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.

https://britinjerusalem.com/2009/10/02/succot-and-gilat-shalit-video/

https://britinjerusalem.com/2010/08/18/kidnapped-gilad-shalit-4-years-on 

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!

Saturday afternoon cycling and robots

When I was a child, I had this dream where I was in a playground and all the other children had run off out of the school, I wasn’t sure what they worried about, I turn around and there is an evil robot coming towards me.  It was a weird nightmare I had a few times…

Today I decided to take a ride around my neighbourhood of East Talpiyot in other direction away from Jerusalem city centre.  I head to a convenience store and get a bottle of Fanta and ride back along the main road, towards the food bank which I work there typically one day a week. Anyway I am riding my bike across a junction where there are some traffic lights and I see a policeman stopping a coach and talking to the driver, he doesn’t see me and I ride past him, in the corner of my eye there is a policewoman and a police Ford Focus stopped diagonally at the traffic…    Then someone yells at me STOP three times….  At the same time I hit the brakes when I see what is ahead of me… If you can’t see anything, look closer at the taller white railings.  There is a garbage bin with usual piles of old clothes spilling out like I see on most street corners and about 15 metres ahead is a bomb disposal robot with caterpillar tracks and a single arm is analysing the piles of clothes…. I turn around and head to the opposite side of the road, the police don’t seem to be cross that I didn’t notice this road block. I get some pictures.   The robot is partially concealed by the barriers in the road. Apart from my childhood nightmare turning into a reality, this experience didn’t worry me too much, there are all kinds of circumstances where items abandoned in odd places start a security concern and procedures have to done to see if there is a genuine threat.   Its just I often see piles of rubbish falling out in bins like this. I talk briefly to two men sitting on a bench, its seems quite funny.   I take a detour to another street to go south towards out of Talpiyot. Another 5kms or so down the road, and this is a nice view of a very new housing estate, my maps tell me this is called Homat Shmuel. A little bit further and now I am completely out Jerusalem and I can see the border with the West Bank.

Border controls.  I take a U turn and head back on the main road.

This sign seems interesting.  This is pointing the another biblical place, seemingly named after a king who was famous for killing babies.  This adventure is for another day as I have no water left and ought to get back.

Just before going home, I did see these ruins which look Roman looking, from standing in Derech Hevron Street.

June Gaza Flotilla incident and being a volunteer in a unpopular place

I know Christians working in numerous troubled parts of the world all over.  Pakistan, South Africa, Chile, Ukraine and many more.  Western nations as well.   For me, being in Israel has to be one of the most difficult, not so much just in the context of my actual role and living there, but more in case of being an ambassador and explaining to people in my home country both Christians and non-Christians alike why I am volunteering there.

“Christians supporting Israel? Oh so you are Zionist are you?”  is sometimes reactions I get.   This week has been particularly difficult as I try and explain to some people what I believe why the IDF had to board the ships by ‘freedom fighters’ trying to enter Gaza.

In a usual predictable fashion, there is worldwide condemnation of Israel being an aggressor on civilians yet again.   But hold on are these people really people providing humanitarian aid and support to the Palestinians?  Look on Youtube and you can see videos released by the IDF about these people came armed, ok mostly with relatively crude weapons, kitchen knives, iron bars and such, but still able to kill.   Fine if you wish to make a legitimate statement they could of just held up banners and could arrange a third party from the UN to arbitrate sending goods and assistance from their boat to the people in Gaza, instead they were there motives are not so well intentioned.  Even more so, one of the pro-Palestinian activists (I think from the UK or Europe) brought an 18 month old child, why?  Sounds familiar like Hamas terrorists deliberately attack Israel from amongst buildings knowingly containing women and children.  To the folks from Europe, just like some anarchic animal rights protest group, it probably seems jolly exciting to join a band of mercenaries against what they have read as an oppressive authority, and join a cause.  Its now been found that the supposed Turkish freedom fighters have links to Al Queda.

As I said earlier, I am not really a political sort of person.  In the UK I have voted on all three parties at different years, sometimes though when injustice and lies come from our familiar media channels you need to speak out, and when you are a Christian supporting Israel, your views are not always very popular.  All boycotts are a stupid and pointless thing and don’t achieve anything productive.  Instead we need pray and show love to people in all places of conflict.   Israel may get financial support from the US, but for me as a volunteer, the kind donations I have been given by people this year can be counted on one hand.   I am in great need of sponsorship and through asking through various channels, finding a regular sponsor has turned up very little so far.

My role as an IT administrator in the charity in Jerusalem means I have a relatively hidden backroom job but very necessary role of keeping a charity infrastructure running.  As usual with my blog I don’t like talking about politics and arguing, so I will get back to just more biblical places I have visited and seeing people in need lifted up and encouraged by the different Christian organisations I know of here.