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In 1948, during the Arab-Israeli War, Jewish Quarter was besieged and totally defeated. The commander of the siege is reported to have told his superiors: "For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews' return here impossible." * The Jewish quarter has been rebuilt and people have moved back to live there, but, although it the style of the buildings emulates that of the old city, the whole area feels a bit different, more spacious and new. 

                                                                                                                    Elizabeth Warnock Fernea (1992). The Struggle for Peace: Israelis and Palestinians. University of Texas Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-292-76541-2. Retrieved 23 May 2013. Abdullah al-Tal, who was in charge of the Jordanian assault, justifies the destruction of the Jewish quarter by claiming that had he not destroyed the homes, he would have lost half his men. He adds that "the systematic demolition inflicted merciless terror in the hearts of the Jews, killing both fighters and civilians."
 

Travelling to Israel

 

[Photos: Lenovo S1 La 40 smart phone, Canon IXUS 275 HS camera , both Kati's, and  my old (10years +) Ricoh Caplio R2 camera.]

 

Now it's  another 10 years on. This time I wanted to travel to Israel, and Kati was eager to come with me. I organised the trip, but with not enough time for planning, we had no maps, no working i-phone (the Hungarian SIM card could not be budged out of Kati's phone), no apps. and much of the time no access to Wi-Fi.  Luckily, our accommodation had already been booked from Australia.

The two of us, laden with a suitcase each, a backpack, handbags and shopping bags traipsed our way through Israel over a period of 2 weeks.  Apart from a few irritations, we travelled well together and by the end we both knew that no matter what, we were going to be friends for ever.  Nothing had changed since we were children.

 

Old Jerusalem

After spending a couple of days in Old Jaffa, we went to Jerusalem, or Yerushaleim, as the locals call it.  We arrived at the Jaffa gate of the Old City. Cars are not allowed behind the walls. A taxi driver eagerly offered to take us around the wall to get near to our accommodation, but after paying 50 shekels (AUS $18) we were not much closer to our hostel at the end of our ride than when we started. But the view of the hills of Jerusalem from the cab! Vow!

                             

                              <----Damascus Gate                                        Jaffa Gate ---->

                                The walled city is less than one square km with about

                                         39,000 people (maybe even more now), which would

                                         give a population density of about 43,000 people/sq. km

                                         (for comparison: all of Jerusalem is 6,400 people /sq.km,

                                         while Sydney is  400 people/sq. km).                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                          Muslim quarter

For the first four nights we lived on Via Dolorosa in the Austrian (Catholic) Hospice, right in the centre of the city.  

 

 

                                                                                         

 

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

                          

    Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross)                                     The Austrian Hospice, gate and front entrance

 

We rolled out of bed and either started our day going up to the stunning roof-top view of the place with its stone buildings, numerous domes and towers, or walked out the gate to find ourselves in the midst of the city, both Christian and Muslim.     

                                                                    

When we finally arrived back home at night, we could easily make ourselves believe that we were in Central Europe, with Wiener shnitzel, goulash soup and strudel on the menu, which could be washed down by an Austrian beer or a cup of Julius Meinl coffee. Many notables, last century and the century before, visited the hospice, including Kaiser Franz Josef himself in 1869. And I guess, unlike us, his sleeping quarters were not in one of the large, dark, underground dorms.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city is divided into 4 sections, the Muslim (ca. 30,000 people), the Christian (ca 6000), the Jewish (3000) and the Armenian (500 or less) quarters.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       

 

                                                            Muslim quarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                         

                                                             

 

                                               

 

                                                       

                                                                             

                                                                               Jewish quarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued:  Places of Worship, Old Jerusalem 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                

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