What’s going on in Jerusalem?

Type “Jerusalem” into google and you will end up with a million and one news items, which together seem to indicate that the holy city is burning all over; ultra-orthodox Jews bashing up each other, a new light rail system that has suffered delays and strikes, and the usual geopolitical turmoil.

Walk down 99% of the streets throughout the city and you will find a very different Jerusalem, one riddled with culture, multiple religious backgrounds, peoples from 200 countries and much more. How to explain this “split personality” to an outsider?

Eric Silver’s posthumous book, “Dateline Jerusalem“, neatly encapsulates the conundrum. Silver was a wonderful journalist, staunchly Zionist but never afraid to criticise Israeli governments. His wife has just released a compendium of his writings on Jerusalem that read like a version of “war and peace”, where he describes the beauty of what is for many but mixed with the pain of what often happens on the political stage.

And what is that beauty today?

Take the latest event, “Hamshoushalayim“, which is a corruption of the Hebrew words for Thursday, Friday and Jerusalem. Running every weekend during the month of December, the festival combines food and culture, dance and science, churches and synagogues. All reports from last year were positive.

This is no one-off piece of spin. The second annual Jerusalem Design Week is about to open in a grand building, designed in  biblical theme by a German architect after the First World War. Jewish artists, Moslem musicians and overseas guests will all feature.

Earlier this week, I attended an event to honour new immigrants to Jerusalem. The mayor, Nir Barkat, gave the key address. He recalled that tourism to Jerusalem has close to doubled to nearly 4 million visitors over the past three or so years. His vision is for 10 million.

Realistic? Well the annual Marathon, scheduled for March 2012 is set to capitalise on last year’s success and thus should help to boost the numbers. And so I can go on.

So what’s happening in Jerusalem? As my daughter would say, plenty of “good stuff” for all. Shame that the international media cannot see fit to feature it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Israel, Jerusalem, Uncategorized

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