The sun was boiling whatever was left to be boiled in us when we climbed one of the hills in Jerusalem to see the part of the city from above. Totally lost on a pavement, looking at our feet and still dragging ourselves up, trying not to touch very hot metal fences and street lamps during our climb, we have approached the corner which could lead us further the hill or perhaps offer a little so much appreciated and needed shadow. I turned around to look at the olive gardens…
Peaceful and calming surroundings in this not very calm and peaceful country, where two religions keep fighting each other for reasons I do not comprehend. In my mind there is a place for any believes and the need for constant reminder that one of them is greater than another is less than necessary.
During our trip to Israel and Palestine in June this year three Jewish teenagers were captured. 3 weeks later, on 30 June, their bodies were found. We were safely back home in the UK just to observe an awful and horrible course of events escalating from 12 of June – the day the teenagers were captured.
My sister and her partner Khaled were flying from Germany, where they live permanently – Khaled, born in Palestine and living in Germany since he was 3 years old has a German passport. All what he wanted to do was visiting his family and be a part in a family ceremony I wrote about here. They spent 5 hours being kept at the airport in Tel Aviv as the Israeli government felt an urgent need to talk with Khaled. They eventually let them in.
I love sacred places, I love churches just because they are beautiful and to be honest – they are the most amazing buildings I have ever seen. I wanted to see a place where three sacred buildings are located – The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel , Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Khaled took us there despite feeling uncomfortable walking near The Walling Wall. He was simply afraid of being stopped by Israeli soldiers.
For me, as a traveler visiting all three places was an amazing experience – people’s faith was practically dripping off them. We have seen people crying, praying, putting little notes inside the Wall, hugging each other, laughing, talking, preaching, teaching… It was such an emotional thing to experience.
For Khaled it was more about being in a place which is sacred for him and at the same time observing an archaeological diggings being carried out very close to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He can never be sure if he is going to be let in again next time, he cannot be sure if his family who lives in Israel is not going to suffer more than they already suffer, and he cannot be sure if the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be where it is now when he is allowed to visit next time.
It is quite difficult to understand what he felt being in a country his parents needed to fled about 40 years ago, leaving everything behind, seeking a refuge in Germany, saying goodbyes to the rest of the family and not knowing if they are going to see each other again… So this post is for Khaled and his family, just to say a simple thank you for taking us on an incredible journey to his home.