Monday, July 03, 2006

Promoting Peace

Monday, 3 July. 7:21 p.m. Writing from a hostel in Tel Aviv. * This morning at 6:30 I decided to take one last walk through the narrow, serpentine lanes of Old City Jerusalem before catching a cab for Tel Aviv. Few people were out yet, so I expected it to be peaceful and nice. I was about half way to the north entrance of the West Wall when I passed two IDF soldiers going the other way. Following shortly after them were six Orthodox Jews wearing side ringlets, hats, and prayer shawls. They were carrying holy books. Perhaps they had been to the West Wall for an early prayer. Ahead of me I heard angry words. An Arab man on a trash collecting tractor and trailer had evidently turned in front of a Jewish man, part of the earlier group who had fallen behind. Quickly the men went from yelling to shoving. The Arab man jumped off his tractor in an angry, defiant manner and the two men started trading punches. I turned around and whistled loudly for the soldiers, then ran down to the men and jumped between them, yelling "No! No!" I got them seperated with strong pushes to each chest and then stood between them with arms extended until the soldiers ran down and took control. As they were checking ID's I picked up the Jewish man's glasses and handed them to him before they were stepped on. With the soldiers distracted by radioing identification information into headquarters the two men continued occasionally to trade insults. I gave the Jewish man the universal sign for "chill out"; two hands palms toward him with a raising of the eyebrows and a slight shake of the head. After awhile the soldiers headed up the street with the two men in custody. * I continued my walk and shortly saw an Arab man hiding behind a corner and pissing on the threshold through which the Jews must walk to get to the West Wall entrance. Thresholds are very important in the Jewish religion, and this man was making sure that each Jew who walked by must pass over his urine. Later, as I was riding out of the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, the last thing I saw was two policewomen stopping an old Arab woman and going through her bags. -There is a good deal of ill will and unrest here. * This afternoon I swam in the Medeterranian Sea. I have finished my responsibilities on the dig, and have done what I can to promote peace between the Arabs and Jews. I guess my work here is done. I fly back to the U.S. tomorrow.


Blogger Bev Blair said...

Kregg, I don't know how I found your blog today but here I am. I guess I was led to you through six degrees of blog. It was good to be with you on the streets of the Middle East, glad that you are well. You and Sandra are often on our minds and always in our fond memories. Bob and I are well. Our boys are thriving. Michigan is a pleasant place in the summer. Hello to Sandra. I will write to her this summer. Love, Bev

July 03, 2006 5:43 PM  

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