The palestinia protest village of Bab Al-Karama, Beit Iksa, January 2013. Two men in the background are building the provisional mosque.
Wahrscheinlich der einzige Gewinner der kleinen Bethlehemer Touristen-Krise: Ahmad verkauft Kaffee an einer Straße, an der viele Taxifahrer auf Kundschaft warten. Zur Zeit warten diese viel – und trinken viel Kaffee.
- Bethlehem, 23.12.2012 -
When I went to Bethlehem to write a story about the impact of the Gaza war on the local tourism industry I did not think of meeting Mary and Joseph there, and most of all not in a gift shop. But here they were, selling souvenirs nowadays: wooden crosses, nativity scenes, bibles. When they told me their names I did not believe them at first. But Mary was very convincing, she was even prepared to show me their ID cards. Marys son ran around the shop during our conversation shooting with his pen invisible creatures. He will be managing the shop one day.
And no, his name is not Jesus.
- Bethlehem, 23.12.2012. -
Jerusalem is full of oddities, you get somewhat used to them. But sometimes you’ll come across something completely unexpected e.g. flags that only German Neo Nazis use, at least nowadays. I went to the Tower of David Museum to research a story about the German Kaisers visit to Jerusalem. They put together a lovely exhibition, nothing daring, but lovely and right in the middle of it hung these flags which gave me the chills. The curator would only shrug her shoulders when asked: “These were the colours of the Kaiser.”
To read my (German) report about the Kaisers visit click here
Basically, I love photography – and travel. You could say I travel to take photographs and take photographs to travel
This is Eitan Cohen, he served in a special forces unit of the Israeli Army for five years, trained counter-terrorism units on three continents and could well have been a priest - along with the singer Leonard Cohen, the comedian Sasha Baron Cohen and the German-French politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
If you think now: “Aren’t these guys somewhat unworthy with their killing, singing, racketing and arguing?”, you could be right but still you are wrong. It is the other way around. It is either them or no one. Because they could all be descendants of Aaron, the brother of Mose and the first high priest of Judaism, their ancestors could all have been priests. Their name, Cohen, suggests just that. But in this case life would have not been pleasant for our four Cohen brothers. There are alot of rules for priests: They have to stay clean, so if you are a “Kohain” you should be wary of the dirt of daily life and especially of the most dirtiest of all people, the dead (so, no strolling at graveyards for them); actually that holds true not only for some old lineage of judaic priests but for you too because you never know what the dead are up to. Former Middle East correspondent Richard Ben Cramer tells in a book the story of how one day Israel wanted to build a road and found some human bones in the ground at the building site. So, some orthodox Jews declared it a gravesite and they had to construct a bridge that would not touch ground in order to make transit on this road possible for all the priests.
However, Eitan is way past that point. He has got some weird business going on with death: When I met him he showed some 19-year-old american nerds how to shoot a 9mm-gun properly – but thats the story of a another post.
How being in Israel changes what you see (and remember): A beachgoer drew an orthodox jew into the sand of one of Jaffas beaches. How I knew? Because of the hat. They call it a “Shtreimel”, it is furry and it is mostly worn by married Haredi jews on Shabbat or jewish holidays. On fridays in Jerusalem you can spot a lot of hats like this, especially in the vicinity of the ultraorthodox quarters. To see a real Shtreimel, click here. Ah, and please, if you want to blend in and wear a hat like this yourself: do not mistake it for the furry thing Russians wear in winter. Their hat is called “Ushanka”. It has got ear protection. The current day-time temperature in Jerusalem is 26 °C. Wearing such a hat would make even the ultraorthodox jews with their “Shtreimels” stare at you.
Passing by Yehuda Market in #Jerusalem we heard people shouting and singing. We entered the market: A guitarist clapped the beat on his guitar, his compagnions playing pieces of melody. People were dancing frantically and they were singing: “Lucy in the sky with diamonds”, the Beatles classic. We joined them for a dance.
Couples in Germany attach locks like this to bridge rails – as a token for their indivisible love. I do not know who put this lock at a fence in the Old City of Jerusalem. But “Custom creates law” becomes highly political in a land which three world religions and two nations claim as their own. Monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre use it to enlarge their church space and Israeli Settlers are building whole cities in the West Bank hoping that this principle holds true. This lock was put there to divide.