Behind the photo pics in Jerusalem
Jerusalem – the city of peace, a centre for three major religions – has been dividing peoples and nations for thousands of years. The title of my blog, Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem, shows just how much I care and love and admire the pleasures of the place.
However, my personal passion cannot hide that again Jerusalem has caused more argument around the globe in the past week. At the United Nations, Israel has been lambasted for planning to build extra housing in what she sees as the capital of her country. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Hamas leaders have celebrated twenty five years of armed struggle against Israel, declaring that they will never recognise the modern Jewish state and its capital. Impasse, no?
I remain hopeful. The reason is that away from the news and the mass media, life in the city is really pretty good indeed.
Sharon reminded me of this picture of hope. She runs a growing blog called “The Real Jerusalem Streets”, which uses photography to illustrate the real facts. Take for example her feature earlier this year on Arab women in Jerusalem, working and roaming freely. A similar montage back in August was equally enlightening.
These are no isolated moments captured through a lens. This weekend I read a feature on a small dairy restaurant in the centre of the city called Tmol Shilshom. It is boutiquey, if such a word exists. It is frequented by writers and poets. It has won the 2012 “certificate of excellence” from Tripadvisor. All very nice, but there is one very crucial factor to this success, that is ignored by even the most cosmopolitan of overseas journalists.
The chief chef of this outstanding restaurant is Ma’azan Shwicki, an Arab who started in the culinary profession back in 1982 doing the washing up. Not only is his work now recognised by Tripadvisor. His breakfast is also considered one of the top ten in the world by “Lonely Planet“. And all this effort is soon to be combined with being the Muchtar of Abu Tor in the south east neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem may not be perfect. It may not have reached the visionary standards of so-called moral politicians around the world. And for all that, despite the stress and the tensions, today’s Jerusalem has much to teach others about how to co-exist together.