I am probably touching a topic that I have not enough knowledge of. Never the less I can still speak of my personal experience no matter how “blue-eyed”, as we express gullibility in Finnish, it is.
I recently visited Israel and was surprised how many cultures and religions and different divisions of a same religion live peacefully side by side on such a small piece of land respecting each other and doing business together. There are always a few fanatics who mess up the records and these events get broadcasted from a certain political angle. People are still living their lives as usual but need of course to be more aware of the situation.
I for myself will try to improve my perception before jumping into conclusions about people belonging to a certain nation or religious group. It is much more profitable to concentrate on how alike we all are and how similar our needs still are. In the Old City little boys were pointing at us like they were shooting at us with their fingers. An elderly man with his shop signalled them not to. All business was suffering due to the unfortunate recent events in Israel. The merchant had a more mature perspective and his several colleagues along the streets seemed to be simply tired with the situation.
Of course it is difficult to understand the peaceful wishes of a nation where women are required to spend 2 years in the army. However, our hostess had passed that time mostly helping Palestinians at the control points. And I don’t think I’ve ever before been pointed at with a real gun. I just walked by a guard whose gun happened to point my way for a split of a second but it still felt uncomfortable. Yet, the shops sold T-shirts with texts like “See peace, hear peace, speak peace.”
We visited a museum where there was a quote by Menachem Begin (1913 – 1992 ) where he said that if he wishes to be remembered for something let it be preventing a civil war from taking place. A good leader and surely not the only Jewish one.
The Western or Wailing Wall happened to have lots of joy the day we visited as they had some inaugural feast going on. No chaos or suffering but loads of happiness. People were hugging and laughing together. Hopefully it will sooner than later also happen on a greater scale around the city and the entire country.
A quote in a sign by the Western Wall entrance:
“My House Is A House of Prayer…For All Peoples.”
The Old City of Jerusalem has over 50 churches in the area of 0,9km. Considering the amount of spiritual people working and practising in that space I think they are all doing an amazing job!