We began our “new city” day at the Israel Museum, which had many more exhibits than we were able to see. One of the most striking is a big model of the Old City, but it also contains the Dead Sea Scrolls, strange sculptures, and antiquities like mosaics, Egyptian stuff, and Roman glass. I would have like to spend more time there.
Then it was on to Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum. Honestly, I think the one in D.C. is more affecting. There was a wealth of information here, though, and the children’s memorial, a very dark room with reflected points of light, where the names and ages of the dead children are read, was touching. There was a HUGE group of soldiers at the museum, which made it hard to get through. The museum has no shortcuts through the back and forth structure, so it was a maze.
We had lunch in the cafeteria there, which was divided into “meat” and “dairy.” We chose dairy. Apparently fish goes both ways. Oddly, few restaurants we’ve been to are kosher, but our dinner place was too, and it was on the “dairy” side.
Next we TRIED to visit the Knesset. Almost the first thing the guide said this morning (but not so early we could have done anything about it—Avshalom is a terrible guide) was that we needed passports for the Knesset. So back I went to the hotel while we waited for Israel Museum exhibits to open. What he didn’t tell us–and apparently didn’t know–is that there’s also a dress code for the Knesset: no shorts, t-shirts, sandals, etc. Most of the group didn’t pass, but weirdly I did (in my orange dress). We learned about Israeli democracy, and the key word is transparency. I wish we had some of that! While we’re at it, I wish we had a party system with coalition governments, but that’s a different story. We watched the rest of the group walk away, through the security fence, and had only to hope that they’d come back for us.
They did. Or rather, Avshalom did, and then we went back to the Israel Museum for the others, and then WALKED BACK to the same exact place he’d picked us up to look at a stupid menorah statue. He is really an idiot. I dislike him intensely.
We drove through the neighborhood of Mea Shearim, gawking at the Hasidic Jews. Seems kind of rude. I wondered what would happen to us improperly dressed gawking tourists if our bus broke down, but thankfully we didn’t have to find out. We skipped a stop from our schedule, Ammunition Hill. Will ask Avshalom tomorrow.
Back at the hotel, a pride parade was setting up outside our window. It looked very small compared to home, and with a HUGE police presence. This was needed, though, because there was a stabbing. We saw… not it, but the response to it. The emergency vehicles that had been trailing the parade suddenly dove through it like parting the Red Sea. Husband looked it up to know what had happened and found early news reports about the stabbing. In a shocking coincidence, apparently the same stabber attacked the parade 10 years ago, when Husband’s cousin was marching in it. Small world. The stabber had apparently just been released from prison, having had a 12-year sentence commuted to 10. Great job, guys. He was clearly not rehabilitated.
Even before the sirens started up, I’d been thinking how brave the queers of Israel must be to march in their pride parade. I didn’t even know how true that was.