Here starts the road of Eternity to the center of the Universe. The white stones on the backdrop of the desert, under endless blue sky, keep thousand year old secrets.
Filled with a plethora of important historical sights, the Old City is greeting tourists. At first glance, one might think it is really focused on them; the merchants call out the visitors and the little shops show off souvenirs that are supposed to satisfy the simple taste of the followers of the three religions. But it is only at first glance. On this small piece of land, behind the stoned walls and the noisy narrow streets, life goes on. People are following their ancestors’ traditions; praying, arguing with neighbors, getting married, raising children.
Not particularly large from afar but the infinite Wall. The desires of millions are hidden between its stones. Birds like to sit on the tiny islands of greenery in between the stones. Tzadaka coins fall into charity boxes. Families with children, soldiers, tourist groups from all around the world, celebrating crowds are all flocking here, to the Source. All are asking for the same things.
David’s Tower (Migdal David), the citadel, is saluting those entering into the Old City. Guarding the Jaffa Gate, always awake on this important post, it preserves the history of the city. The Roman remains, the deeds of Mamelukes and Turks, and the flags on the top of the Tower encompass the history of two thousand years captured in a moment, under the starlit sky. In the daylight, the blue and white flags are waving in the wind like sailing boat coming home from a long journey.
Meshkanot Shaananim, the artists’ quarters. The narrow, bricked, European streets and stairs, the windmill surrounded by tulips. The hill, as if from a different time and geography, is looking at the Old City and is exchanging news with it, like good neighbors do.
The University on Mount Scopus, yet another significant tower. Little courtyards and paths made from the same white stone; rose bushes, pines and palm trees. From the Amphitheatre on a clear day one can see the Dead Sea. The desert is near but in the shade of the trees it’s almost cool. Another campus is in Giv’at Ram. Long alleys, bushy pines with large pinecones, green yards and a fountain—the landscape seemingly from a different climate was replanted here.
Jerusalem is not just a name of the city; not a mere geopolitical fact of the capital of a country. It is more than the longing of the people to their roots; more than their connection to their history. It is above the constant arguing among its inhabitants and the chess game of the meddling in its business countries. Jerusalem is a phenomenon. One cannot describe or explain it. One can only feel it and either push it away or fall in love with it forever, with all of it for eternity. Jerusalem was, is and will be. Amen.