Contrasts

Posted in Holy Land 2013
May 14th, 2013

Today we were off to Kiriatharba or Hebron where Sarah, wife of Abraham, died.  But first we made two stops.  The first stop is at an Israeli Settlement in the West Bank, which Israelis call neighborhoods.  Our guide was an Israeli woman who grew up in California.  Her father was a Palestinian Jew that did not return.  She married a doctor and migrated to Israel with her family, eventually building their home in a settlement near Bethlehem.  She told us why she believed that the people of Israel have a right to build their homes on land set aside for Palestinians.
At AL T Wani village: being showed the lands taken by settlements Our second stop was a Palestinian village of goat herders a few miles before we reached Hebron.  The countryside is breath taking and beautiful with wide open spaces like the Shenandoah Valley.  This is the first time we saw open land for miles since we landed in Tel Aviv.  There was only an occasional farm.  Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to Bethlehem is heavily populated.  Other areas have been mountainous and barren, but going to Hebron was rolling hills with acres of fields.  This village is next door to another settlement which is predominantly Zionists Jews who are gradually fencing of and taking their grazing land.  Our host’s wife had a store that sold beautiful dresses and handbags made by the local women.  There was other agricultural activity as well and they had a school for the surrounding villages.  At times the settlers would harass the Palestinian children and Christian Peacemaker Teams had to walk them to school.

Next, we were on to Hebron where we walked through the oldest part of Hebron where the original Kiriatharba stood when Father Abraham first entered the town with his wife Sarah.  We had lunch at the headquarters of the Christian Peacemaker Team.  Our speaker said, “we are here because of Genesis 23.”  It is the story of how Abraham, Sarah and later Jacob and Leah were buried in Hebron.  After lunch, we visited a mosque and a synagogue that were attached like a duplex, but we had to walk out of the mosque, down and around the corner to get to the synagogue.  We had to get through an Israeli check point to walk from the mosque to the synagogue and the guard didn’t want to let us through because we were Christians until he was told we were Americans. (Interesting!)  The mosque was over the cave where Abraham buried Now it was the men's turn to wear something different Sarah which also claimed to have Adam’s footprint and the synagogue was over the tomb of Jacob and Leah.  The women had to cover up to go in the mosques so when we entered the synagogue they were amused when we men had to put on skull caps.
We returned to Bethlehem and dinner at the Lutheran Center.  Afterwards the church hosted the first showing of the story of Christians in Palestine which will soon be found at www.stonescryoutmovie.com.  It featured many local Christians including the Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb.
Ed Wilkins with help from friend Bill Baum
for the group



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