Went on an organized tour of the Old City of Jerusalem yesterday. The tour touched some the off-beat holy places, such as the Western Wall tunnels, the Temple Mount, the Abbey of Dormition, the tomb of King David, etc. After we had gone up Temple Mount and wandered around the vast paved platform, our guide shared a little story. (The place is controlled by the Waqf
, and the issue of Jews
going up the mountain makes them a bit queasy. Well, tough luck for them). In any case, the story goes like this: For some time, as the guide brought groups of Jewish tourists to the Temple Mount, a Waqf guard would come up to him, and tell him in a strict tone of voice: please remember that you're visiting a Muslim holy place, and are requested not to say anything that goes against Islam, is that clear? - Sure, perfectly clear, the guide would say. Then immediately, an Israeli policeman would approach the group and say: please be aware that you're on Israeli territory and are therefore allowed to speak freely on whatever subject you like, is that clear? - Perfectly clear, thank you. The same ritual would repeat day in and day out.