The International Writers Festival is hosting events all this week 

in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first community to be built outside the walls 

"photo windmill", "image windmill", "picture Jerusalem windmill"

of Jerusalem, perhaps best known for its iconic Montefiore Windmill

which is now undergoing renovation.

This Jewish neighborhood was unsafe and deserted from 1948–1967.

In answer to a question the speaker encouraged writers to write about

 what they know.  What do I know?

"picture Yemin Moshe" ,"photo steps', "image Jerusalem"

 I know that it was not easy to get to the lecture hall as the narrow streets

"photo Jerusalem","image Yemin Moshe", "Picture Jerusalem Day"

were full of school children.

"picture Jerusalem", "photo Old City" "image Old City walls"

on their way to the Old City.

This week marks 45 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

"photo Jerusalem","image J Street","picture interview"

As Channel 1 looked for a story at the Writers Festival,

"photo Jerusalem", "image double decker bus", "photo J Street"

I was amazed by the sight across the valley near the Old City walls.

"photo Jerusalem", "image J Street", "picture Jerusalem Day"

Hundreds and hundreds of Israeli school children

"photo Old City", "picutre Al Quds", "photo Al Quds"

were climbing the path towards the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

"picture Al Quds", "photo Al Quds", "Al Quds image"

In 1965 when Jerusalem was divided and under Jordanian rule,

 a Jewish person could not get near the Kotel, the Western Wall,

so this photo had to be taken at the edge of No-Man’s Land.

"photo Kosel", "image Kosel","picture Al Quds"

Next week for the Shavuot holiday, tens of thousands

 of worshipers will pack the plaza for the break of dawn services.

"picture east Jerusalem", "photo east Jerusalem", "image east Jerusalem"

 I stood on this pedestrian bridge watching 

"picture Al; Quds", "image J Street", "photo Jerusalem"

the endless stream of school children walking  on my left.

"picture nakba", Photo East Jerusalem", "image Nakba riots"

At that very moment, on my right

smoke was rising from Arab neighborhoods.

It was Nakba Day, the “catastrophe” or “disaster” the Arab world

has observed for 64 years because of the establishment of Israel.

"picture Arab girl". "photo Arab girl", "image Arab girl"

Below, an Arab girl was walking alone

"picture Palestinian boy","photo Palestinian child?,"image Palestinian boy"

and this Arab boy was hanging around the cinema.

They were heading home around the time PA leader Mahmoud Abbas was 

in Ramallah inciting the crowd with charges of “ethnic cleansing”.

"picture East Jerusalem", "photo Jerusalem" "image Arab boys"

I passed through the Liberty Bell Park

"Arab boys photos","picture Arab boys, "palestinian boys image"

and saw two Arab boys climbing on a sculpture in the gardens.

"picture Israel flag", "image Jerusalem Day", "photo Jerusalem street"

It is not easy to relocate under the best of circumstances,

but my Christian friends from Lebanon did it in America.

My Jewish friends from Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq and Morocco

lost everything when they were forced from their childhood homes,

but they moved on, and built good lives for themselves and their families.

Yes, there is a Nakba, a disaster and a real tragedy.

"east Jerusalem picture",

As long as the Arab world continues on its destructive path…

there is indeed a Nakba .

Catastrophe and Tragedy

Amin al-Husseini, the exiled Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, recruited Arabs for Nazi Germany,

 and in May 1948,

he called for the Arabs residing in Israel to leave their homes and flee to neighboring Arab countries.

Thus began the ‘catastrophe’  which  today is celebrated as Nakba Day.


Space within the Old City of  Jerusalem is very limited.

 The Arab town of Silwan

is really just down the street from the Kotel, the Western Wall. 

The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was attacked in 1948

 by the invading Jordanian forces and destroyed. 

 Jordan did not allow Jews access to the Jewish Quarter for 19 years.  Until June 1967,

the only view available to Israelis of the walls of the Old City was from across a vast No Man’s Land.

Many Arabs still live in the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem, but the tragedy is that after all this time,

 so many others are still in refugee camps–all second-class citizens

in all the Arab countries to which they fled.

While in Jerusalem, either by day

or at night,

no matter what their attire,

an Arab man can freely walk alone

or with his family.

Even on the recent Fridays of  the “Days of Rage” in Egypt, Libya and Syria, men of all ages

  did not encounter security or check points in the Old City on the way to prayers.

Public parks are used for playing soccer with the kids

or school outings.

Space may be limited and tight, but if Arab leaders would stop inciting hatred,

stop spending their money on weapons and invest in education,

peaceful co-existence could be achieved.

 When 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries in1948, they were forced to leave their fortunes behind,

they resettled around the globe and built new lives.

Today, hundreds tried to get through the border to Israel today from Syria in the North…

 where would you rather be?