Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Visitor to the Holy City

The Jewish Blogosphere is a small place, and I seem to have managed to make a few friends out there. One of them, Yaakova, from, "Finding Her Voice," was flying into Eretz Yisrael for the first time, and asked if she could bring me anything. Sadly, I had smashed the screen on my digital camera during my trip to Harsina. Since then, I've been taking pictures blind. (I can't check on the screen, I only know whether they came out or not once I get home and download them.) My current camera being 3 years old, I went looking for a new camera here in Israel. Unfortunately, due to Israel's severe taxation of just about everything above bread and water, all I could find was the exact same 3-years-out-of-date camera that I had just brokenm and it cost triple what a normal, brand new camera in the United States would go for.

That's where Yaakova came in. I was able to buy a new Fuju FA800 to replace my old Fuji Finepix A550 (Fuji still gets the best color shots, hands down.) The camera was shipped to her place, and she was generous enough to bring it all the way out here and schlep it around with her on her tour across the country until she made it to Jerusalem.

We met at the Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Museum, a few hours before Shabbat as her tour group left. There was empty room on her tourbus so I hitched a ride with them across town back to their hotel in majority Arab East Jerusalem, which is much, much closer to my home in Pisgat Ze'ev.

Meeting Yaakova on the Bus.

Disembarking from the bus at The Olive Tree, we both had a few minutes and decided to go find the American Colony Hotel.

The hotel is in East Jerusalem, but not too deep and still a reasonably safe neighborhood. The grave of Shimon HaTzaddik is nearby, as is the American Consulate, so you still see plenty of Jews on the Street.. The American Colony Hotel itself was, in fact, originally an Arab Palace built for Rageeb Husseini, father of mass murderer and Nazi ally Haj Amin Al Husseini. During the peace process, it served as a major center for Palestinian diplomatic meetings. Today, after the collapse of the Peace Process, the Arab-on-Arab massacres occurring in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the building of the security barrier severing East Jerusalem from the Wild West Bank, and the reassertion of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, the place isn't exactly the hive of activity it once was.

The guard at the front looked a bit surprised to see a kippah-wearing Jew walking in.
"Uh... okay."
I walked through the lobby and took some photos. I also picked up some tourist brochures, "This Week in Palestine," and the like.

Mosaics and archways. The Husseini Nazis had taste.

The front entrance to the hotel.

When we walked outside, I photographed some of the embroidery on sale when one of the employees ran up to me. "No pictures! No pictures! The management doesn't want anyone taking pictures of the hotel."

Hey! No Pictures! Please, no pictures!

Riiiiiiight..... Yeah, whatever. It was time to go home anyway.

An empty street in East Jerusalem on the way back to the bus.

On the way home I read through "This Week in Palestine." It spoke of the lovely handicrafts of the Women of Ramallah, the delicious cuisine of Al Khalil (that's what the Arabs call Hebron,) and the usual whining about how the wicked Jews buy houses in East Jerusalem and build walls for no reason whatsoever. Funny, no mention of the kidnappings of Journalists, or of rival Palestinian Parliamentarians machine gunning one another's children to death on the streets. Guess that would put a damper on the tourist industry.

1 comment:

john smith said...

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