Back in the 60s and 70s, the word ‘peace’ was a greeting used by hippies, I wonder if they got the idea from Jews and Arabs who have used it as a regular hello in their respective languages for a few thousand years.
Just lately I have found it interesting with seeing examples of false peace here in Israel, not just what I see on the news. Normally its from other nations who are asking the State of Israel to compromise with its security arrangements and borders, but there are some other things as well.
In southern England, around the countryside there are small buildings we called ‘follys’, they are buildings that where made with no specific purpose whatsoever, they were just made to provide a centrepoint on the hill above a village or mark a land boundary and to provide employment for local labourers.
In Nazareth, I saw a slightly odd aerial shaped monument next to the precipice. Now the precipice is a hill which was meant to be where people tried to throw Jesus off that got upset by his teaching in the synagogues.
On top of here looking south you can see a spectacular view over Megiddo and Mount Tabor. One is the place of previous wars and a future one planned for the end of the world, and one is a possible location of Jesus’s transfiguration. On the other less steep side of the hill facing northwards is a TV aerial shaped thing at the front with a series of concrete steps to sit on which looks like a pleasant place to watch a concert or (small) sports event. The paths that lead in between the step have rough gravel on them, certainly no good for people with baby carriages or wheelchairs. It looks unfinished and rushed to be honest. If I remember correctly this project was a gift for peace to the people of Nazareth from the Pope and the Vatican in circa 1997. Having said that, the view up here is terrific, and it would be nice to see some live bands up there, but I didn’t see anything on any posters about any live music scene. If you are interested in my travels to Nazareth, start here on part 1 of my trip the city of Jesus’s youth.
In Sderot, I went with my friend Daniel from work with one of his community projects to a small town that most of you will know gets used as target practice for terrorists in Gaza. These poor people live with worry of being next hit by Katusha rockets. Next to some fields and an army base on a hill I can see directly into Gaza less than 1.5km away. Up here is a giant musical instrument, with some chime bars and a hammer thing on a piece of rope you can use to ring as a ‘peace’ gift for Israelis and Gazans. I don’t remember who made this thing, but it a novelty chime instrument doesn’t help people having to rush into bomb shelters especially when they happen when their kids go to school.
Jerusalem is the same. Near my house is the UN headquarters, and close to there is a monument with some inscriptions in English, Hebrew and Arabic, probably say people need to give each other a hug or something.
Closeby is the Haas promenade, there is a really nice place to walk along the side of the hill which attracts Arab and Jewish families having picnics and foreigners on rented electric Segway chariots. On the paths that go down, is a few peace monuments here, these actually look quite decent that are designed a viewpoints over the city.
That is until you go up the steps to view out of them, there is graffiti inside them, and smells of that they have used as a toilet. One of the monuments that was a gift from Canada, has some wooden steps that go sideways onto the path. Trouble is most of the wooden slats of the steps you can see below are missing, as someone stole them probably for firewood for their barbecue.
Ezekiel 13 : 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash.
Really, these buildings from foreign nations trying to help Israel, seem like nice gestures, but are not implemented well and are a bit shortsighted in their actual useful value. Its a bit like getting a present of a picture of an ornament you don’t really like and having to put it on the wall when you friend comes round so not to hurt their feelings.
Other examples of false peace are so called authorities that provide prizes or bestow awards, such as PLO chairman Yasser Arafat who got a Nobel Peace award in 1994. Also a well known ex-Palestinian terrorist who wrote a book about accepting Jesus, has be spoken about as being a fraud as still hating Israel, after some things spoken about recently in Arabic appears to be different from the story he originally gave in his book.
Architects seem to like create buildings for peace purposes that don’t quite yet have a proper purpose to them.
My thinking is if you want to do a tangible construction project for peace purposes maybe start with something that has a social benefit like hospitals and schools. I really like the Magon David ambulance service which I think is entirely funded by foreign donations, but assists Jewish, Arab and foreigners to Israel if an accident or emergency happens.
I am really proud to part of Bridges for Peace, true, our two food banks won’t win any design awards, our headquarters looks lovely and has a wonderful garden but is tucked away from the public with an electric gate, and my role is in a backroom to look after resources and equipment, but the works we do impact the poor people in this nation, as well try as close as we can to follow the actions of Jesus in this land to the most needy.
Jeremiah 8 : 8-12 “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,”when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have? 10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.
It smells nasty in this look out post, signs of arson and grafitti, not all of it bad though!
My point isn’t to poke fun too much at efforts to make peace between nations, but for me, true reconciliation will only happen between Israel and the Arab neighbours will happen with Jesus’s return.
Part 2 of this article is here: