I left Israel and I am back in Amman (Capital of Jordan). Rod and I parted ways as he is continuing his trip in Israel for a while. It was nice to travel with someone for the last 10 days or so but it was time for me to resume my trip. We might meet again in Lebanon to have a beer or two (it would be the 4th country we have a beer together!) and catch-up on our latest stories.
The invisible man
Israel was not planned in my itinerary because Syria and Lebanon (Among many other Arab countries not including Egypt and Jordan) have not recognized Israel and hence do not let Israelis or people that visited Israel inside their borders. But I found out that there was a way to not get any proofs of this in my passport if I was going from Jordan to Israel and back through the King Hussein bridge border crossing. You can read this very complete report if you want to know more. Anyway, it worked as explained and my passport does not show anything. It is like I always have been in Jordan.
One striking (and saddening) thing about Israel but especially Jerusalem is the omnipresence of weapons. You can see people wearing guns everywhere from the long riffle on the shoulder to the handgun in the back of the pants. It is also not rare to have armed security guards at restaurant or club doors. All these create a climate of tension and I did not like the feeling.
We actually experienced the result of that tension many times. In old Jerusalem, as we were walking on Via Dolorosa, we happened to walk just behind a group of little Jewish kids being escorted by an armed man. This guy was looking around frantically and starred at us many times. I guessed it was time to back-up and stop to let them go! Or, while visiting the Mount of Olives, we met a group of young bully Palestinians kids that demanded for some baksheesh and then reverted to throwing stones at us after we had declined.
Even if I understand that the situation is very complicated and I don’t exactly grasp all of it, that is one of the reason I did not feel like staying longer. Hopefully, the situation will get better and everybody will live in peace and mutual respect soon.