Flights of Faith

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reason or Faith?

To attack is the first step to liberation
and liberation is greatness.
Seek out the most revered as your targets
climb on their fame,
hijack their pedestals.
To attack is to completely understand the enemy
There is no ignorance spilled on our hands,
reject faith,
accept reason.
The blind cannot lead those who see.
Reasonable men will lead this generation.
Resonable men will never see a taget too big
or one too small
as even a cornerstone can bring a temple down
so can a target the size of a mustard seed.
Attack as if in a furious rage
but keep your mind in a measured calm.
Remember, we have reason.
We have assured victory.

To believe is to submit yourself before something higher
If you value your eyes, ears, legs, and arms
then think before you commit yourself to belief.
We do not value these objects.
We value the courage to do nothing as a sword
swings near your life giving heart.
We value he chivlary to lay down your life as much as we value the generosity to share a meal
with a stranger.
We do not seek glory
in this life
or the next.
We only seek acceptance to something bigger than ourselves,
our homes,
our families,
our nations.
Eyes ablaze, our feet solely move to your rhythym.
You alone do we seek
everything is but the distant stars
in your vast and dark skies.

Faith or Reason?

© 2006 Josh W

The Soldier

A poem about empty nationalism and war

The soldier left childhood behind.
He put away his games
replacing a plastic rifle
with a real one.
In exchange,
he gave his mother the heart
that used to beat to his youthful spirit
for a clock.
Ticking down the moments until he can
embrace without crushing
scream without fearing
and love without revealing weakness.
The mother hopes the clock will keep ticking
each second a relief
knowing her second heart
has not stopped.
She only waves the flag
to call him home.

© 2006 Josh W

Friday, August 25, 2006

An American's Return Home

Note: This is the first thing I wrote a few minutes after I stepped out of my plane from Israel (via Italy). Unedited.


I’m back, baby.

So good to see black people. I just love blackness right now. The sounds. The looks. The hair. The attitude. The community. It’s all we have. It’s all I have. And I love it.

And the smells. That unique American capitalist smell of a kajillion greasy foods being cooked at the same time. Brilliant. And the insular family communities in our little bubbles. Oh, America. How I’ve secretly missed you. Can’t wait for my first encounter w/ American racism. Even that might bring a smile to my face.

“ELECTRIC CAR” The black lady shouts. I’m moving out the way. Are you? And the largeness. We’re all just a bit bigger. Our egos and our waistline. Brilliant. But we’re smiling and we’re resilient. This whole nation thing is sorta working. (Note: Umm, I blame jetlag on the last sentence. But I did feel that at the time)

And the business calls! At 6ish! (Note: In the evening) STILL trying to make that money. We always are.

The jerseys and the drinks in the hand casually sipping while strutting.

And khakis and business shirts! And the matching denim. American monochromatic outfits at its best.


In our own little worlds while CNN tries to connect us all…to the screen. Everything working at once. Phones, laptops, iPods, TVs, announcements. All to an appropriated hip-hop beat.


Navigating Fear: Death or the Fragility of Life

“Do not be afraid” Mark 6:50

I’m not there yet. Not even a little bit. I would love to live fearlessly. To fly, drive, and walk through campus with a lion’s heart but something is holding me back.

Or should I say it was. Fear’s complicated.

Back during winter break ‘05/06, I began living more freely. Taking risks with life. I explored glaciers in helicopters, almost became rock putty cruising rapids, rode tiny planes in the hopes of expanding my viewpoint. In the process, I found a form of courage. For someone whose college essay was about grasping for life while in a near death experience, I was certainly throwing it back into the wind. The reason: I was ready to die. I still am. To shorten a story I hope to be much more someday, I was dead in high school; revived in college (apologies to parents and church family who kept me on life support). Even with that short one and a half years of college, I had enough. I’d been blessed. Granted, I should have been ready a long time ago. If a Christian isn’t ready to die…I’m not sure about his or her title. Of course, my perspective will change with a wife, kids, and possibly my job (only if it’s serving others). Moderation.

For now, I know my death would be part of a bigger plan. It’s a big reason I was comfortable clicking “order tickets” for my summer adventure in Israel. I had lived. And I hoped to continue living if that was God’s will. But if not, I had to realize it’s an ordered movement with a lot more at stake than my flesh.

Stepping into the huge classroom, I realized I would have to go to the balcony to find seats. I had no interest in signing up for the class.

Philosophy 176.

I simply expected a “bottle fame, brew glory” type of lecture. One of those amazing lectures straight from a movie. Then, it started. Kagan began with a series of warnings. Heavy reading (been there, done that), Grades (B means good not the course title; but is he an undergrad in ’06?), sections (not another hour of intellectual snobbery!), and a mandatory denial of the afterlife.


Studying death without being allowed to use any notions of what happens after it?
I’m not even sure how one can even begin to do this much less propose it seriously.
We live in a country where almost all funerals are religious, most Christian, regardless of the deceased’s religious dedication. Their family needs comfort. A hope that there’s something more. A wish that death isn’t some final tick on our biological clock but an alarm to start our real journeys.

I stayed for the rest of the lecture.
Then, reflective.

If I lived in Kagan’s world, I don’t know how I would live life. Would I take chances? Not sure. Would I have gone to Israel? Probably not.
I would be terrified of my life turning into a blank screen.
I would cling to life.
But life would just be my continued heartbeat.

I can’t live that way. I don’t live that way. Life is more than that.
Death certainly means more.
We have to embrace that truth.
Once we’re comfortable with our inevitable ends, we can finally concentrate on every day’s beginning.

"After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." Albus Dumbledore

Coming Soon: But we fear more than death.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

JonBenet Rules The World

I'm at a loss for words.
I really think this is the year the world is going to jump the shark.
Watch out for August 22nd.
Well, check BBC rather than CNN.
You might just get more JB coverage as wars and natural disasters continue to rage.
Oh, and minority kids will continue to get abducted too (and be in positions where THEIR coverage could actually save their life. No offense (R.I.P.) JB. I'm definitely buying my kid a plaid hat and some fake blonde locks.

If you couldn't tell from my kneejerk reaction to oppression, I'm back in America.
I think I miss high speed internet more than Israel (for now).

My deodorant was almost deemed explosive on the way out.
I guess Speedstick is doing its job.

I just wanted to drop a note confirming my pulse (or the pulse of a pretender) and assure you new entries will be coming. Still a lot of summer writing to do, but if the world keeps acting ridiculous I might have to cut the transition period short.

Drowning in a sea of (what has to be an increased number of) American flags,

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Buzzkill: The War

With a ceasefire supposedly taking place in less than twelve hours, let’s take a look at some of the buzzwords of this “security conflict.”

New Middle East

While I’m sure Dr. Rice didn’t mean to stir up images of a biblical borders Israel, it’s hard for any non-Israel country to take this statement favorably thanks to the money we funnel into Israel. The next day, a Palestinian newspaper showed the Doc with a monkey in her belly, pregnant with the “new Middle East.” Nasrallah also joined the bandwagon using the phrase rhetorically in a now famous speech.


After the three soldiers were stolen (1 in Gaza, 2 in Northern Lebanon), many countries “urged Israel to use restraint.” A judgment call I understood and supported if diplomacy failed. Well, diplomacy was never really used and pretty soon rockets started flying from both sides. Almost immediately, European countries cried “disproportionate!” Deferring from my own personal opinion regarding war, particularly this one, I have to ask how does one fight a proportional war? And possibly a better question, how can some of these countries say this seriously given their histories? One of the biggest complexities in the Mideast conflict is Western countries trying to scold a country that is committing similar errors from their pasts. Watch any news show featuring an Israeli and he or she will spout off statistics about how France did this for security or the United States did that to achieve freedom. Is any country ready to admit their mistakes and recommend their avoidance in the future? Many would say the leadership of those nations aren’t but the United Nations serves that capacity. Given how the UN performed during this war, I have to question its effectiveness and credibility. Informed by, not independent of.

“Cessation of hostilities” “Enduring ceasefire” “Sustainable” “Not returning to the status quo ante”

It’s funny how as kids we look up to the television screen and marvel at how smart the leaders of our country seem. Then as we get older, we see how each issue simply spits out sophisticated jargon that’s traded in for normal words and overused by pundits and politicians. All of these phrases were used during the squabbling over the UN cease fire resolution. It doesn’t seem farfetched to me to deliver an immediate cease fire THEN squabble over the finer points, but I think we all realize there was more at play than just establishing long lasting peace. By the way, I seriously expected to see a Yale representative for the sustainable movement as many times as I heard that phrase.

“Legendary” “Mythical”

To me, these are the most interesting words of the last thirty-two days and will produce the biggest changes. At the beginning, these were the words Israeli politicians used to boast when talking about the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces. Citing countless examples of miraculous military strikes, the politicians seemed pretty confident they’d get the job done against Hizbullah. As the war moved into mid-July, it was clear the army was faltering. Suddenly, the terms were absorbed by Nasrallah as he claimed that no one expected us to last this long against the mythical Israeli army. People took notice. By late July, Nasrallah was not just claiming victory against former legends; he was becoming one. I’ve seen a music video in his honor and posters touting him a living legend. The support is obviously dependent on location. Have family in the North, run a business catering to tourists, a victim of increased IDF security. Those Arabs might resent him. Already a daily victim of the IDF, live in an insular Arab community, lifestyle not dependent on tourism. Probably playing the Nasrallah pop song on their mp3 players.

In less than twelve hours, both sides will declare victory. Although historians will debate who really won for many years to come, it is clear the landscape has changed again in the Middle East. Another generation has reasons to hate each other, another Arab legend is born, another Israeli political shakeup is ripe, America has new worries about its partner in the Middle East, and the I in IDF might not stand for invincible anymore.

These buzzwords will fade. New ones will be dreamt of. Meanwhile, we wait.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

International Church

On tot, kto tvayu zheezn eez-meh-nev x2
On sta-boy boodet veeh-nah x2
Tot kto zheez eez-meh-neel
Boodet rah-dom sta-bo-yu-va-vehk

Welcome to international church. Every Tuesday and Friday, I walk down a few hills and across a bridge to the Talpiyot area and enter a small gray warehouse. Nothing much to look at but an incredible thing to behold.

Calvary Chapel Jerusalem is a service ministry that reaches out to Israel’s immigrant population. Collecting money and food, it helps immigrants get started with their new life in Israel. It also welcomes anyone to worship with them. The combination of caring and curiosity has created a strong community of immigrant Christians, specifically Russian Israelis. The church, of course, has momentous language barriers. Most of the American volunteers only speak English. There are some Euro/Sephardic Israelis that only know Hebrew and some English. Then, there are the Russians who are in the process of learning Hebrew. The room isn’t magically altered by the Spirit to create divine translations, but I’ve learned how to feel words.

Breaking into prayer groups one Tuesday, I realized ours didn’t have a translator. Still, we released our prayers to each other and the Lord. Hearing others pray in Russian, I felt their passion and asked that God would let their words be true and fulfill their requests if it was His will. When I prayed, I heard murmurs of yes and stirs of emotion. My prayer was for Christian communities not to ignore any of the world’s victims based on religious affiliation or ethnicity. I wanted to challenge Israeli Christians to do what was right, not what was convenient.

Seemingly, everywhere Christianity is practiced it gets tangled up with nationalism. I think it was well intentioned. When I say God bless my family and friends it doesn’t function as a curse for those left out. When Bush says “God bless America” well….I’ll let you be the judge on that one.

Most of the churchgoers call Israel home and that’s bound to slip into their Christian practices. But, I hope and believe that this mixture of Christians of various backgrounds is helping everyone realize that God isn’t bound to nations but only to hearts.

The most exciting part of church is our vocal worship. We switch back and forth from Hebrew to English to Russian. The projected music sheet breaks down Russian and Hebrew into syllables allowing English speakers to sing along.

It’s in these moments I realize we should always be praying in different tongues. Not literally; instead, using our prayer to help others we can’t reach. Crossing religious, racial, cultural, or any type of barriers to try and cover the globe in a protective warmth not just our loved ones. It’s a difficult calling but we have all the Power in the world as our support.

He who began a good work in you x2
He will be faithful to complete it x2
He who started the work will be faithful
To complete it in you

Suspicion or the Jerusalem Tango

I’ve had my share of awkward encounters but this one was different. See, everyone else had a reason to chit chat. Standing in line together, taking my order, checking my bag. Just some casual conversation to keep things moving.

But when you slow down to talk.
My red flag starts-a-waving.

Done with my research for the day, I take out my iPod and get connected. I shuffle in and out of a few songs, finally settling on one. Things seem pretty normal. After crossing the street, I notice a biker moving way too slowly. I inch my neck back for another quick look. Medium build, no apparent disability, no religious identifiers. He should be moving faster. By location only, I guess that he’s Jewish and my immediate hunch is that he’s an undercover policeman. I place my iPod in my right hand away from him and spin the volume down before putting it in my pocket. Still walking forward, I notice he’s walking his bicycle now on the street. A man comes between us, and I hear exchanges in Hebrew. Hoping the words are for the middle man, I continue forward “music blasting.” After speeding up a bit, middle man tugs at my shoulder. I turn around with a blank expression on my face and then remember to take off my earphones. The middle man just points to the man on the bike and continues walking. I get my first look at bicycle man.

I don’t like his eyes. There’s something very shifty about them. Maybe it’s the dark hair that falls unto his face almost masking his darker eyebrows that rest above those dark eyes of his. Contrasted with his olive skin, staring into his face is a dizzying effect. Trying not to stare at his raccoon-like features, I wait for the interrogation to begin.

“Do you speak Hebrew?” His voice is strange. It’s accented. I automatically want to categorize it as Australian, but it’s not. I settle that it is from somewhere in the British commonwealth though. Possibly, South Africa?
“No, English.” I’m gonna play this one short and unfriendly, I thought.
“Oh ok. I thought you were someone from my synagogue.”
“No.” I wonder if he would have asked if I wasn’t wearing my hat (possibly concealing a yarmulke). Then, I realize again he’s not wearing a head covering. This doesn’t break down his story. Just strange.
“You look almost identical to him.” I assume that he is an Ethiopian Jew.
“It’s just my synagogue is pretty Anglo-Saxon, so I thought it was you.”
Wait a minute. Who says Anglo-Saxon? Besides backing up my commonwealth assumption, I also wonder why white wasn’t used. Rebelling against a false racial classification in order to preserve Jewish as a race? If so, the fact that he had to separate himself and the Ethiopian member with another classification is telling.
“It’s on Litikum St near Katamon. Do you know that area”
“I know-“
At this point, his features become effusive and he exclaims, “You do know it!”
I continue. “the Katamon area but not the street.”
He doesn’t correct his assumption.
“So, where are you from?”
I decide just to say the country.
Let’s see if he knows where this oasis is: “Iowa.”
“Ahh. And what are you doing here? Vacation?”
At this point, I realize I’m revealing way too much information about myself but I continue my short responses.
“I’m doing research.”
“Oh, nice.”
Silence. I begin to think I’m off the hook. However, when his face shifts quizzically I realize the questioning isn’t over.
“On what?”
“Ethiopian Immigrants.”
“Oh wow. So are you teaching then? At which university?”
For a moment, I settle on the thought of my summer appearance. My beard must be making look older because everyone has been shocked at my true age. I wonder whether to cut it or not before Yale then return to the line of fire.
“I’m just a student doing research through a fellowship. I go to Yale.” I laugh to myself at the last sentence. I mention some of the libraries I’m working at in Jerusalem. “That’s what I’m doing this summer.” My tone suddenly revealed my exasperation.
He didn’t notice. “What’s your name?”
I hesitate. “Josh”
“Josh what?”
A longer hesitation. “[Last name]”
Wondering if I’ve said too much, I take delight in my common name. Then, the entire conversation pricks me.
Google. Josh + [Last name] + Yale + Iowa. Enough to locate me.
Now, there are three reasons he asked for my last name.
1) A social nicety 2) Security reasons 3) To see if I had a Jewish surname

I’m pretty confident it was the third given our “conversation.”

He fails to offer his name.
I do no ask for it.
“Good luck.”

He gets on his bike riding slowly at first but soon my eyes cannot even locate him in the distance.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Toy Soldiers

“There is no Israeli society.”

Dolores frustrated, released the words with a sigh.
It hurt her to say that, especially in front of an American.
Our topic. Violence.
At the NACOEJ office talking with its administration, I had wondered aloud if some of the fighting I saw at the camp in Ramla was allowed (and sometimes encouraged) because, well, they’ll be soldiers in six years. Most likely to be positioned on the front lines of a conflict we could only guess from this point in time.

At the camp, Ethiopian boys would regularly pummel each other usually extending vendettas the whole day throughout any and every activity. Cooking, food zoomed across the room. Crafts, beads became mini-grenades. Art? Watch out for the scissors. Sometimes, the teacher would order the kids to stop. That usually only happened when a girl was involved. The rest of the time fists flew, legs rammed, bodies collided. I could only count on peace when the guys were playing, what else, Grand Theft Auto. Pupils dilated, the screen became their obsession. Cruising in their vehicles and killing civilians, life seemed to be good for these twelve year olds.

After detailing my experiences with violence at the camp, Dolores and Gretchen exchanged worried looks.

As my finger tried to find the pulse of Israel, Dolores and Gretchen were trying to put their best vein forward. Most of my conversations with Israelis follow a similar path.

Staring at Dolores, I resolved to press the topic. Striking out from a painfully long silence, Dolores blurted out her response. “It’s complicated. Look, we have a mixture of all different cultures bringing their social norms to the table and the collective Israel is not enforcing any standards.” Gretchen nodded politely, then interjected trying to form a 1-2 punch.

“Well, some parents know life as an Israeli will be tough. Because of this, parents don’t punish them for misbehaving and spoil them instead.” Dolores, unimpressed, gave off a scowl. Trying to rescue her initial effort, she began to rattle off stories about gendered violence in Ethiopia. Once finished with that detour, she mentioned the different groups of Israelis that form the country again.

Then after looking at each other, Gretchen and Dolores turned to me with matching smiles.

The presentation was complete.
The defense rests.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Moon in a Box

My grandfather believes that the 1969 moon landing was a farce. Someone set up a box, poked the right holes, and we got those amazing images from the moon. Leaving the Hollywood set, Armstrong chuckled while flipping his bills. Now, I’m not sure how much I believe (or care about) this conspiracy theory, but the story always opened my eyes to the wonderful world of the media.

Inflating shark attacks, downing Dean, shocking and awing. I’ve just never been one for television news. Something about adding magnitude with repeat viewings doesn’t sit well with me. So, how can a news media that “creates” stories (Scott Peterson, anyone?) cover one of the most volatile and fast moving areas in the world? Your guess is as good as mine.

Consider the events on June 9h, 2006. Remember what happened? The surviving members of the Ghalya family do. That day they lost seven family members in a shelling attack on the beach in Gaza City. After the usually MidEast/US Media delay, the story was on the front page of CNN. The image of a Palestinian girl crying for her mother were stamped on newspapers and webpages across the globe. Palestine was quick to accuse Israel. Who else regularly attacks us, they cried? The rest of the Arab world condemned Israel for what they saw as another human rights violation. Some countries called for its destruction alongside apologizing to the families for a loss of innocent life. Stange world, huh?

While Israel quickly released a statement expressing sorrow, the country believed the shell could have come from Palestinian militants who were setting them up for a PR disaster or a misfire.

Human Rights Watch mourned another cruel attack and began an investigation.
At HRW’s request, the Palestinian Authority also started an investigation.
Israel Defense Forces independently began an investigation.

By this time, the media was onto another story. Israel’s idea to conduct an investigation was mentioned briefly at the tail end of the coverage. I never saw the results on a Western news source.

The results?
Human Rights Watch declared that it was probably the IDF based on timestamps, Israeli military locations, and shrapnel, identical to their initial assertions.
Palestinian Authority stuck to its claim that it was the IDF, relying largely on HRW evidence.
Israel Defense Forces said the PA prematurely destroyed the evidence but said the shrapnel did not belong to IDF weaponry, thus, the attack wasn’t done by them.

At this point, only local media was covering the findings. None with enough power to press for a definitive answer.

Fast forward to the Qana buildings incident on July 30th. Déjà vu.

Military attack begets a civilian travesty.

Israel first expressed sympathy, justified its actions, then said the building fell seven hours after it was bombed, possibly caused by a Hizbollah explosion. The purpose? To destroy Israel’s worldwide image and cause a turning point in the war.

The Arab world, again, condemns Israel while some, again, called for its destruction alongside, again, expressing sympathy at the loss of Arab innocent life.

CNN Online only covered the minimum details focusing more on countries’ responses and America’s conciliatory change of tone.

Only local media discussed bloggers who raised questions of timestamps, similar children coming from the direction of the rubble, and people in black shirts with no dust on them at all.

Israel released a report that lowered the death toll from Hizbollah reports. While Western media mentioned this, the rest of the events are as mystifying as the unseen moon.

Human Rights Watch is still calling for an “independent international inquiry.”

The news has already left the building.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday’s Frequently Asked Questions: The Blog

What’s up with the title of the blog and your signature?

Ever since watching Disney’s Peter Pan, I’ve been enamored with flight. Not the “building machinery so your body won’t feel one bit different” type flight. But the gravity defying, no rules explaining, wind hitting your face flying. That’s the one I long for. And since the first “thump” on my floor after an attempt, I’ve been constantly failing. Something about this oppressive scientific principle called gravity makes me want to shake it off and be free. I’ve always had a problem with leaps of faith. Quickly covering your eyes, you momentarily give something up to chance only to immediately plant your feet on the ground. I don’t want a leap. I want a flight. To lift off and land on my own schedule, all the while believing in my abilities. Faith wouldn’t stop me from falling; instead, it would allow me to fly.

Palm Waver is a reference to the crowd when Jesus first came into Jerusalem. Just a reminder that all I am is a palm waver trying to live my life for something much higher than myself. Also a tribute to my status as a Jerusalemite for the summer.

Why did you start the blog?

Last summer, some of my friends asked me to start a blog allowing them to follow my adventures since I easily drift off into M.I.A.’dom. I complied feeling rather presumptuous since my source material was a New Haven summer. I kept it private only allowing that same group to see it. Late this Spring, a lot more people asked me to blog about my experiences in the Middle East. Unlike with New Haven, I felt I had a responsibility to share the everyday happenings that slip through the (enormous) cracks of CNN and the like. I’ve journaled all summer, but I never knew how to start the blog. Almost two months into my trip, ‘Unbreakable’ let out the inspiration I needed to jumpstart this effort.

Most of your posts have been about the Middle East, do you plan to change that when you get back to the States?

Well, I’m convinced I will still be writing about Middle East experiences in October since I started the blog late. I’m not really sure what it will look like after that. I know what I don’t want the blog to be and that’s sufficient for now.

Have a great weekend, folks! I’ll most likely be updating throughout the frame to catch up so check back when you get the chance.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

They Whited Out the Old City Wall!: Updates and Coming Soons

So, you’re bored out of your mind this summer. What do you do? Channel surf! Saved By The Bell? Eh. It’s the newest class. MTV dating show? Been there, done that. CNN? Hey, what the heck! Sweet! Car chase. After fifteen minutes of exciting turns and frightened grandmas, you decide to take a quick bathroom break. When you get back, more coverage of the Israel and Lebanon war.

“GOOOOOSSSHHHHHHH! Can’t they just get a ceasefire already?”

A few minutes pass, still no car chase updates. Four screaming panel discussions later (that, by the way, haven’t helped your understanding of the conflict at all) and you realize CNN is NEVER gonna tell you what happened to that white Bronco (some things never change.)

Well, FoF isn’t like that.

I’ve out been out of commission thanks to a sick Mac that’s much better now. Disconnected, I was unable to follow the news regularly. Logging on in net cafes every day or so, I realized how fast the news comes out of the Middle East. Regular life is no different. Updates are needed.

Less Talk, More Stalk: Questions of Consequence Update

Security in Jerusalem has increased tremendously. It hasn’t affected me terribly. For a country with such security problems, it is surprising that the powers that be accept my unaccented English or American shirt or cap (yes, I brought them to experiment how I would be treated w/ and w/o). But Palestinians…the Old City is a new place for them. The gates (once free and open o all) are now checkpoints where IDF soldiers stand with AK-47s (I think) and ask for IDs and papers. I understand it’s all done in the name of security, but it has got to take a toll on your pride when the IDF is hassling you as you try to get to YOUR home, YOUR business, YOUR community. In fact, the toll is showing in scattered incidents around East Jerusalem and the Old City. Young Palestinian men often loiter about IDF officers begging for trouble. Around the Temple Mount, they’re getting it. IDF forces used tear gas to break up a crowd protesting against the barring of under 45 men to the Temple Mount, the location of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque. The IDF’s policy is to ban Palestinian youth and any Jews from entering when times are tense. Today, Tisha B’Av, the Jewish holiday which mourns the destruction of the second temple (and construction of a mosque) is one of those days. This time, the Jews are seen as the ones who could incite violence because many Jews (especially religious ones) expect a third temple to be built on the Temple Mount in their lifetime.

Here’s an advert from the local paper: “We will assemble to proclaim our eternal bond to the Temple Mount, where our First and Second temples stood, and where the Third Temple will be built, speedily and in our days.”

And the world thinks a two state solution will work?

As a note, many Christians believe the Third Temple will play a significant role in the End Times, but this bit of prophecy has been used by some to create an anti-Muslim agenda believing that if Muslims are defeated, then the Temple can be rebuilt. Christians must not give into this false and easy logic.

White Out Cures All? :Sign of the Times Update

Probably less than a day after I wrote this, I walked back down to Jaffa and the messages had changed.

The signs were changed as follows:


Very interesting way of describing an Ethnic conflict.

Returning to the Old City a few days later, I found anything written in English and black ink to have disappeared. The white pro-Jewish sentiments remained. And on the walls of the Old City? White out. Yes, some form of white out has been used on these historic walls to erase the graffiti. Again, anything in Hebrew was left. Cleaning up for the tourists? It seems that way.

Ok. The rest will be semi-updated in the following.

Coming Soon
More Ramla episodes.
Condi + Me
A famous journalists tries to remedy past errors
Prose/Poetry? Maybe.

Anything you want me to write about? Be brave and shout it out to the internet through a comment or contact me in the dark alleys of IM/e-mail as usual.

Check back tomorrow for Friday’s FAQs! Catch ya on the flip.