatched here in Hebron because it is dangerous.  Well, I cannot say that is 100% true, but I looked around and that was true at least today in front of my eyes.

We went to the Jewish synagogue first, and I did some kind of tour guide because the so-called unofficial or unregistered Palestinian tour guide are not allowed in the synagogue, and I can read Hebrews.  And when we passed the Muslim side checkpoint, it was beginning of the Muslim Prayer time.  We were not allowed to enter for an hour, so we gave up to enter.  The fake tour guide told us that “you saw the Jewish side, and it is the same.”  Well, actually it is not the same.  I actually wanted to ask him, “How do you know?  You’ve never been to the Jewish side.”  So our so-called tour guide literally did nothing, but I did.

Hirbawi Textile Factory

Hirbawi Textile Factory

Then we went to Hirbawa Textile factory.  The machines are so old, I thought they are from the Industrial Revolution.  Two girls in my group wanted to buy some fabric, but they called the price too high, and they were very rude to us and was not willing to negotiate.  So the girls did not buy because of their attitude rather than the price itself.

Another Glass Factory

Another Glass Factory

Then we went to glass factory, but this is not the same place where McCormick group visited.  It is smaller, but the making the glass itself was almost the same.

When we going back, the tour guide asked us more money because they stopped at two factories.  It was 30 shekels, which is 5 shekels each, so we just paid them.  And they did not drop us at each one’s house as the official tour company does, but they just dropped us all at the Bethlehem University.  So I also had to walk 50 minutes.  I just realised that it is better and safe to use the real tour service.  Today, it was just waste of money and time.  Today was the first and hopefully the only shitty day in my entire trip.

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Eighth Day – Petra in Jordan

I booked a Petra Day Trip from Eilat.  I thought about to go there by myself, but Henry, an American Jew studying history at UCLA and my roommate at Megiddo excavation, told me not to.  He did his own trip to Petra.  After the border, he had to get a cab to Petra, which is 2 and half hour driving.  And it is painful and also almost impossible to negotiate with the local taxi drivers.  And the Petra entrance fee is very expensive.  But he told me it may be cheaper to use tour service, and obviously much easier and comfortable.

King of Jordan welcomes you!

King of Jordan welcomes you!

Jordan is a kingdom.  I had tour with two other girls from Mexico.  They said they are sisters, but they do not look alike at all.  The older looks like a Mexican with quite dark skin tone, while the other looks like a European.  They said their mother is a Mexican and their father is a Jew.  I still remember how many people were at the Taba border, and how chaotic it was.  But today, we three were all at the Israel-Jordan border.  Going out of Israel was no problem as it was at Taba too.  Jordanian border was easy too.  There was a guy from the tour office, and he took our passports and did all the job while we were drinking coffee.

Bedouin Village

Bedouin Village

This is a Bedouin village.  In Arabic Bedou is traveller, and -in is plural suffix such as -im in Hebrew.  So Bedouin means travellers.  But some of them settled, and they have villages.  If you look carefully, you would see the second floor is under construction.  They do not have actual desire to build the second floor.  They just need the ground floor.  But unless the building is complete, they do not pay any tax.  That is why they just began the second floor construction, and never continue building it.

Aaron Tomb Mosque

Aaron Tomb Mosque

After two and half hours driving, we went to the Petra.  The white dot on the mountain top of the photo above is a mosque commemorate the death place of Aaron, the high priest and brother of Moses.

The entrance fee to the Petra is about $130, which is crazy expensive.  The entrance fees to the archaeological parks in Israel is around or less than $20.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Some caves has a decoration above it in the shape of stairs.  That indicates the cave is burial cave.  The stairs are to heaven, the ancient people thought.

Gateway to Petra

Gateway to Petra

This is the siq, the gate to Petra.  This is very long and wound channel.  It is very amazing, and there are two aqueducts on both sides.  Left one is for the animals to drink, and the right side is for people to drink.

Peeping the Petra

Peeping the Petra

After the long walk, you begin to see the greatness in the small crack of the channel.

The carved palace!

The carved palace!

And finally when you come out of the channel, the awe-ness reveals itself.  We see the two stories, but actually it is three stories.  The earthquake in Roman times destroyed most of the cities and three-quarters of Petra was buried.  The tour guide said that the ground now is 20 feet (6 m) higher than the original ground.

The true amazing thing is that almost everything was not built but carved.  They just carved the stone and huge rock.

Tourism Police - To Protect and To Serve who?

Tourism Police – To Protect and To Serve who?

We spent almost four hours in Petra.  This is huge city, even they have a theatre, but still not built but carved.  There were several tourism police but I was told that the tourism police is not to protect the tourist but to protect the merchants.  So you’d better not to engage any argument with the merchants.

View from the Restaurant

View from the Restaurant

Then we went to a local restaurant at around 3:30 or 4pm.  Even though I was crazy hungry, I can tell the food is not the greatest.  But the view of the restaurant was very good. I asked a Jordanian at the restaurant how he and other Jordanians think about Israel-Gaza conflict and Hamas. Then he suddenly bent over me and whispered at my ear, “We have lots of Palestinians around in Jordan. So I cannot say publicly about that. I hope this answers your question.”

Back to Israel

Back to Israel

At 7pm, we came back to Israel border.  And again there was nobody except three of us.  I was a little bit nervous because I know how bad the Israeli border is.  But it was OK, probably there was no other people.  They did not open my bag.  I was asked at Taba border many stupid questions such as why I carry soaps, or what shampoo is for.  But this border, I got only one normal question – “What is t he purpose of your visit to Israel?”

I wonder why there are so many people in Egyptian border while there is no one in Jordanian border.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Eighth Day – Luxor

I began my day getting up at 2:30.  It was my first time flying Egypt Air.

Egypt Air Boarding by Ladder

Egypt Air Boarding by Ladder

In the Cairo International Airport, there is no sky passage to the plane which is very common in most Airports.

Muslim Prayer in the plane

Muslim Prayer in the plane

Before the take-off while the engine was running hard, suddenly they pulled down the TV with the mosque image and played the Islam prayer.  I don’t know they do this always before flight or it is because of the regular prayer time.

Sunrise in the Airplane

Sunrise in the Airplane

I saw the sunrise in the plane to Luxor.  Luxor was great.

Sitting Pharaoh is overwhelming

Sitting Pharaoh is overwhelming

This huge sitting statue of a Pharaoh thrilled me.  When the ancient people saw this statue, I am pretty sure that they were all overwhelmed and felt like the Pharaoh is God and looking down.

German Excavation

German Excavation

The two pharaoh sitting statues were side by side, and a little back, there was another smaller statue.  And I was told that the Germans digging now.

Colour is still alive

Colour is still alive

I went to the temple of Hatshpsute temple or Al-Deir Al-Bahari temple.  Queen Hatshpsute is the only female ruler in ancient Egypt.  She is the daughter of a Pharaoh, brother and wife of a Pharaoh, and step-mother of a Pharaoh.  The temple was huge and with lots of inscriptions.  And many of them have colour.  The colour is still so much alive, and I would even believe if someone tells me they painted it last year.

In the tourism site, there are always local people selling stuff.  A guy tried to sell some photos to me which I did not buy.  Initially he called 20 L.E.  Guess how much the price went down.  It got down to 1 L.E.  Wow.

Stone Work Factory

Stone Work Factory

Then I went to stone work factory, near the Queen’s temple.  It was interesting how they make and work the stone in the traditional way with traditional tools.  They showed and compared the differences between hand-made and machine-made.

The Nile

The Nile

This is the famous Nile river in Luxor.  The mother of the ancient civilisation, still Nile is feeding Egyptians.  Most people in Luxor work in tourism trade, and other small amount of people works at agriculture.

Cow Transportation

Cow Transportation

In Luxor, the animal is still very important.  So many donkeys are used as main mean of transportation, and lots of sheep and goats are on the road too.

Downtown Luxor

Downtown Luxor

This is downtown Luxor, and I bought a Arabic language music CD for my friend in Korea.

Egyptian Music

Egyptian Music

I bought the traditional Mix.  I paid 30 L.E.  They called way higher price, but I dealt with the guy several times and it came down to 30 L.E.

Burnt CD, not original

Burnt CD, not original

When I opened the CD case, what the…  Well…  But I checked that it is real music CD in a language which I do not understand.

Sugar Cane Juice

Sugar Cane Juice

I stopped at a juice store.  I was told that the sugarcane is the most important agriculture in Luxor.  The sugarcane is piled in the left, and the guy squeezed a few sticks and put some ice.  It was very good, sweet of course.  I think this is the real life Candy Crush. 🙂

Then I went to Kings Valley, but I do not have any photos because it was prohibited.  All the caves are amazing with beautiful carving and inscriptions.  It is truly amazing that those carvings and colours survived many thousand years.  Funny thing is that the most famous Pharaoh, the Tutankhamun has the smallest tomb.  His name has three parts: Tut – Ankh – Amun and means “Long Live Amun.”

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple

My next destination was Karnak temple, dedicated to the god of Amun, and his wife, and his son.  It is very huge temple, and I was told that the Pharaohs ruled here.

Thutmoses III

Thutmoses III

This Pharaoh, the step son of the famous queen conquered many cities.

Conquered Cities

Conquered Cities

And he left all the names of the cities he conquered.  The ancient Egyptian writing represents meaning, but when it is circled, they represent sound.  All the people have tie on their arm which means that they were captured and bound.

Nile View

Nile View

This is the Nile view of the hotel where I had lunch.

Bus Business Class is better than the airplane Business Class

Bus Business Class is better than the airplane Business Class

Then I flew back to Cairo by Egypt Air.  The funny thing is that they distinguish the Business Class (total 8 seats) just by curtain.  They just have a foot more room and still pays almost three times of economic seat.

Most Asians know that Japanese are mostly quiet, and polite, while Chinese are usually loud.  But Japanese can go crazy too in some situation.  That is when they are not with other Japanese or their neighbours.  Two Japanese girls were sitting behind me.  They were so loud talking and laughing, even singing as if they are drunk.  I could not endure any more, so I greeted them in Japanese.  Then they became cute and quiet Japanese girls.

Sunset in the Airplane

Sunset in the Airplane

I saw the sunrise in the plane, and I also saw the sunset in the plane again in the same day.  Egypt Air is part of Star Alliance which means I can collect the mileage.

Moon from the Airplane

Moon from the Airplane

Right after the sunset, I pictured this moon.

I had diarrhoea this morning first time in this trip.  Maybe the food and water in Egypt do not cooperate with my body.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Second Day – Beit Shearim

I had no plan for today.  But in the morning Bill from Austin, Texas came to me and asked if I am interested in day trip.  I asked him where he was going.

Bill: Capernaum.
Je: I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And the church of bread and fish.
Je: What is that?
Bill: blah blah blah…
Je: Oh, Tabgha!  I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And Caesarea.
Je: I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And Beit Shearim.
Je: Where?

So I decided to join his group.  There was another man from Germany, a retired pastor.  So we three went out for day trip.

Cave of the Coffins, Beit Shearim

Cave of the Coffins, Beit Shearim

Beit Shearim was very interesting.  It is in the city of Kiryat Tivon, and has so many tombs and caves.  The famous one is the Cave of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, and since then many Jews came here to be buried from various places.  The above one is the Cave of the Coffins.  It is huge inside.  Tons of stone coffins with beautiful inscriptions and decorations.  The cave itself is like a city with so many chambers and hallways.

Above the cave, which is more than thousand years old grave, I found an used condom with its package nearby.  It is so gross having sex on the grave.  What is wrong with people living here?

Jesus Boat

Jesus Boat

Then we went to the Museum of Jesus Boat.  This is not the actual boat, but the replica.  They found this boat underneath the bottom of Sea of Galilee, and found that it is about 2,000 years old.  McCormick group came here last January.

Tabgha

Tabgha

Then we went to Tabgha.  The bottom mosaic is very famous with four loaves and two fish.  The reason of four loaves instead of five is that Jesus is holding on loaf in his hand for blessing.  McCormick group also came here last January.

St. Peter's House, Capernaum

St. Peter’s House, Capernaum

Then we went to Capernaum.  This is the St. Peter’s house near the synagogue.  McCormick group also came here last January.

Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Then we went to Haifa.  The picture above is the Bahai Garden at German Colony in Haifa.  We ate dinner in the German Colony and the food was not great.

Mediterranean beach, Haifa

Mediterranean beach, Haifa

Then we went to a Beach in Haifa – The mediterranean beach.  The water is salty.

Caesarea in the dusk

Caesarea in the dusk

Then we went to Caesarea at the dusk.  And as you may know, the Shabbat begins at the Friday evening.  I expected nobody, but the parking lot was full and all the streets are full of parked cars.  Double parking?  Are you kidding?  Everywhere is already triple parked.  Well, because the restaurants are open until 1am, everybody came here because this is the only (kind of) place to eat out.  I also saw many Muslims waiting for the complete sunset so that they can eat.  McCormick group of course came here last January.

So called Penis Man

So called Penis Man

I found an art which I did not see last January.  And when I found it, it was surrounded by girls aged around seven to ten.  The girls were grabbing, rubbing, and touching the penis of the statue, and their mothers were taking picture of that.  Well, great.  Early education, we need that.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Israel Trip Fourteenth Day: Zippori, Mar Elias School, and Nazareth Village

Today, we first went to Zippori or Sepphoris. I have no idea where I can find this in the Bible.

Water Reservoir

Water Reservoir

This is the water reservoir little bit far from the city. It is very deep and big. It can contain more than one million gallons of water.

Roman Paved Road

Roman Paved Road in Zippori

This is Roman paved road, and still well-preserved. According to Roman recording, there was not even enough space to put needle between the stones. And the road is always two wagon width for the marching of the legions and slightly arch shape so that it can drain water to both sides. Roman architect used to say that the stone is their friend and the water is their enemy.

Not only the road, but also there were so beautiful mosaics along the road side.

Nile House Floor Mosaic

Nile House Floor Mosaic

We went into Nile House which is one of the public buildings. It contains so many beautiful floor mosaics.

Zippori Theatre

Zippori Theatre

This is a theatre. I wonder if the show was free and open to public or they charged in some way.

Toilet in private Mansion

Toilet in private Mansion

And we went into an ancient mansion. The picture above is private toilet. And the Greek writing is “to health.” Talmud has a Q&A: “How do you know some is rich?” “If he has a privy near the dining place, he is rich.” So the owner of the mansion must have been so rich having this flushing toilet near his living room where I saw the “Mona Lisa of Galilee.”

Zodiac in the Centre of Zippori Synagogue

Zodiac in the Centre of Zippori Synagogue

Then we went to a synagogue. It was also very beautiful. But the zodiac mosaic in the CENTRE of the synagogue shocked me. All other floor mosaics are related to Torah and/or Judaism, but why the ancient Jewish people put the pagan zodiac in the centre of the synagogue?

The city of Zippori is so well-preserved because it was destructed by earth quake and never rebuilt. And the city of Pompey was also so well-preserved because of the volcano. Same is Qumran. They were threatened, so they put the scriptures into jars and kept them in the caves. The community itself was completely destroyed. It may not proper to say in this way, but their disaster and catastrophe is our blessing. Because of their disaster, many things were able to be preserved, and now we can study them.

Director and Teacher of the Mar Elias School

Director and Teacher of the Mar Elias School

Then we went to Mar Elias school. The Christian school in small town of Ibillin near Nazareth. It provides education to any students including Palestinians, Arabs, and so on. They used to have Jewish students too, but none now. One of the building was funded solely by the ex-president Bill Clinton.

Kids in the class

Kids in the class

After we heard from the director and teacher, we went into a classroom. It was Hebrew class taught by Jewish teacher. And I was told that this school is the only one where Jewish and Arabic (or Palestinian) teachers teach together. The kids are typical kids – laughing a lot and noisy, happy. It was my happiest day just watching the kids being kids.

Girls who love Korea

Girls who love Korea

When we were leaving the classroom, the girls came and asked me if I am from Korea. I said, “I am from Chicago, but I was born and grew up in South Korea.” They were so happy and asked me to take picture together. And then they talked about a few Korean TV shows and signers which I did not recognise because I do not keep track with the Korean culture. I just felt wow!

Church near the school

Church near the school

Then we went to the Church next to school. If you see it from the side, you may recognise it is ark (boat) shape.

Stairway to the church

Stairway to the church

On the stairway, Jesus’ preaching on Matthew chapter 5 beginning “Blessed are…” is written in four languages of English, French, Hebrew, and Arabic.

Church door

Church door

This is the Church door. You may recognise the children around Jesus are actually from all around the world. And the two boys standing a bit farther than other kids are a Jewish boy and a Palestinian boy. The smaller boy is wearing Kipa on his head, so he is Jewish. This scene is that the Palestinian boy is bringing Jewish boy to Jesus.

Inside the church

Inside the church

This is the inside of the Church. The church is so beautiful, made out of donations not only money but also talents. Each piece was all made. The church has partition which blocks people going to the holy place. It is their tradition.

Shepherd and Sheep in Nazareth Village

Shepherd and Sheep in Nazareth Village

Then we went to Nazareth Village, kind of living museum. The sheep were in the cage with the door closed. According to Daniel, the Nazareth Village guide, During the day time, the door is open but the shepherd is standing on it in first century then, no sheep can go out, and no one can get in. This is John 10.7: “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

Tomb Gate

Tomb Gate

This is the replica of a typical first century tomb. They said that they have actors on the Easter morning, playing the resurrection scene from the Bible. If I have another chance to be in the holy land and if it is during the Easter time, I would be good to come and watch the play. And this is small replica, so the actual door stone would be much bigger.

Daniel on Wine Press

Daniel on Wine Press

This is upper part of the wine-press. People tread on the grapes and the juice flows down to the lower part which gathers and contains the juice. In the first century, they must tread on the grapes with barefoot lest they crush the seed which makes very bitter taste. According to Daniel, the wine-press is under the terrace field while the threshing field is above the terrace which is the top of the hill. That is why Gideon was threshing in the wine-press so that he can hide. This is from Judges 6.11: “and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine-press, to hide it from the Midianites.”

Watch Tower

Watch Tower

This is typical watch tower in the first century.

Olive Oil Press

Olive Oil Press

This is an olive oil press and there is olive grinder next to it. To grind the olive, they used a huge mill with heavy millstone. Usually donkey moved the millstone, but today I volunteered and moved it as if I am a donkey even wearing the yoke. They crushed all the pits because even pits contains oils. You can see three places to tie stones in the wooden arm of the press. They pressed three times, first with just one stone, then it makes best and purest oil sometimes called as virgin oil. It is cleanest, and they donate them to the temple in Jerusalem. Second time, they use two stones to make not the best but still good oil and used it for human for every possible use. They pressed the olive with all three stones for the last time to make dirty and crude quality oil, not usable for human body but they used it as lamp oil.

Carpenter and Sister

Carpenter and Sister

These people are dressed in first century Galilean. He acts as carpenter and showed us some first century skills. She also showed us how to make thread out of the sheep wool. Her name is Hannah.

First Century Synagogue in Nazareth Village

First Century Synagogue in Nazareth Village

This is first century Jewish synagogue. Unlike the other later synagogue we’ve seen so far, it does not have the seat of Moses or the scroll place. Daniel said that the synagogue literally means gathering, and served like that. People gathers, prayed, studied, talked kind of town centre. It was not religious centre until the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. One think I like in the synagogue is the pillar on the corner. The other side of the pillar is 90 degree which makes the pillar heart shape. Not only here, I’ve found those pillars in many other synagogues on actual archaeological sites. When Jesus or any other disciples including Paul went into a synagogue, they might have seen similar synagogues like this.

Daniel is kind of interesting person to me being a messianic Jew, believing in Jesus as messiah. George said there are many divisions in messianic Jews, and many of them does not think Jesus as God.

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.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Israel Trip Sixth Day: Mount Olive, City of David, Gethsemane, Shepherds Field and Home Demolition

Today we went to Mount Olive first time.

View from Mount Olive

View from Mount Olive

In the picture above, you can recognise the dome, and probably the temple wall. In front of the temple wall, you can see the Kidron Valley, and on the left side, you can see that famous Hinnom Valley.

Another View from Mount Olive

Another View from Mount Olive

This is a nice view with the Golden Dome from the Mount Olive. Jesus probably saw the similar things, except the Golden Dome and the houses in the north and west. He saw and wept. I was awed at this sight. Living in Seoul and Chicago, I am very much accustomed to the skyscrapers and giant buildings, and still awed at this. I cannot imagine how much the ancient people would have been awed at this. It is said that the Herod’s temple is the largest temple in the history (as a single platform temple). This view from Mount Olive is amazing. On the Palm Sunday, Jesus went into the city riding on a donkey. Mount Olive is on the east of Jerusalem. Shouting crowd, Palm branches, East, Sun on the back… everything indicates Messiah.

Gethsemane from Mount Olive

Gethsemane from Mount Olive

This is the Gethsemane from afar. It is very close to the city.

Necropolis, the city of the dead

Necropolis, the city of the dead

This is necropolis. In Israel’s burial custom, they put the dead body in the tomb and wait until it is totally decayed leaving bones only. Then they collect the bones and put them in a stone box with the name. In the necropolis, you can see all the bone boxes. And they put some perfume on the dead body so that it does not smell too much when the family comes to collect the bone. That is why Jesus said the lady was preparing for his funeral when she put the perfume on him.

Solomon's Wall

Solomon’s Wall

Then we went to the south side of the temple wall, just under the Al Aqsa Mosque. And this is the Solomon’s temple wall remains.

City of David

City of David

City of David was our next destination.

Royal Toilet Bowl

Royal Toilet Bowl

This is the toilet bowl from the Palace of David. It must be personal rest room for very important person, probably a king. You cannot say that David did not use it. It also has running water.

City of David, Image

City of David, Image

This is nice picture showing the City of David and the Temple in the OT times. The bottom half is the picture of modern-day at the same place. The white big thing in the middle is David’s Palace, and I can understand how and why David saw the bathing scene.

Water System

Water System

And we went to the water system, kind of secret one. They went to this passage to carry the water.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Then we saw the Canaanite Wall next to it. David and his commanders saw this wall. And the Canaanites stood a blind man and a lame man to mock David. That means not only ancient Canaanites had crude sense of humour, but also they were so confident about their wall.

Hezekiah Wall Image

Hezekiah Wall Image

At the drawing above, the left side is Canaanite Wall. And the right is Hezekiah’s protection of the spring. And the Hezekiah’s tunnel (for water) is underground from the spring into the city.

Canaanite Tunnel

Canaanite Tunnel

David must went through this tunnel.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Not all, but some of McCormick group went through the Hezekiah’s tunnel. It is actually water way. Hezekiah knew that the Assyrians coming, and the people inside the wall needed water, so he dug the water way so that they can get fresh water without going out of the city.

Water in the Tunnel

Water in the Tunnel

You can see the water is still flowing, and I actually tasted – surprisingly it was good.

Siloam

Siloam

At the end of the tunnel, we met the Siloam where Jesus healed the blind man.

Gethsemane Basilica

Gethsemane Basilica

Then we went to Gethsemane. It is the Basilica (or Church) of Agony.

Olive Trees

Olive Trees

Next to the Basilica, there is still a garden, and the biologists say those olive trees are more than 2,000 years old which means, Jesus must have seen them.

Jesus was arrested while he was praying here. Standing here, I realised that this Gethsemane is the middle point between the city and Judean wilderness. If he wanted, it is 100% possible for him to flee to where David fled. But he did NOT which means he meant his death and sacrifice.

Inside the Basilica

Inside the Basilica

Inside the Church is so beautiful. The ceilings, windows, front patterns, drawings… and everything.

View from Gethsemane

View from Gethsemane

This is the view of the temple mount and the golden dome from the Gethsemane. It was not zoomed. It just shows how close it is to the temple. Until now, I had no idea when I was reading the Bible without any knowledge of geography even though I read the maps. When Jesus was taken from the Gethsemane to the temple, and to the Pontius Pilate, and to Herod, it sounded to me like from Kansas city, to Chicago, and to Washington D.C. How can they travel in ONE day? But now I experienced and knew the distance and everything, it makes sense.

Mango Juice

Mango Juice

We went to Bethlehem and had lunch at Palestinian restaurant. See the bottle that it is filled up to the top. In America, the bottles always has some room in case of freezing. And here, this means that there is no chance to freeze.

Chicken Pita

Chicken Pita

This is chicken pita, and it was super delicious but pricier than that I expected – 40 NIS. I may skip the lunch tomorrow.

Shepherds' Field

Shepherds’ Field

Then we went to Shepherds’ Field where the angels came and told the shepherds about the birth of the Saviour. There are three places recognised as shepherds’ field, but this is Catholic one. This is the rock where the shepherds rested and probably saw the angels.

Shepherds Field Church Inside

Shepherds Field Church Inside

Inside the Church is quite beautiful and small. The acoustic is very good, but I think it was better at the St. Anne’s Church.

Shepherds Field Church Outside

Shepherds Field Church Outside

In the shepherds’ Field Church, anything down is shepherd and anything up is angel.

Terrace Agriculture

Terrace Agriculture

While we were moving on the bus, our local guide George explained us about the oldest way of agriculture. It was making a terrace as seen on the picture above. Here, the land is chalk. They dig the chalk in a row shape, and put good soil on it, and plant. And the chalk does not absorb the water, so the water flows down to the next terrace. Then you can just water only the top row. On the sites like this, it is easy to find some good soil, some chalk and bad soil, the rocks, some thorns. And this is perfectly fit with the parable of Jesus.

Palestinian Area

Palestinian Area

Then we met Chaska(?) from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions. She is very passionate and energetic Jewish woman who works and fights for the human rights of Palestinians. The photo above shows the ghetto Palestinian area without any trees. I actually drove through there, and it was so crappy, dirty, and all infrastructure was so bad, and not maintained by the government at all.

Jewish Area

Jewish Area

This is Jewish area. There are lots of trees, and high buildings. And above all, she said, Jewish area anywhere is identified by the landmark of cranes which means continuous development.

Jewish and Palestinian Resident

Jewish and Palestinian Resident

Israel government builds Jewish settlement in the heart of the Palestinian area. Here the front row is Jewish apartment which is nice and does not have any black water tank. They get enough water. Far back of the photo, you can see  the small black dots which are the water tanks. Because the government does not work on the infrastructure, they have to connect the water by themselves while they pay the same amount of water bills. And mostly they connect too many on one pipe and the water pressure drops down. That is why they must install water tanks.

Separation Wall

Separation Wall

Many, actually most of the Palestine communities are separated by the giant walls and disconnected from the neighbouring community. And they don’t have the freedom to move. This is the separation wall in Jerusalem.

House Demolition Site

House Demolition Site

This is the scene of home demolition. Israel government does not allow the Palestinians new house building permit. But they have to build. And later Israeli government give them warning of demolition. And then later suddenly they come around 1-3am and destroy the house. It is total operation with the demolition team, military, and police.

In my opinion, Israel government simply want them just disappear.

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