Friday, March 16, 2012

He walked, I rode

(Confused ass on the road to Jerusalem)
Rented a bicycle, rode along the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias, and fell off just once, in the mud at a Roman archaeological site that will be something to see if Israel ever makes it accessible.

And, in another experience that reminded me of Matt Rees' crime novels,  my driver to Hebron and Bethlehem, asked why rich Arab governments don't pour money into the Palestinian territories the way Jewish benefactors do into Israel, said: "They did. It all wound up in Swiss (bank accounts)."

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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12 Comments:

Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Peter, pleased you are enjoying yourself. I'm wondering when the flotillas with famous crime writers aboard will start heading for Syria to help the poor people stuck in the middle of a civil war.

March 16, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, protesting against certain regimes is simply not done in the best circles. You should know that.

Few will even go as far as Matt Rees does and suggest that the PA is corrupt and Hamas are terrorists because that might involve talking to ordinary Palestinians, rather than just their publicists and defenders.

March 16, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

I like the donkey photo.

March 16, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Seeing that dear little donkey reminds me of the activities of the Brooke Hospital for Animals, "an international animal welfare organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the world's poorest communities," (including Palestine) that has its origins in the post-World War I Middle East. Among other activities, they host clinics, providing "free treatment to the working equines of the world's poorest people."

What I like about them is they don't just sit around posturing and wringing their hands about animal welfare, they get out and make it happen. I suppose you might say their premise is similar to the Chinese (?) parable: "Give a man a fish and he won't starve for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he won't starve for his entire life." If people learn how to properly care for their animals and their animals' harness, the animals can serve them longer and more productively. The Brooke are not sentimental horse-huggers. They are practical. They show, for ex., how to trim and care for hooves ("no hoof, no horse") how to adjust and/or pad harness so it is doesn't chafe or cut into an animal's skin, etc. And they demonstrate practices that animal owners and handlers can implement very simply, with inexpensive or no-cost adjustments of equipment and behavior modification (on the part of the animals' owners). So much of what we in the West see as brutality and cruelty is just ignorance. With few exceptions, people want to properly care for the animals that they depend on for their livelihoods. For a horse lover like me, a horse is a luxury companion. For the guy in that truck, that little donkey is a co-worker.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the Brooke, their Web site is: http://www.thebrooke.org/

And there’s even a crime fiction connection to the Brooke… Magdalen Nabb, author of the Marshal Guarnaccia series, was a horsewoman and a big supporter of the Brooke, including going on sponsored rides to raise money for the Brooke. I miss the regular appearance of another Marshal Guranaccia novel. She died at 60 after suffering a stroke… while horseback riding.

March 16, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

if Israel ever makes it accessible

That is a site I would very much like to visit! The continual encroachment of the modern city all around it is worrisome. Israel is so small and development pressures are enormous... Maybe I wouldn't mind so much if those contemporary buildings were a fraction as architecturally and decoratively significant as the ancient ones.

I don't know that this is the case in the example of Tiberias, but a former colleague, an Israeli conservator, told me that much of archaeological investigation in Israel is highly politicized. She gave the example of a site (8th or 9th c., I believe) where she was working whose building features indicated that Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived side-by-side (evidence of particular rooms for ritual practices, etc.) and not in separate areas of the town. She and some of her colleagues were excited by the material findings at the site but the Israeli team leader squelched wide publication of the excavation's results, largely because he did not want to have it known that more than a 1000 years ago, people of these 3 religions (esp. Jews and Muslims!) lived, if not in perfect harmony, at least cooperatively.

Tiberias has a significant Islamic history, too; remains of at least 3 mosques have been found. No mention of that at the link. Yes, I realize that “Jewishmag.com” serves a particular readership.

March 17, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I know a donkey on the road to Jerusalem plays a significant role in the Christian Bible, but it was carrying someone (and the most significant person who ever lived, for Christians), and not itself being carried. I wonder how the role reversal went over.

March 17, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I suggested to this interesting Israeli Arab driver that joint Israeli-Palestinan excavations might be a step toward peace, or at least toward getting people to realize that they must share the country.

March 17, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, is the Brooke organization named for Rupert Brooke? It sounds like an admirable group.

The Jewish sage/Aristotelean /philosopher/physician to Salah al-Din's vizier and son, Maimonides, formulated laws of charity that are reminiscent of the proverb about teaching a man to fish. The highest level of charity, he wrote, was to help a man become able to support himself.

Once we're on the subject of Maimonides, I visited his tomb here in Tiberias last night. Several of the early sages who put the Talmud together are also buried at the site, and active sight of worship, with prayer books available for those who want them.

March 17, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, and then, in one of Judaism's four holy cities, I went out to eat on a the Sabbath in a restaurant that played blues music in the background.

I don't know if I'll make a separate post of this, but the Bible Museum in the Jerusalem is a spectacular and spectacularly informative display of history and artifacts of the ancient Near East from the neolithic through Roman times. I'm going to pick up my Pritchard again when I get home.

March 17, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

No, the Brooke is named for Dorothy Brooke, an Englishwoman who set up a hospital in Cairo to care for ex-cavalry horses, most of whom were from England, after WWI, when many had been abandoned or and left to fend for themselves.

You certainly are packing a lot of interesting experiences into this short trip. I wonder if I'll ever get to that part of the world, to do my "in the footsteps of St. Helena" tour. Hey! Did you find me a piece of the True Cross yet?!

Back to donkeys... Yes, the ass was there at the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt, and the Entry into Jerusalem. And probably other stops along the way. And to think that this gentle animal is still serving mankind in the same way in the 21st c.

March 17, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I got the museum;s name wrong. It's the Bible Lands Museum.

I bought you a piece of the True Cross from a felafel vendor in Bethlehem, who threw in a couple of thorns on the side.

March 17, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mark Twain had some nice things to say about donkeys, too.

March 17, 2012  

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