Thursday, July 21, 2005

Chapter 17

Several amazing (some terrible) things happened during that second trip to Israel, most of them on one particular night. First of all, I went to Mike's Place,

Mike's Place

on the beach in Tel Aviv, to have a beer and toast the memories of those who had died in the bombing there, about six months before. As I raised my glass, I saw a sight which brings fear into any heart familiar with the Middle East: a News crew...... They were with Thomas Friedman who had come there to interview the bartender, a survivor of the blast. He and his crew then decided to interview the soldiers we were with, so there went dinner.

Thomas Friedman at Mike's Place

Then my rented cell phone rang and it was my mother in tears. Was I alright? There'd been a suicide bombing outside an army base. Yes, I'm fine , I told her, I am on the beach in Tel Aviv,

The beach in Tel Aviv

near the American Embassy.....Perhaps not the smartest thing to tell my worried mother. That same night, a lovely little cafe in Jerusalem was bombed, killing a bride to be and her father, as well as a Palestinian Christian who worked there.

As I was there three weeks, I had two weekends. The first was spent in a Jerusalem neighborhood about two miles as the crow flies from Ramallah.

Beautiful, but only a couple of miles from Ramallah

I spent Shabbat with some very old, close friends from our days in the Messianic Movement. Around the dinner table on Friday night were an assortment of very Orthodox looking people. Men with beards, tzitzit, black pants, white shirts, women with head scarves and long sleeves and several babies, the full kit. However out of this whole crowd, only one other person, beside myself was actually, really and truly Jewish.........This was Messianic Role Playing at it's very finest. And it's hard to be too harsh about it because as we celebrated the Sabbath, the sounds of sirens and helicopters flying toward the Mukata would interrupt the proceedings. I also discovered that in the real Hasidic community in Israel, there are not a few hidden Christians, several of them Catholic.

to be continued.....