Israel & Palestine
This small state of the Middle East, was founded after the Second World War, with an ambition to revive the ancient states of Israel and kingdom of Judah and bringing together the worldwide scattered Jewish population, back in their homeland. This resulted in violent uprisings of the Arabs in the region and neighboring states, with bloody conflicts continuing to some degree until present. The lands of the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are under blockade, a security fence separates much of the land while intense is the Jewish colonization. The problem seems to be unresolved, with a serious death toll from both sides.
In this melting pot of people, cultures and religions you will encounter a diverse population presence. From the modern, trendy part of the city to the solemn religious walled old city Jerusalem, the thousands of pilgrims who flock from all over the world, and of course the Jewish and Arab coexistsance maintaining a fragile balance.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in world history, and is the sacred center of three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. On this land unfold the narratives of the Old and New Testament, and of course the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Judaism, God chose to rest the divine presence here. For Muslims, Muhammad ascended from here to meet God. The monuments that survive today attract thousands of followers of the three religions, the most important including the Church of the Resurrection, the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock.
Hebron is the largest city of West Bank, Palestine. The Israeli army controls an area in the old town named as “H2”. A mixed population of Palestinians and around 800 Jewish settlers live there, but in a conflict situation. Palestinians are expelled from their properties and are subject to extended curfews, restrictions of movement, prohibition of vehicle pass and closure of shops and other buildings. Violent incidents with high death rate from both sides, happen often in this high militarised zone.
Jericho is a small Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the city with the oldest known protective wall in the world. Jericho is located 258 metres (846 ft) below sea level in an oasis in the Jordan Valley, which makes it the lowest city in the world. It is known from the Bible as the place of return of the Israelites after fleeing Egypt. Ruins of the old city are still preserved.
Walking on holy land…
February 2017, October 2019
Israel is a place of great interest, historical and cultural but also disappointing. The unpleasant part of the experience begins at the entrance of the country and the long wait for border controls. I personally experienced it on my first visit at the land borders with Jordan, where I had to wait for more than 2 hours for a thorough personal interrogation before approval by the intelligence service. The stamps of Arab countries in the passport makes trouble greater, especially that of Lebanon, the most hostile country for Israel. Surprisingly, on my 2nd visit and despite the border personnel’s mistrust about my 3 visits to Lebanon, 4 to Malaysia, 1 to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh for tourism, my wait lasted only 5 minutes, maybe because I’m now in their files. Exit procedures from the country can be even more time consuming, so it is good to have plenty of time before your flight. A proof of visit to Israel could prohibit a subsequent visit to many Arab countries, but the passport is not stamped so it cannot be evidence.
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