Old City of Jerusalem
Today we saw three small museums in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. The first told the story of the battle over Jerusalem in 1948 when 150 Jewish defenders, using antiquated weapons, held off the Jordanian Army for ten days. They used children as runners to carry messages from one point to another. The soldiers ran from station to station firing shots so that it seemed like there were many more defenders. They rattled tin cans to make the Jordanians wonder what kind of weaponry they had. When they ran out of grenades they made their own. When they ran out of ammunition they were finally forced to surrender. The Jordanian commander was so surprised to find only 35 defenders left that he took young boys and old men in order to swell the ranks of the captives.
While Jordan was in control of the Old City of Jerusalem, they destroyed as much of that which was Jewish as they could. Synagogues were blown up and homes were burned. They sacked and set fired the Jewish Quarter. Today the Jewish Quarter has been completely rebuilt.
When we came back to Christ Church, there was a hullabaloo going on in the street. A bagpipe band was leading a Scout honour parade for the arrival of the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai, to the Maronite Convent located just behind Christ Church. He came to visit Jordan and Jerusalem along with Pope Francis and he is the first Lebanese religious official to set foot in the city since the war in ’67. He came in the face of serious opposition and criticism by Hezbollah. The Palestinian people along with the Lebanese Christians in Israel felt very supported by this visit. I can tell you that there was a party in our neighbourhood and a service to follow that went long into the evening.
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