A very special impression this year; to begin with, there are more and more visitors. They come the same way: groups from different parts of the country and the Jerusalem suburbs. Same youth, young and elderly, couples, Jews and arabs. More and more Arab families from outside of Jerusalem who are likely to speak Hebrew. There are moments, circumstances like these when people are on a sort of child-like kindergarten party and there is a cease-fire though the fire changes and ceased to be what the others may think. Alterity changes. Reluctance changes. The Arab girl that lost her family came to me as I was sitting between Jewish moms and Arab youngsters and the Police spoke to all and finally the mom and the dad came and they spoke perfect Hebrew though could keep on in Arabic. This is new. The "datim, pious, Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox" are astounded to see a priest, but this year there are also Catholic sisters. They did not show last year.
I am convinced that two thousand years ago, the Early Christians - who also were good are splitting among themselves - would have taken part in the festival and not only to try to convince that Jesus is... Just they were evident participants of the society. Today, the estrangement is huge, tantamount. The Christians think from abroad and not from the future of the Israeli reality. Some get into this new society. They do not come to the keys of a society that is also and mysteriously a part of the Church or at least the Great Assembly.
The local youths and young generation progressively share the same sorts of problems in daily life, economics, societal affairs. They look forward to how to stay or go and this concerns both Jews and Arabs.There are always strong-minded individuals or groups on all sides to contest and fight back, refuse to cope together. In these days, as years pass and the festivals take place, everywhere all components of Israeli and Arab peoples do meet more and more to visit "their" sites. Each has "their sites", but at least it is also very clear that, in this part of the Old City, the action is positive. It may take a long time before reporters and religious people accept to speak of positive aspects.
In this sense, it is evident that Jerusalem and the Old City plays an immense bridging role for the future and this future does not depend anymore on the Christian or the multi-deniminational trends. This requires to come back to the fundamentals of the Teaching.
av aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)