I am posting this unfinished, because I have a few things to do now, but I will keep on writing this evening.
Today I had only a few things to do. I went to the post to send my German SIM-card back to my son and on my way to the post office I passed by that man who told me how to find Ben Yehuda Street two days ago. He owns the shop I was just standing at and I saw a fridge with water bottles. This is what I badly needed, so I entered his shop and bought a bottle of water. 1½liters, that’s enough for the time being. He invited me to come back for a coffee. From there I walked to the Post office. There is a guard outside the entrance and another guard inside operating the metal detector. At the entrance you give him your bags – in my case my handbag and my backpack and he had a deep look into it.
Of course the metal detector still beeped, because I wear a belt, had my phone in hip pocket and an mp3-player in the pocket of my blouse. On the other side of the detector, I grabbed my things and cleared the way, so that the next one could enter.
Inside the post office there are a few rows of chairs I first asked a man who obviously was from Magen David Adom how this works. He showed me where to pull a number. The device printed me a little bill with the number 318 on it and I sat down to wait. After about 10 minutes it was my turn and I first asked the officer for an envelope to send a letter to Germany. I glued the SIM-card for my son with adhesive tape into the inside of the envelope and wrote his and my ddress on it. This altogether as a registered letter cost me a 38 shekel – well, not cheap!
From there I got back to the little store where I got the water and asked for the coffee and while he was making it, I picked a Magnum icecream from his freezer. I sat down and we talked a bit – How’s the business etc and he sounded a bit wearily and devotional. Well, he couldn’t do anything about it. He has a shop at an excellent corner and actually he should make a lot of business, but his shop was empty. He gave me the coffee and he told me, that business was bad – really bad. I wanted to pay the coffee but he refused – he said, he had invited me and he even wanted to give me the Magnum for free, but of course I couldn’t accept this and he took the money for the ice.
I made my way back to the old city, passed the Jaffa-Gate made a photo and just at that moment a Christian Nurse walked by, walked a few more steps and stopped, as a police officer came along and the two talked. It was so normal, that both easily could deal with each other. As they talked, I asked them, if I could take a photo of them and they agreed.
The two kept talking and I left the scene and walked down to the Jewish quarter. Actually I wanted to visit the temple mount. I walked through the Shuk (the market in the old city) and you cannot pass by the shops without being called in by the shop owners continuously. So I stopped by a Bedouin shop and stepped in and he had quite nice things for sale. Nevertheless I had to tell him, that I was short on money and that I had to hedge the few Euro I had. But he showed me nice things and he assured, that he made all these things on his own. Well, as I see this young man standing here his little shop, I don’t believe him. All this takes time to make and he doesn’t manufacture while he is trying to sell things and offers the people a tea.
Practically all store owners are gently businessmen who know how to swathe their potential customers. Looking at all the pieces he offered I can say, that he probably produced nothing of it on his own. The stuff looks exactly like the pieces in the other stores. Only few parts are produced locally – the rest comes from China. In parts they admit it, saying that the others buy the stuff in China but of course he manufactures them here in Yerushalayim. It’s always the same every shop owner tells you the same. The others are bad but only he is clean and worth the money.
It’s the same with the Kippahs. Before you enter the Shuk there is a store run by Arabs. They sell everything: Kippahs, Menoras, Magen David, Crucifixes etc and they sell you a knitted Kippah for 60,– Shekel, but if you go down to the Jewish quarter, you’ll find much better Kippahs for 40,– Shekel.
Of course I knew that my son wouldn’t want it, but one day he will come to Israel and then he might visit places where he will wear it, because as an honest person he honors what is holy to others, so he will wear it occasionally.
I made a few more photos of real artwork. Not the rubbish you get in the Shuk. In the Jewish quarter, you get the real things for a really competitive price.
Of course I also speak with all the dealers and I get different accounts. The Bedouin actually is only concerned about his business. The Christian is concerned about peace and about his business. The Arab says he doesn’t want to say a word and the Jew is concerned about the peace here, about when the world will finally recognize what is really going wrong.
From there I went on to the Kotel. I go there as often as I can. At the bottom line it’s not so often, but if I isolate my own experience, praying at the Kotel I can say that it’s really good. On the other hand I find it annoying how indecent tourists behave at this holy place.
There was for instance this American “lady” who posed at the wall. She casually leaned at the wall while here fellow travelers made a trophy photo. This is really disrespectful and undecent and when you are at the Kotel and watch the other “ladies” how they show up and how they behave, you are wondering, if they have anything in their live they can keep holy.
I don’t know.
I try to create a moment, where I don’t see all this so that I can be alone with G-d.
When you look at all this, you walk the Shuk, seeing the Arabs selling Magen Davids, »חי«, Mezuzahs and how they dare to explain the religious and spiritual background of a thing they would love to annihilate better today than tomorrow, you see, that it’s only about business. The shuk is a tourist attraction which has the same moral value as the Oktoberfest in Munich. Here, nothing is real. You better close your ears, don’t look left nor right and leave the Shuk as fast as you can, because up in the city you’ll get everything much cheaper and a knitted Kippah may be for sale at less than 10 Shekel.