Checkpoint that Palestinians must go through to get to work in Jerusalem
Well I thought I'd update everyone while I had the chance between classes right now. I had a very nice weekend spent in Jerusalem
and Tzvat. In Jerusalem I was participating in a conference on the current security issues facing Israel. We started the weekend with a tour of the security fence which Israel is still in the process of erecting. This is created quite the controversy within the government and throughout the country, which is why it still remains unfinished. The fence is supposed to prevent terrorists from entering Jerusalem from the West Bank. However, it is difficult to determine where to put the fence, because the border of the West Bank is still very debated.
We got to see some of the wall up close at the checkpoint into Bethleham.
Walled entrance into Bethlahem
It was strange to be at this actual place and to see how little of this "wall" is actual wall. ONly about 3% of of the entire thing is walls as we think of it with concrete and barbed wire, the majority of it looks like normal metal fence (except of course that it is double electrified). This does not mean that anyone touching it gets it electrified, just that the IDF is immediately notified if anything touches it so they can go to the alerted area.
Besides this tour of the fence, we also had various speakers and discussions about the other issues that Israel is dealing with today. One of the most interesting lecture was about the Palestinian media. The man speaking was from an organization that studies all aspects of Palestinian media, from crossword puzzles, to tv shows to textbooks.
Far away view of the fence/wall
I was amazed at how much anti-semitism and anti-israeli sentiments were in all of these (even the crossword puzzles hints was full of this). This really showed how ingrained this hatred is from a very early age.
After spending these couple days in Jerusalem I went to Tzfat with Marcos for the day. We were literally the only people in the entire city, aside from a few kids running around. I guess with the tourism season ending and it being Sunday, Tzfat is kind of dead on that day. All the other times I have been there it had been so packed in the streets and shops, so it was kind of nice to be able to wander around without being shoved by anxious tourists. We walked through all the artists colonies and the ancient synagogues and saw the cemetary too (which was a bit creepy since we didnt get there until dusk). Overall it was a really nice weekend and now it is time for me to get to class and tutoring.