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A Stone's Throw From Jerusalem

By Garry Cook

 

Visiting the Old City of Jerusalem is on a par with standing alone in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid. The history hits you. The streets where Jesus is said to have dragged his cross, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where he is said to have been crucified, Temple Mount, the Wailing Wall and the many other sites in and around the walled city… you can’t move for sites of special religious interest.
 
There isn’t another place on earth that houses so much religious significance for so many believers.

 

It’s one of the world’s most religious sites. But the original O Little Town, which can boast it was the birthplace of Jesus, now has a six-to-eight metre wall around most of it.
 
The huge grey, concrete monolithic eyesore is a fairly blatant symbol of the problems which riddle the area between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

 

This slideshow shows tourists outside of the Room of the Last Supper. They're doing something popularly knon as talking in tongues.

 

Bethlehem

 
I visited Bethlehem and Beit Ummar in the West bank in 2008 to interview Palestinian teenager about the problems between his own subjugated nation and Israel, a country he effectively lives in but cannot visit.
 
That interview and information about the uncomfortable Outsiders project can be seen elsewhere on this site.
 
As for the beautiful town of Bethlehem, I experienced a mixture of emotions during my visit, from the fear of tension of getting in and out of the town (thanks to the Israeli security checkpoint) to the contradicting emotions of horror and humour while looking at the depressing, heavily graffitied grey wall.
 
Bethlehem is just a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. Sadly, throwing stones is the least the people from this region have to worry about.
 
In a further twist, the wall features a huge piece by the popular Bristol graffiti artists Banksy.

 

For more information about the wall.

 

And you can see images taken in Jerusalem over at the travel section of this website.

Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel is nothing to write home about - but Jerusalem, it's Old City and Bethlehem are must-see destinations for any history lover.