Dome Make Me Go!

What a day! Today we went into East Jerusalem to visit the three holy sites for Christianity, Judaism and Islam. When visiting Temple Mount we were able to get a glimpse of the little Palestinian control allotted by the Israelis. We were stopped at the modesty checkpoint to make sure everyone was properly covered. Something I found interesting was learning about the Jewish temple that was once under the Temple  Mount. Because no one knows where it is exactly, Jewish people are not allowed up onto the entire area because they haven’t been properly cleaned to enter the potential Jewish holy site. But as a form of revolt/protest many Jews get as close as they can and begin praying. This is seen as an insult by the Muslims who want to be respected and allowed to pray privately. The only reason the Israeli police escorted the Jewish people out of the area was because they didn’t want another riot to ensue.

Next stop was the Wailing Wall, although it was very interesting, what really grabbed my attention was the gift shop! When we would look at the souvenirs being sold, depicting the wall, they seemed to have forgotten something. The Dome of the Rock! It was completely omitted from any post cards and there were even architecture games coercing the buyer to “build the new temple”! It was fascinating to see an entire store devoted to selling these inaccurate souvenirs.  And then would you would walk outside, it was clear, that the Dome was still there and had not disappeared, as it was shown in the store.

Lastly we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which was very crowded but worth the quick visit. While standing outside of the church it was incredible to hear the call to prayer from the minarets, and that’s when it became clear how close everything was. The variety of people that came to visit these holy sites ranged from all over, it really was a sight to see.

As our trip was wrapping up something shocked me when we left through Damascus gate. As we were waiting for the bus we see a Palestinian being searched and forcefully held down. The Israeli guards were being aggressive and rifling through his papers but that wasn’t even the worst part. Right to the left of all of this, a couple Orthodox teenagers were laughing and pointing at the Palestinian. They thoroughly enjoyed watching him be held down, helpless. Watching this made me livid and I can not understand how they found it funny. Yes, it is true that they are fed a different narrative that normalizes these actions, but laughing at someone else’s misery is not something I will ever be able to rationalize.  Overall we had a very full day, filled with information and new experiences!


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