Jews, Christians and Muslims together toured the Temple Tunnels, whose opening helped to trigger the first intifada. We reflectively walked though Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial and Museum, and listened to a childhood friend of Anne Frank tell of her Holocaust survival and the death of her best friend.
We walked through ultra-Orthodox and Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and some of us rode on the new light rail (which took much longer to construct than the St. Clair line in Toronto) that passes through East and West Jerusalem, joining Arab and Jewish sections both beyond and within the disputed borders of the city. We saw that gentrification takes place in Jaffa and the old Neve Tzedek neighbourhood of Tel Aviv just as it does in downtown Toronto.
What did we learn? That the Holy Land breeds intensity. That simplistic ideas such as boycotts break down in the face of real people buying, selling and consuming each others’ products. That the biblical ideal of hospitality is still operative. That each religion has truth-claims which we ignore at our own peril. That each national group feels its cause is just. That the security barrier that protects Israelis — whether in the form of a wall or a fence — challenges the personal dignity of Palestinians. That despite the political disagreements, most people find ways to live with each other. That this is not a “tale of two cities” but a much more complex, multi-dimensional narrative affected by religion, nationalism, history and geography.This is a tale of some of Abe's kin wanting to wipe others of his kin off the map--for purely and specifically religious reasons. But I guess that's not "complex" enough for these interfaith squishes.