I’ve been to Israel numerous times, and often meditated there, so this news release caught my attention. Fr. Ernesto’s explanations are spot on. So, if you want to get a different view into Arab-Israeli relations this will do it. If you have traveled to Israel and stood before the Wailing Wall, or on the Temple Mount, this will give you a very different picture to remember. The citizens of Jerusalem, especially in the Old City, must deal with this reality frequently. An ever present reality.
Today the news came across about fighting at the Masjid ul Aqsa compound. Most of us in the USAknow is as the Dome of the Rock. It is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site for Jews. Within its general area are both the mosque and the Wailing Wall. Of course, for Christians who believe in a dispensationalist interpretation of the Bible, this is the area where the new temple will be built. The whole site is known as the Temple Mount to the Jews and the al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims. It is like drawing a bulls-eye in the middle of Jerusalem to say, “aim here.” So, it is not surprising that fighting has broken out yet again.
I often try to get past local news reporting in order to try to get a broader interpretation of the news. Today I felt a bit puckish, and so I went to both Fox News and the Al Jazeera websites. To mysurprise, they actually agreed on the basic recounting of events. Both agree that an ultra-conservative Jewish group called for a demonstration in front of the Wailing Wall, and part of the mount. That, of course, was guaranteed to draw Arab students out. And, it was also guaranteed to draw the police and army out, since previous experience says that one ends up with dead people if one does not separate those two groups. Fox News tends to say that the students threw the stones first and the police then threw tear gas and stun grenades. Al Jazeera says it the reverse way. But, and this is significant, after the difference in how it started, they both agree in how it played out.
And that is because both sides actually have a dance that has been worked out since 1967. The Israeli police advance until they reach the mosque area, but will not go inside. The Palestinian youths retreat until they enter the mosque and then, generally, they stop throwing rocks, etc. Both sides then issue the mandatory condemnations, sort of like a pas de deux. By and large, with some exceptions, weapons of massive retaliation are not used by either side. But, this choreographed dance serves to show the “other” side that you are still there and you will steadfastly support your point of view. You ask, what is a pas de deux?
In ballet, a pas de deux (French, step/dance for two) is a duet in which ballet steps are performed together. It usually consists of an entrée, adagio, two variations (one for each dancer), and a coda.
And, so, in honor of the latest choreographed pas de deux, let me post one of the classic renditions from Swan Lake. As you watch it, think of the Israelies and the dwellers in East Jerusalem.