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5 Places to Visit in Israel (Once It’s Safe To Go Back): Part One

One goy's irreverent guide to a country that's really, truly safe and fun to visit, 99% of the time.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

November 23, 2012 - 7:00 am

Oh, and we learned on this trip that some Protestants think this is where Jesus was really buried. So that’s great.

Anyhow, Saturday in Jerusalem isn’t 100% “dead,” since Muslims have the run of the place for the day and keep their stores/attractions open and their taxis on the roads. We saw one guy riding a grey horse, bareback, at a canter, down HaPalmach.

Plan at least two visits to the Cardo and the Four Quarters. There’s a lot to see, eat and buy. However, if you aren’t Muslim, the IDF won’t let you near the Temple Mount area on Saturday; this is the closest we got to the al-Aqsa Mosque.

If you do make it to that location, remember that Bibles are forbidden there, and a Jewish politician (who we met on this trip) was arrested for “moving his lips” (i.e., praying) at this (cough) “Muslim” site.

The first time we went to Jerusalem, we stayed in a newish boutique hotel in the funky new Nahalat Shiva neighborhood, where hip cafes, late night hookah bars, art galleries and Judaica shops (including ones selling Superman and Simpsons kippotbut for how long?) are seamlessly nestled among ancient alcoves, alleys and courtyards. This charming combination of old and new shouldn’t “work” anywhere near as well as it does. We didn’t make it there this time around, and I regret it.

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