Read the international press, and you could assume that Jerusalem is one divisive city. After all, Jerusalem has been the centre of disputes for thousands of years; 2 destroyed temples, crusades, Turkish rule, 4 different Christian sects fighting today for control of the Church of the Holy Sceptre, different orthodox Jewish groups, and loads more. So, it is easy for editors to play on the theme.
But if you walk round the city itself, you would have to ask why such drivel is sent to print by respected journalists. Jerusalem actively and continuously supports projects which encourage coexistence.
I recently wrote about Jerusalem hospitals hosting co-projects with Palestinians. I did not mention the sprawling Alyn rehab centre. It has been the saviours of countless lives, particularly young children, from all ethnic backgrounds.
Alyn’s “Wheels of Love” annual bike ride saw 650 participants from over 12 countries and several religions raise nearly US$3 million. When the bikers returned, many kids and their families, several distinguishable from their different attire, came to meet them.
Sounds too inspiring or Hollywoody, take something more mundane. Israel’s police force has sent a delegation to Northern Ireland to teach their co-professionals about ”fair policing models”.
These are successful techniques, which have evolved over time. Whether it be work in Jerusalem’s crowded streets or patrolling the diverse communities in the north of Israel, the Holy Land has much to teach police counterparts overseas.
Last Thursday night, I enjoyed a wonderful “thanksgiving meal”. I met up with one of the founders of the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, which now has reps in dozens of countries around the globe. With other friends, we commented on the new park planned in East Jerusalem, next to several Arab suburbs……..And the list goes on.
Yes. Not all is rosy. In the past 2 months, there have been provoked riots in the Old City. And ultra orthodox Jews have taken to the streets with violence against the police.
But these are not the stories of what is going on daily, the on-going stories of good news. And now you appreciate why good news rarely makes it in to leading media outlets.