Double celebrations! Sukkot in Jerusalem and Gilad Schalit’s release

During Sukkot, there is a march through the city each year, usually people from different government organisations like the army, the Magon David ambulance, El-Al airlines etc as well as groups of Christians from all over the world with flags from their respective countries.

The event was just over as I took this stretched picture, but people were sitting on hotel balconies and out in the street with armed guards and buses parked sideways in the roads as make shift barricades.

I heard on the news about the real possibility of abducted soldier Gilad Schalit and thought I would believe it when I see it, knowing that terrorist organisations should be not be trusted with any kind of deal.   It amazes me to think that a swap of 1,000 Palestinian terrorists for one soldier has not been condemned as wrong or immoral by the UN, Red Cross, any moderate Islamic organisations or indeed any nation at all.   A large number of these Palestinians were jailed for suicide bombings and other appalling tragedies.   Nevertheless this shows the people of Israel’s value of human life, I think Yeshua’s story about the lost sheep is quite relevant here: Luke 15 : 3-7

I had to run some errands for some people at work which involved taking a 8 mile or so ride in a car to drop off some food for a staff meeting.  On the way was a helicopter close to a main road that had either just landed or about take off next to a police station. Quite possibly part of the process of releasing the prisoners.

I have been praying for Gilad and written some updates here as I used to pass tents campaigning for his release every day. 

Later on I went to a convenience store to get something for lunch to see a 5 second video of Gilad drinking a bottle of water next to a helicopter and smiling, so this was proof Gilad was coming home and so desperately what the people of this nation wanted to see, although there was understandable anguish from families who had lost loved ones to terrorism.

If you see the tall overhead traffic light in the above picture, if you turn right, this heads down Berlin Street, just a few yards down there is the Gilad Schalit tent which I have visited before.   This place is a kind of protest structure and shrine to this young man locked up for 5 years.

Outside this spot, there isn’t as many people as I thought, but the atmosphere is still buzzing!!

Here, I got to watch the TV on a projector as they showed Gilad in a car been taken to his parents house in the upper Galilee, there is a emotional sense of satisfaction as it shows the front door of his family’s home shut giving him some much needed privacy and he looked clearly pale and disoriented when on the TV.

This was a really good to be in this city when this history making event happened.

I think we need thanks for our loving Father in heaven that has been a happy ending to this ordeal, and I hope everyone in Israel and overseas who has been watching this does too.

Part of the quirky nature of Jerusalem means I often see friends, Christian, Jewish and Arab, natives, immigrants and foreigners accidentally in different parts of the city, I hope to one day see Gilad here and shake his hand when hes in a fit state to get around. 🙂   I expect hes going to want to know what a Facebook is and amazed at the amount of publicity there has been to get him free.

A few days ago, a friend from my church pointed out some interesting scripture about Sukkot and foreign Christians gentiles visiting…  more soon!

Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel indepedance day

On tuesday 10th of May I got the day off work as it was Israel’s independence day, 63 years since the modern state of Israel was formed.

Some people also call this national barbecue day.

Its not hard to see why!  The parks are very busy, this one, Gan Sacher park which is close to the government buildings has loads of people.

Here behind this yellow tape is a band playing middle east style music, there is a small flute that has an Arabic style sound to it, not sure what its called.

Lots people have flags tied onto their cars and houses.

I like the fact a lot of Arabs are out having parties as well as Jews, religious and secular and young and old.

There several lots of planes fly over from the military and from El Al, Israel’s national airline.

A Jew and an Arab friend, me and another friend from Germany learning Hebrew here in the park celebrating together.

On the way back from the park, I saw lots of people took time to show solidarity for kidnapped solider Gilad Shalit at this tent at the side of the road here.   He has been in prison in Gaza for over 4 years now.

About a week earlier there was a few minutes silence to remember the Shoah (the holocaust) during World War II.   This holiday though is a happy ocassion that the Jewish people have their own nation.

In the evening the high streets were packed with partying until late and live music and DJs all around the high streets.

As well as national barbeque day, I guess its also national parking violation day too!  You can’t walk up and down the pavements without squeezing past cars!!

Kidnapped Gilad Shalit – 4 years on

Last Sunday I had a relaxing morning, went out to the old city, I wanted to visit the recently built big synagogue built on the site of a famous one destroyed in wars from long ago, but it was shut so this is for another day.  King of Kings Church was really good, great teaching as usual from Wayne Hilsden and some great worship music too.

After church, I went with my Arab believer friend as he said there was some special event happening at the Gilad Shalit tent.   There is a tent usually manned by two people with various pictures and news stories about the young soldier currently being held captive somewhere in the Gaza strip.   These days this street corner has got bigger as news last year confirmed that Gilad is still alive, verified by a videotape of him with a recent newspaper last year.

This sunday evening was extra special, there was a TV interview being held with Gilad’s parents and brother and a famous basketball player (I didn’t get his name) who came to show his support.   The tent is positioned close to some government buildings.

Anyway I am not sure exactly what is said as there was no English posters or spoken announcements.  But it is quite sobering to see something to see events shown on worldwide television and being actually there.

There are several very very long posters signed in a mixture of Hebrew and English there.

There were people opposed to event.  I am not sure what was said but someone stopped outside in a small Hyundai hatchback and yelled something probably abusive.   Across the road was another protest which someone told me was to stop the government making a deal to let out I think something like 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for this one solider.

Its crazy the rest of the world doesn’t have the courage to speak out why there is something seriously wrong with why one soldier should be a traded for a couple of hundred known terrorists responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians in past tragedies

In the past, criminals have been traded for the bodies of dead Israelis who fell in foreign ground.   This is not a new thing, when you consider when King Saul, Jonathan and his two brothers Ishvi and Malki-Shua (funny these names aren’t as popular as Jonathan today 🙂 ) were killed by the Philistines, and much later their remains were found and brought home, check out 2 Samuel 21

If you are reading this, doesn’t matter if you are Jewish, Christian or whatever, please consider praying that this young soldier gets released without any negotiations to release terrorists. By not negotiating with these kind of deals this halts the incentive for future possible kidnappings.

In the past some people like Terry Waite, a British Christian author and humanitarian was free after over four years in jail in Lebanon, and a similar thing also happened John Macarthy so I think there is hope.