Vacationing in Israel during troubled times

26 Oct 2015 09:07 - 26 Oct 2015 09:09 #11 by ScienceChic
I disagree. Reverend Revelant is not trying to "sell" us a story or convince us that this is how it absolutely is throughout the entire country, only show us a slice of life from his first-hand experience - things are rarely what they seem and we cannot judge any situation by what we read in the "news". The media focuses on events, politics, murder and mayhem; this is the human side of the equation, the daily lives of the people whom we never get to meet and know. I, for one, am grateful for his observations and courage in going outside the "safe" touristy places, and for sharing that perspective here with us.

You know, for all of your travel, you could do something like this You Know Who. The next time you go somewhere, take pictures and start a thread telling us the story of what you observed, learned, and appreciated. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, it could even be a food and beer log - we'd love that.

For now, we are learning from RR, feel free to ask him questions but no derailing or hijacking the thread. :)

"Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T'Challa, Black Panther

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill
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26 Oct 2015 09:14 - 26 Oct 2015 09:17 #12 by You Know Who
The American media is in bed with Israel...

Too much of the rest of the world - Israel is a terrorist state


just Google it..I'm holding a majority opinion here, SC

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26 Oct 2015 09:18 #13 by ScienceChic
That may be, but that would be for a political discussion in the Courthouse. This is a recount of a personal vacation, hence its placement in the Campfire.

Hey Rev, you haven't mentioned the food yet - how was it? :eat:

"Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T'Challa, Black Panther

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

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26 Oct 2015 09:32 #14 by You Know Who
I understand...but he is getting very political and honestly, the thread would infuriate most of the people in the world.

I'll just avoid the thread..

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27 Oct 2015 05:57 - 27 Oct 2015 06:19 #15 by Reverend Revelant
Boring (Oct. 3, 2015 - The Naked Journalist)

Just a little palate cleanser while I work up a longer entry.

If you have ever taken a transcontinental flight, you may know how boring they can be. Between the cramped coach seats, movies that Amazon wouldn't even feature, prison-like meals and rude passengers, a jump "across the pond" can sometimes be compared to attending an nine hour school board meeting.

The bathrooms actually offer more seating room then what they give you in coach, but there is limited picture-taking opportunities.



I kept reading that sign in the bathroom that said "As a courtesy to the next passenger we suggest that you use your towel to wipe off your wash basin." I was so bored, I did. I went to each of the four bathrooms in coach and spent about 10 minutes in each one wiping down the counters.



Try this the next time your on a flight. Stay seated on the toilet as you press that button to flush. It will actually dry off any wet bits in your nether regions.


Waiting for Armageddon since 33 AD

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27 Oct 2015 08:17 #16 by FredHayek
You managed to have much more fun than I did on my last Transatlantic flight. :coolwink:

President Obama: Never underestimate Joe Biden's ability to f*** things up.

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27 Oct 2015 11:55 #17 by ComputerBreath
I am truly enjoying these passages or stories. It is extremely interesting hearing about someone else's journey and experience overseas.

From personal experience, from when I was stationed in Turkey--it so isn't what it is portrayed as.

Thanks Rev.

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28 Oct 2015 07:58 #18 by You Know Who
This is nothing compared to our recent James Bond style adventures escaping from candarli turkey recently....

And what about people that actually needed to use the bathroom to go to the bathroom? And furthermore- I actually hold my breath when I use the restroom on airplanes...I can't get out of there fast enough! I can't imagine hanging around in one?

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29 Oct 2015 04:58 - 29 Oct 2015 18:59 #19 by Reverend Revelant
Vistas (Israel, various dates - The Naked Journalist)

A quick tour of some of the sites I visited in Israel.


One of the streets in the Old City of Jerusalem, Oct. 4, 2015. At the top of the picture you can see a shadow of the Muslim Dome of the Rock, which is situated on the Temple Mount (Photo by Walter L. Newton)


A view from the top of the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea Maritima Oct. 6, 2015, looking out to the Mediterranean. Caesarea was built by Herod the Great and included a palace, theatre, a small hippodrome (for games and chariot races) and numerous other structures. Pilate probably lived here when he was procurator of Judea. Caesarea is on the coast about midway between Tel Avi and Haifa, (Photo by Walter L. Newton)


The harbor at Haifa, Oct. 6, 2015. This view is from the top of Mount Carmel. (Photo by Walter L. Newton)


The sea of Galilee, Oct. 7, 2015, seen from a high-rise building that had been converted into hotel-like rooms. Tiberius has been compared to Miami Beach, minus all the partying in the streets. Even in ancient times it was known as a "resort" town. (Photo by Walter L. Newton)


The Dome of the Rock, Oct. 13, 2015. In transliterated Arabic, it is called Qubbat Al-Sakhrah. The dome sits on the Temple Mount platform at the location of the first and second Jewish temples. After the destruction of the first Jewish temple in 586 BCE by the Babylonians, the second temple was rebuilt starting in 538 BCE and Herod the Great rebuilt the area around the temple, increasing its size and grandeur. After the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE by the Romans, the temple area remained in ruins until the Muslims rebuilt the area again and the Dome of the Rock has stood in this location since 691 CE. (Photo by Walter L. Newton)


The Dead Sea, Oct. 15, 2015, viewed from the Herodian complex on top of Masada. (Photo by Walter L. Newton)

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03 Nov 2015 21:52 #20 by Reverend Revelant
Simchat Torah (Jerusalem - Oct. 4, 2015 – The Naked Journalist)

We arrived at the Capitol Hotel in East Jerusalem about three in the afternoon Oct. 4, 2015, a few hours before the evening of Simchat Torah. Simchat Torah translates literally as ‘rejoicing with the Torah,’ the Torah referring to the first five books of the Bible along with the oral traditions.

Simchat Torah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the yearly cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle.

The first night of our stay, Sunday, was at the Capitol. The room in our eventual home for two weeks, on Yafo Street in West Jerusalem, would not be ready until Monday afternoon, when holiday goers headed back home.

Even though we just came off a grueling 24 hours in the air transportation system, the thrill and excitement of being in a new county was enough motivation to hit the streets.

We headed out, about an hour after sundown, for a short five minute walk to the Damascus Gate of the Old City. There were police and border security at the gate and we had to show our passports.

The streets on the other side of the Damascus Gate were almost empty. We were walking through the Muslim Quarter, headed for the Western Wall.

As we travelled down Hagai Street, we only saw a few shops open. The day before, Oct. 3, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Benita were killed in a knife attack on this street. Benita’s wife, Adele and their two-year-old son were injured.

I didn’t know if the empty streets and shuttered shops were due to the incident the day before or because it was a holiday for Israel. Maybe it was a combination of both.

The empty streets gave an other-worldliness to this part of the Old City. It felt later in the evening then it really was. Groups of police hovered at the intersections of the narrow streets.

At one shop that was open, I heard the familiar squawk of parrots. There was an African Grey sitting on a hand rail on the street and inside the shop was a caged blue and gold macaw.

I asked the Arab shopkeeper if I could perch the grey on my hand. After assuring him I owned a parrot and I knew how to handle them, he let me perch the bird. Then we perched the macaw on my girlfriends arm.


This blue and gold macaw belonged to an Arab shopkeeper in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. His shop was one of the few open the evening of Simchat Torah. (Photo by Walter L. Newton – The Naked Journalist)

Further down the street we heard singing, in Hebrew, coming from the second story of a building we were passing. Later I learned that it was Israeli men carrying out part of the rituals of Simchat Torah.

This particular night is the only night of the year that the Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and read at night. Passages are read from the book and the men dance around the synagogue seven times with the scrolls. This can go on for hours.

Our designation was the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel. This was my first time in the Old City and I found the signage confusing and sometimes nonexistent. We probably took more twists and turns then necessary.

We heard more singing off in the distance, which I suspected was coming from the Western Wall area. But the sounds echoed off the narrow streets and ancient buildings, which only made it more difficult to locate its source.

As we crossed over into the Jewish Quarter, the streets suddenly became more congested and most of the crowd were headed in the same direction, toward the Western Wall. We merged into the crowd and let them guide us to our designation.

The wall itself is magnificent to behold at any time of day, but at nighttime, lit up, it takes on a character of its own. It’s like a silent sentinel, overseeing centuries of history, conflicts and dreams.


The Western Wall plaza was filled with tourist and Jews celebrating Simchat Torah Oct. 4, 2015. At the top right of the picture you can see a shadow of the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is situated on the Temple Mount (Photo by Walter L. Newton – The Naked Journalist)

For the Jews it is the last physical vestige of the complex that housed their holy Temple. For the Muslims, the wall is part of the structure that now supports the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque. For Christians, it’s a place where their savior walked, prayed and taught.

Jews were at the wall, singing, praying, dancing and socializing. Simchat Torah is a reverent but happy holiday. They celebrate the greatness of the Torah and their relationship to the holy words of the text. It’s an outward response to their internal esteem for the word of God.

But between that wall and the Dome of the Rock, there is a chasm as wide as the universe, a never-ending political and religious war that has fostered a mutual distrust between Israel and the rest of the Muslim world.

As I walked back through the city to my hotel, it occurred to me that the shopkeeper with the parrot took the time and effort to share his pet with me. There was a momentary connection between him and myself, in the mist of all the tensions that were swirling around the city.

I know, it’s trite, but I will say it anyway. Maybe the Jews and Arabs all need to get pets. Then they can work on the big stuff.

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