Balancing on a Tightrope

We moved to Jerusalem, Israel in August,

that hot time of year when the windows are open all night.

For weeks, when I heard noises in the night of firecrackers and gun shots,

I would run to the window to see what was happening:

another Arab wedding, another party, another random celebration.

It took awhile, but I eventually stopped listening and looking.

On Friday night there were noises again,

but this time I got up out of bed to look.

I saw nothing, all was quiet.

Around Israel 6 people have been killed in less than a month,

by the terrible “car intifada” and “knife intifada” attacks.

I try not to be political here at RJS,

but incitement has been fueled and fed for a long time.

However,

image sunny day in Jerusalem  Israel

most of Jerusalem is quiet

Yet everyone is watching carefully for what could be next.

image Tzomat Hagush bus stop

This man dressed in white at Tzomet Hagush bus stop

got more than a second glance from a passing police car.

Last Friday Abu Mazen called for a “Day of Rage.”

image men playing music on street

But the music for Einstein on Azza played on,

as hundreds of people listened to university lectures

and gathered in restaurants,

image people at street cafe

including music at this location, 100 meters from the Prime Minister’s residence,

where 11 people were killed and 54 injured

by a suicide bomber in 2002.

image boys window shopping in Mamilla Mall

In Mamilla Mall you could window shop and dream.

image people walking to old city by Jaffa gate

 Jaffa Gate looked the same,

only the beigele sellers were missing.

people walking in old city

Inside Jaffa Gate people were out,

image going into arab shuk

with extra security entering the Arab shuk.

Image western wall plaza entrance

But huge  protests and rage were hard to find,

as this security team was more interested in checking their cell hones.

image Kossel plaza

Certainly police and lots of other security personnel were visible

around the Western Wall plaza.

image women in colorful clothing at kotel

Fewer visitors made it easier to get a place to pray by the Wall.

I heard noises coming from Silwan,

image Arab boy on roof top

and found boys on the roof tops looking for the source:

firecrackers, tear gas shots or real bullets?

But there were no reports of serious incidents there.

Perfect weather in the fall is the time to be outside,

and not inside these old stone buildings that do not warm up.

image Liberty Bell Park

The Liberty Bell Park was empty.

Usually on Fridays the park is filled with Arab families picnicking,

image a bird in empty Gan Paamon playground

and the playground filled with Arab women and children.

They should be raging – that they are stuck inside on a glorious day,

leaving the playground for the birds.

image new Hebrew sign

In Jerusalem, there is a new cinema,

image Jerusalem road

new roads,

image Jerusalem new bridge at Malha Mall

 new walkway to cross from Malha Mall to Teddy Stadium,

image new park in Jerusalem

and new park nearby under construction.

image oud festival

And now is the annual Oud Festival time celebrating Arab music.

Today I followed two young men speaking Arabic.

They went into same building I did, to their bank.

One was wearing an Israeli army backpack.

image of Hebrew sign

Signs celebrating “Aliyah for Everyone ” are up near the Jerusalem Theater.

New immigrants are arriving in November,

to add the the strange mix of old and new that is Jerusalem, Israel.

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