Friday, May 24, 2013


By Gama Harjono, executive summary by darmansjah

History of holy land formed by politics and beliefs. The city is also a destination cruise special.
"My security agents. Your objective in Israel? "The question was ejected from the wearing  lip gloss.
After midnight, about 20 years old woman that greeted me at the bridge plane. I was not even flat on the floor Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv.

"Oh, to visit the Holy Land," I answered in a convincing, though sleepy. The view that women investigate. At his side, the two colleagues looking facial muscles that lie, like the techniques used secret agents. Their mission is only one: to thwart the efforts of terrorism in Israel.

The first Hebrew state in the last two millenium this is not the usual cruise destination. In the 'hot', the word must share space tourism with politics and conflict. No wonder the local government to control human traffic are very tight. As a result, I face the same barrage of questions in the box next immigration. Half an hour then the immigration process is complete. Those who 'pass' stamped stickers to be submitted to the officer at the door outside. Here, I heaved a sigh of relief.

Apparently, I arrived at the residents prepare to celebrate the Sabbath. This is the first time in life. There are many new things that I learned. I was trying to understand its meaning. An hour before sunset, buses and trains have stopped operating. As a result, I had to walk to the old city of Jerusalem-that fed springs in the desert.

The golden sun hanging low. Jaffa Street extends from new settlements to the old city walls. Activity is so bustle. I stopped at a traditional market Jaffa Center. The atmosphere tub feast: buyers invade the fruit stalls, people bought eggs, bread, and canned food. Chicken traders do not want to lose, shouting hawking merchandise.

"Anyone know how old Jerusalem? Asking Dvir at the foot of the castle walls. The young man was smiling guide us-12-traveled people of different nations in the Old Town. We will cross the historic halls.

The answer is, no less than 3,000 years. The town is a source of tension at the top of the mountain plateau Moriah was less excuse than the great religions. "Jerusalem successive rulers: Persians, Greeks, Christians, Muslims, Christians, Muslims," said Dvir. "With any luck, the new ruler of justice. But they can also repel or destroy the minority. 

"Israel took over the Old City from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. At that time the Jews gathered to pray at the western wall. Israel's fear of Muslim anger, immediately return the rest of the complex to those who think the Haram Al-Sharif as a place of worship.

Dvir start the tour from Jaffa Gate. Its location, not far from the Tower of David. But now the location of the towers as well as the classic "First and Second Temple," Mount Temple (First and Second), building sacred to the Jewish people-no longer clear. I actually found traces of bullet-sized hole in the wall of the tower. Thus, the remains of all issues that split the nation of Israel and Palestine-the most easily erupt is a matter of the highest authority on Mount Moriah.

We explored one at a settlement in the area that is formed as the last battlefield for the glory of God in the various traditions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Initially I suspect there are only three settlements-based nation by force. Apparently there were four: Armenia.

"You know, the Armenians were the first Christians," said the friendly youth is bombastic. Suddenly, puzzled faces urgent explanation. Is not Christianity was brought to Europe by the Romans? "Make no mistake, King Tiridates grand which made ​​Christianity the State religion in Armenia. They are the first Christian nation in the world. "

So, Dvir again commented, "We stay inside. We do not expand, but you do not come in. "He refers to the settlement of Armenians were nicknamed"  hush-hush quarter. "Armenian nation lived in the complex courtyard enclosed with a door height of no more than half. They would not let a stranger come in and do the marriage "internal" to the young fellow. In this way they managed to "survive" among the majority. Over the past 1,700 years, the Armenians to "balance" between the tension Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

We went on tour, to Jewish settlement. On the Sabbath, the main square looks relaxed. Orthodox residents sitting in the garden, keluaraga prams across the reconstructed Hurva Synagogue in the 10 years.

"Ironic is not it, Hurva means 'ruins' is a synagogue that was inaugurated in 2010. The entire neighborhood was bulldozed by Jordan and rebuilt by the Jews. "Dvir then explains Six Day War and other bloody clashes. Difficult to stem the tears at the thought of fighting human suffering in this holy city.

World standard infrastructure here. The entire hall in the old town is slick, and lighted signage in three languages​​: Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Military and police manning guns dititik strategic, as well as hundreds of CCTV to record every angle. "You still think of the city's most 'cable' is London?" Asking Dvir pointing eastward.

Dvir then pointed toward the east. 360 degree view of the skyline. Outside the city walls seem Mount of Olives, a site sacred to the major religions. It is said that Jesus was crying at the top of the hill while the Jewish Second Temple consult the star collapse. Meanwhile, inside the city walls, at the foot of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Archaeological Park , the ruins of Roman pillar exhibit, a silent witness to the city's heyday in the classic era.

In the Jewish settlement of archaeological excavations, the remains of a Roman street cardo alias extends from north to south. "Since this is a residential area, underground mining is limited," said Dvir. It is Jerusalem underground hide the secret. There is a drainage tunnel former Jewish Second Temple-era Jewish king Herod who called for the killing of all babies in order to prevent the triumph of Jesus Christ. Because so popular, this tunnel tour bookings must be some months before.
We were right in the heart of Jerusalem. I can not see the beauty of mosaic Qubbat As-sakrah (Dome of the Rock), because it is closed to non-Muslims. The third holiest site for Muslims is able to withstand an earthquake that knocked down Al-Aqsa Mosque and other buildings. Masterpieces of this octagonal limestone towers over Mount Moriah.

Qubbat As-Sakhrah built in 691 AD, and was soon followed by the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Muslims started to respect this as a place which Prophet Mohammed started the journey to heaven in Miraj. "The same is believed location of the Jewish Temple, direction of prayer for the Jews," said Dvir.

"Is there a conflict between Jews and Muslims?" Ask a Swedish tour participants. Dvir's brow furrowed. Diplomatic ability tested. "Currently there is no clash in the settlement. You know, now people are busy earning a living. "

Once arrived at the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, I came across the papers tucked in between the crack walls. Adherent Hebrews believed God read the messages written on the papers. Some Jews prayed fervently and occasionally rocking forward and back, like a trance. "You mean Shuckling" asked Dvir. "Oh, it's an expression, every person has his own style, there is a shake of his head." Apparently, shuckling believed by Jewish residents increased the intensity of prayer.

At 13:40, the procession began blessing the wine. Rows of men and women separate left and right. Without permission, a rabbi gave a prayer blessing plump grapes in Hebrew.

Occasional translation provided by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish American accent. "Shalom! We see the land of Israel is such a holy place. If you come to Israel, you take a piece of its essence. Bring openness! Then from the lips do not seem to reverberate, "Amen."

Mothers hooded open plastic bags, distributing nuts and pastries. A long-bearded man pouring wine and soft drinks for anyone. With them, I come to eat and drink. Not because of hunger and thirst. I appreciate any small gesture share it.

Crossing the Muslim settlement, our attention was diverted by a unique souvenir along David Street. In addition to the large, this region is also the most congested and crowded. Imagine 25,000 people live in the kiosks, stalls, restaurants, and the occasional minaret peeking in between the rows of fabric and miniature key ring.

"You know where we are?"Asking said Dvir glance crosses hanging on the side of the church. "Via Dolorosa?" Replied the man. Dvir nodded. Precisely, we were in the station (point marker) ninth. For Christians, Via Dolorosa (Path Passion) is an important pilgrimage destination through 14 stations where Jesus stood before the cross.

Around the corner St.  Helena Church. Dvir was serious, "you see the field of cement? It is actually church roof. Jerusalem is so small, every inch counts. "An Ethiopian priest gray green robes faithfully sitting on the roof of the church. Ethiopia is more famous for its food shortage problem turned out to be significant communities in the old city. "Quota" Ethiopian Christian community is just a roof. But make no mistake, this is the roof of the Church of Saint Sepulchre. They say Jesus was crucified in this place.

The uniqueness of this church is a universal value. At the time of the Crusades, knights coming from Europe to take back the place of pilgrimage. Today, the shrine dedicated to the various Christian denominations. Since the 12th century, the church key guarded by a Muslim family on the orders of Sultan Saladin, who allowed Christians and Jews living in the city.

From the roof, we passed the altar for the altar of incense smoke blackened eaten. Pastor robed unmoved guard in the corner. The line looked brittle at the altar of the Crucifixion of Christ.

Meanwhile, in the Stone "Unction" women and men are different skin colors and straight knees in silent prayer echoes. It is said that in this place the body of Christ prepared for burial.

The sun slowly approaching the horizon. Temple Mount Dome of the infamous golden rays radiating like a perennial. I feel the need to "recycle" the abundant sensation. For me, from many other cities, Al-Quds or Yerushalayim is the most special. Here humanity uniting separated children-all men.

Ah, that was it, the faint call to prayer echo from one minaret. To my surprise, the adzan could be broadcast to the city, although there pirouette around the dome of the church and the synagogue. I am hopeful smile. So, praying and fulfilling dreams in the sky over Jerusalem.

Not just a regular destination

ENTRY PERMIT, Jerusalem and the West Bank de facto controlled by Israel. Indonesia travelers need a passport and visa Israel. Indonesia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations. Visas are usually processed by the travel agency that offers religious tourism package. In addition, you may contact the representative of Israel in Singapore, tourism site. Examination in Israel is very tight. Military and police checking documents on the road. Log in public places by checking machines and X-ray detector. set up time, at least three hours before flight departure. Ben Gurion Airport has fixed procedures: interrogation, unloading luggage, and a physical examination.

CLIMATE ISRAEL,. Relatively warm all know. Winter from December to February. The best time visit from March to October. Avoid September, the full moon day of the Jewish feast, where public services stopped and the museum closed.


CURRENCY,. Israeli New Shekel (INS). Currency exchange can be done at the airport.

IMMIGRATION,. On the border of Israel, can request a stamp on a separate form. Israeli stamp in the passport does not allow incoming enemy country of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

TRANSPORTATION; bus lines include be served by Egged Israel ( / eng) and AND ( / English), from INS 24. Also available to the Israel Railways Tel Aviv (, from INS 15).  Transport in the West Bank are served egged and private bus (terminal near the Damascus Gate). Transportation to Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus is limited and through Israeli military checkpoints. Contact information center at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, as access to the latest information the West Bank depends on the condition and state of emergency by the Israelis. Journey to Gaza peace organization specialized personnel.

ACCOMMODATION: Hostel Abraham (, starting INS82); Hotel Al-Hashimi (, from INS 125); Austrian

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