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News From Jerusalem

17 Oct

Despite the fact that we’re in mid-October, it’s another sweltering hot night here in the Negev desert, not that I’m complaining. After what was yet another disappointing English summer, it’s been great reacquainting myself with the pairs of shorts and flip-flops that haven’t been in proper use since…well since last time I was here probably.

But enough about the weather. Got back from Jerusalem last night safe in the knowledge that we had cleared the first major hurdle of our big move – yes we have finally found ourselves a cute little furnished apartment, no mean task in Jerusalem. We actually found the place when we first visited Jerusalem lack, but had to wait to hear if we were the lucky ones to be chosen; quite a few other couples had supposedly shown interest. But now that the contract has been signed we can begin to look forward to finally, after years of sharing a whole range of weird and wonderful houses and flats with other people, to actually having a place of our own.

Anyway I will wait to tell/show you more about our new home once we move in, in roughly 2 weeks time. What I will say though, is that there enough space for any visitors who feeling like dropping by; so hereby consider yourselves all invited!

Aside from finalising the contract, my 2 days in Jerusalem were spent wondering aimlessly around the city streets while Asya was out at the on university campus attending various induction classes. Actually, with the fierce midday heat still energy-sapping, even though we’re in mid-autumn, I opted for the lounging under the cool shade of the tree in a park with a stunning view over the Old Walled City. Here hours were spent reading, listening to podcasts, and of course working my way through my Hebrew audio lessons; all so idyllic.

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The park I happened to find refuge in is situated next to the glamorous King David hotel, residence of choice for world leaders and the like when in Jerusalem. Back in the day when Palestine was under British rule it functioned as the British headquarters. It’s perhaps equally famous for being partly blown up in 1946 by the militant Zionist group Irgun who openly fought British rule and their refusal to allow the mass migration of Jews into Palestine. The British occupation of Palestine from 1917-1948 (present day Israel and Jordan) is something I knew very little about before visiting Israel and I can’t remember it ever being taught in school much. At first glance, the fact that in the aftermath of all the World War II atrocities we actively prohibited the migration of Jews to their new safe haven seems outright deplorable – perhaps that’s why it’s not high on Britain’s top Empire achievements. Anyway it’s definitely a part of British history that I’m actively going to look more into. Until then here’s a picture of the plaque outside the hotel the retells the tale of what has been called “one of the most lethal terrorist attacks of the 20th century.”

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Indeed the bombing of the hotel continues to be widely celebrated, not least by current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu who attended celebrations  marking the 60th anniversary of the bombing and the unveiling of another commemorative plaque. Naturally the British we far from amused, as this article in The Times shows, “British Anger at Terror Celebration.

For a country that has had, and continues to live to with its own horrific share of militant/terrorist atrocities I do find it hard to understand how they can celebrate their own acts of terrorism, an act which did kill 92 people – with or without the warning.  Is it too big a stretch to draw comparisons between the motives behind that particular bombing and present day terrorist attacks committed against Israel? Well I’m not entirely sure yet what I think…

Better leave it for now. It’s 11 pm and time to head off to the local kibbutz pub for a beer or two. Tuborg or Carlsberg? Danish beers have certainly cornered the market here. Well at least it makes me a feel a little bit at home 🙂

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Posted by on October 17, 2009 in Israeli History, Life in Israel

 

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