Arriving in Tel Aviv last Wednesday, I was not prepared for the secular and wonderful nature of the city. It was truly modern, thriving, full of wonderful people (and food), and the beach was by far the best that I have ever visited. Furthermore, the different races, cultures and ethnicities lived more or less side by side with no visible tension between them. Jerusalem a few days later, however, was even more of a shock to my preconceived notions. I had expected a pious and conservative city, but did not expect to see the level of separation and tension between Jews and Arabs so evidently. Upon our initial tour of the Hebrew University campus we were told at one point, regarding an Arab village that was overlooked by the campus, that it was a dangerous area. When we inquired further, the person remarked that they had never been there and that they had never spoken to anyone from there. This was one of the first things that struck me as deeply troubling.
|An Arab village overlooked by the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University|
|An Israeli settlement atop a hill on the road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea|
|A Palestinian makeshift village along the same road|