Jerusalem bus station terrorist attack

Lunch time two days ago I learned with horror about a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, which has left one dead and 39 injured.

Here, in Jerusalem, a lot Christians and Messianic Jews I know here all know each other, partly down to Facebook I guess, but also as I know numerous different Christian organisations here, and today I hear stories from people who were nearby just a short time before it happened.

Jerusalem’s large central bus station has been targeted before by deadly attacks but not in a long time.  When I have visited it requires turning out your pockets of metal things before going through a metal detector, as well as having your bag put through an X-ray, but not only that, when I have waited to meet a friend outside there, if you are stood still directly outside, then a security guard will challenge you are ask you what you are doing loitering,  I attempted to lock my bike on some railings about 10 metres away from the bus station only to be shouted at that this wasn’t allowed.

Whilst working in IT before I came here I had the chance to see IT solutions, processes and other things that Israel has invented and sold to police, military and government agencies around the world to help other nations fight against terrorist threats.

For me and many of the people I work with, we still haven’t got over the huge tragedy in Japan especially as I have worked several Japanese people, their families were not harmed, but seeing their home countries under danger from a worryingly unstable nuclear power plant and images of massive destruction has to be heartbreaking.  I enjoying working with the Japanese staff, I suppose you don’t see that many Japanese people come to the UK to visit, but I admire that they are so hardworking, resilient, and pleasant to be with.

For me that day, I was at the other end of Jerusalem, in Talpiyot at Bridges for Peace’s Outreach centre, a warehouse building that supplies food to the needy, either directly to people or put on palettes that go out to third party organisations that distribute it, so I didn’t know anything about this until a colleague got a phone call.  Our main building is about 2 miles from where the bomb happened.

I have lived in Portsmouth’s Somerstown district which has a high crime rate, often walked past Guildhall walk, a strip of bars and clubs in the same city so popular for fights and trouble, and ambulance team hovers over this area most weekend nights ready.   I have also been to ghetto parts of Los Angeles (just after 9/11) and Las Vegas which really made me uncomfortable, especially LA’s bus station, especially when you feel like you are being followed.   These things are all relative.   My cousin lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and he has had to deal with the devastating earthquake there, that has happened twice now.

Some people that visit Israel are surprised at how much security is here when you go through the airport and how metal detector doorways are in shopping malls and restaurants, its not a big inconvenience when go out and about town.

I do feel normally very safe here.   I would urge anyone who is thinking of visiting the holyland not to be deterred by current events as long as you are sensible and stick to known areas.

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Don’t scrap the UK TV licence

Every now and then on the media, like Facebook, there is a campaign for people to abolish the UK television licence.

I wonder if people really think this is possible.  Is it possible for Auntie Beeb to operate with money out of thin air?  Especially as the government are making cuts on hospitals and the police at the moment.

Think about it, each TV company’s business model is as follows:-

BBC – annual subscription (required by law even if you dont watch this channel) but no commercials.

ITV/C4/C5 – commercials between shows, no subscription fee needed.

But then the channels on satellite and cable, ie: MTV have both.  This is why I don’t have cable or satellite, as I think it offers poor value for money. I don’t understand why I have seen some people plonk down upto £40 a month sometimes for terrible stuff.

I have had a freeview box but the software design of these devices is atrocious and the two different units I had would constant freeze and break down.   I will get another one but I need to look for some careful reviews first.  I think a lot of foreign people are quite jealous of British telly.

I don’t mind advertising, it should be non-intrusive, not to nag and be honest.   In all honesty, channels like MTV have double the number of adverts of ITV, and require a subscription.   The adverts are twice as frequent, and trashy often for annoying ring tones and premium rate telephone lines, sometimes adult stuff when its not even late.

I think MTV and music channels will disappear with music subscription services like all-you-can-eat internet music like Spotify will divulge into music videos at some point, or a similar competitor will, in the same way Google has made the Yellow pages book now only good for removing insects and fixing tables with short legs.

Maybe Youtube could evolve to show music videos continuously in such a way based on a predetermined set of music tastes that could also promote new bands as well as current favourites.

British TV licence is about £130, that £11 a month, which a large takeaway pizza and a big bottle of coke or curry at the medium scale of things.   I think that’s quite reasonable myself.

Lets keep the television licence but ensure that the fees are spent wisely.