Israel 2018: Normalization

Israel 2018: Normalization

Beauty is powerful.

The atmosphere in Old Town Jerusalem felt normal to me. I felt lucky to not be irritated by anything when walking in the streets. Little changes I noticed, the Jewish house you pass when walking from the Damascus Gate towards the Western Wall now is running a little café, a Palestinian café has opened just around the corner in the Via Dolorosa, too.

What does the normalization mean? Do we now need to see peace negotiations and agreements that also institutionalize the togetherness of all people living within the boarders of what I always call Israel. Institutions for all people in Eretz Israel. What if normalization only allows some people to benefit from it, other start to give up and get frustrated, and frustration will lead to protest and violence. Violence does not help anyone. Peace is patient.

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Israel 2017: Following light

Israel 2017: Following light

Peace in Jerusalem, peace in the world. Third time in Israel. Walking the country in circles. Following the idea of peace at every corner. Seeing a change. Getting lost in the idea of love, too. 

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Jerusalem was waiting for me. I was curious to be back and to see the city. Staying at the Armenian hospice in the Via Dolorosa, I had time to explore the city for a week. I just kept walking around, sometimes running around. I followed my intuition.

At the same time, I felt that the place is singing the same song. The atmosphere in the city had changed. Security was organized and children and young men as well as women did not play an provocative and dangerous war. There is tension thought. It was a careful balance, still based on mistrust and hope. The sound of the city had changed within two years. As if people started talking with each other again. At least at some level.

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Israel 2016: Feeling water

Israel 2016: Feeling water

A morning in Jaffa. At dawn after New Years. After a visit in Nazareth. 

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Watching birds flying from north to south over the Jordan valley, I was wondering if my wings are going to take me back to this place again. My wish to walk the path for peace and to constantly be a honest voice for peace did grow with every day in silence.

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Nazareth is surrounded by hills. The Basilica is a massive building. Visitors enter the yard around the church through a gate. The motives of a sailing boat and a harp -- navigation and music -- are motive at the side entrance. It speaks to me. For some reason, the water was almost exploding and jumping up my fingers when I touched the water basin when entering.

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Walking around old town Jaffa is refreshing and inspiring. Napoleon was there and Egyptian traders. It has been connecting point between cities and coastal routs for centuries. The wish gate is on top of the Jaffa hill. Pass it and your wish will become true. My wish is peace in the world. This wish is spoken out on the Jaffa hill, next to the sea. Again and again.

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Israel 2015: A green dessert

Israel 2015: A green dessert

"Peace in Jerusalem, peace in the world" became a wish after my stay in the Galilee in January 2015. As a German, I also was looking for forgiveness when talking to Jews, who became friends during my visit. And people spoke words of forgiveness. Walking around Jerusalem really opened my eyes for the beauty of the city, its spiritual power and its tensions of distrust especially among young people, who grew up without friends from the other, the either Jewish or Palestinian part of the city. How comes that you are not interested in learning your neighbors language? 

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A man, a rabbi's son from Denmark, told me that my generation is too young to be called guilty for what happened during World War II. It was important for me to hear his words. I found what I wanted to find and still had 10 days before flying home.

I left Israel with the impression of having been in a wonderful country. A place I need to learn more to see and to understand. The love I felt and the relieve was immense and badly needed for my soul. Visiting Israel, meeting Jewish friends, saying shalom to the man next to me after the silent retreat, made me feel happy from inside. Also seeing the political institutions, the parliament, the courthouse and the museums that reminds us of our duties and our obligations, made me feel proud. And still, the energy and the aggression I felt in many parts during my travels made me feel concerned. What if our children's future is at stake because of internal extremism and misuse of political and social power?

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