# 300 – Jerusalem at 50 by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 300 – Jerusalem at 50

by

Artwork: Stephen Pohlmann

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
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December 15, 2016

In the life of Jerusalem, 50 years is nothing. But, like all references to history, today’s time is big. The soon-to-be 50 years since the liberation of the city is filled with events.

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These are made all the more relevant – to me – because I have lived parallel to them – just as I have witnessed the Beatles, the Civil Rights movement, the defeat of Communism and Apartheid, the revival of women’s rights and the intro of social media. (I purposely ignored the other hundreds of movements – there’s a limit to the length of these Letters).

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Yesterday we visited friends in a Jerusalem suburb. Despite the cool air and the missed sunset, we had to have a few minutes of one of the city’s best views – from the Sherover Promenade. This was developed about 30 years ago on the Western side of the city, located just about where the Judaean desert starts. Here are a couple of this pics I took yesterday..

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# 300 – Jerusalem at 50 by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 300 – Jerusalem at 50 by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 300 – Jerusalem at 50 by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com

 

  • Jerusalem was always the city of peace which, in other words, means the city of conflict. That’s human nature. Get used to it.

  • It has also been one of the World’s leading cultural meeting places. That also = conflict.

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  • But…it is one of the safest cities in the World. (Hear that, you potential tourists??). With America averaging 9 murders per 100,000 population (11 in the cities), Jerusalem had 1.5 per 100,000 = 13 murders (11 from terrorism). So far, this year, the total is 3!

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  • In 1948, it officially became the capital of the newly established Israel. For obvious reasons, it had to grow; become a fact. And it has. Now Israel’s largest municipality with over 1 million inhabitants. (Tel Aviv and surrounding satellite towns is larger, but…).

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  • It so happens that my wife, Aviva, was born in Yemin Moshe, the first Jewish neighbourhood to be established inside the Old City walls. Named after its sponsor, the Englishman, Moses Montefiore. Since then, much to our disappointment, the city has expanded unbelievably. And of course, so much of the new construction clashes sadly with the ‘Biblical’ style. C’est la vie.

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  • The light-rail system (tram) has revolutionised travel around the city.

  • Drive to Jerusalem today from Tel Aviv, and you will see major construction of roads, bridges, tunnels etc., many of which are connected to the new high-speed train to Tel Aviv, due to open in 2018.

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  • I’ve mentioned the anomaly that, despite being OUR capital, the World does not quite agree, and there are currently zero foreign embassies in Jerusalem . Trump is yet another who promises to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. (The plot of land is ready). But we’ve been there before.

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Of course, if the Palestinians gain their independence and have their capital in East Jerusalem, then that’ll be an interesting diplomatic puzzle for the international community. 100 embassies in the east of the city, and none in the west….I’ve suggested constructing them all on the border/wall/fence/dividing line. And perhaps having 2 entrances in each.

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I don’t want to belabour the point, but there are Holocaust survivors still alive who remember the horrors and could never have imagined that ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ could become a reality, with over 600,000 Jews now living there.

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And last night, because of some interesting connections, I attended a show at the Jerusalem theatre, featuring actors, singers and the Jerusalem Andalusian Orchestra (35-strong).

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May not be everyone’s cup of tea, but highly professional and very special….It’s basically the style of the Jews from Spain who were expelled and settled, until recently, in Morocco, and are now a colourful section of this very cosmopolitan land.

This is living history.

Stephen

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