Thursday, April 05, 2007

Trip to Isreal

I've had fun reading Bella's exciting stories from the bottom of the world.   In return, I should at least post my impression so of Israel, right?

The trip was really great. Although I was very busy at the conference, I was do a couple of touristy things.  The conference organized a trip to visit Akko (also called "Acre"), which is a 2000+ year old town north of Haifa.  It was amazing to walk through the historic structures from the jews, the romans, the greeks, the crusaders, the ottomans, the Arabs, and whoever else was there.  There were secret tunnels of the Templar Knights and huge buildings that has only recently been uncovered.   A very cool experience.

The second thing I did was visit Jerusalem with an Israeli friend I met at the conference.  We visited the Tower of David.  They had an interesting video on the history of Jerusalem.  Bottom line message in the video:  Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.  It's not surprising they would say this.       The next stop, after some Turkish coffee was the Golgotha, a place where many Catholics believe Jesus was crucified.    It was quite a powerful experience.  I didn't expect it to be, but it was.  I had no idea that these places existed.   I'm not a particularly religious person, but there's something very moving about being in these locations.   It's as if the whole history of the world, good and bad, is flowing through you while you stand there.   Many people pray here and leave gifts.    We also saw the tablet where Jesus was supposedly laid down after he was taken down from the cross.  Then, we waited in the line to see the empty tomb. (of course, it's empty because he was resurrected, as the story goes...).

Next, we tried to visit the temple mount, but we were told it was for Arabs only on that day.   This is too bad.     This is the second holiest site in Islam.  It's built on top of a rock that Muslim's believe was the spot where Mohamed was  before  he ascended to Heaven.     Unfortunately, this is was built on top of a holy spot for Jews.   They believe this is the spot where the world was created, and also a spot where two great temples once stood (before it was destroyed by invasions).  They believe that when the next messiah comes, they are supposed to build a third great temple here.   Do you think will cause any trouble? anyone?

The final stop, before a late lunch of kebabs, was a trip to the Western Wall.  This is considered the last standing piece of the great temples.

Sorry, my pictures are not that good.  I might post them later....


Blogger Bella said...

I can´t wait to see your pics!!

4:30 PM  

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