My friend Abner was recently traveling over in the Middle East. “Meet up with me for a few days in Israel”, he messaged me. He would cross the border from Jordan, and I would fly into Tel Aviv where we would connect and head to Jerusalem. I’ve been wanting to go to Jerusalem for a long time, and if I could work out the details, I wanted to go. I got the time off almost last minute, arranged for a cat sitter, packed a backpack, and went.
Being a person who is both fascinated by and terrified by politics, seeing the Knesset and watching the public debates was on my “to do list”. We were only there for four days and saved the Knesset for the last day, Tuesday. Unfortunately, that is the day that the Knesset isn’t open to the public until 4:00. We got there at 11:00. This is as close as we got:
So we went across the street to sit in the Wohl Rose Park to discuss our Plan B.
The first thing I saw in the garden was a tent. A tent that looked like it had been there for a long while. Repaired with strips of colored tape and surrounded by stones, it seemed that someone was living there full time. The area around the tent was neat and tidy and it looked like it might be cleaning/airing out day as the fly was open and bedding was folded and piled onto a chair outside the tent.
Then I saw the probable occupant of the tent. An elderly looking gentleman was washing dishes at the drinking fountain nearby. As a lover of people’s stories, I knew I had to talk to this man.
So I put some shekels in my pocket and although I had a full Nalgene bottle of water, I headed over to use the fountain using the pretense of wanting a drink to strike up a conversation.
I asked him if that was his tent, and introduced myself. It was. His name was David. He spoke English very well, but in a thick Hebrew accent. “Do you live here all the time?” I asked. He did. Under my questioning he told me was there to protest, “a private matter”, he said. He’d been protesting there for eight and a half years. He asked where I was from. He’d never been to Colorado, but wanted to go some day. He had lived in the states before and served in the U.S. Army. I could tell he wasn’t used to casual conversation, and I didn’t want to pry further. I offered him a blessing and asked that God would incline his ear towards this man through the Knesset so that his issue could come to resolution. I gave him the money I had put in my pocket, and we shook hands. He told me I was a “very kind lady”. I thanked him, wished him well, and left. He returned to his dish washing and I to planning Plan B.