Tell a child not to do something, and the child will usually disobey. Adults are no different.
Yesterday afternoon, during 30 minutes of free time within an area of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City, our tour guide repeatedly told us not to enter the Arab marketplace. So, a bunch of us entered.
Granted, I and six other Boston young adults were joined by our plainclothes security guard, but we still disobeyed.
A similar occurrence occurred a few hours ago, when Jim (a co-traveler in my Boston group) rode with me in a taxi from the hotel to the Jaffa Gate. Earlier, we were advised by the UJC staffers not to enter the Muslim Quarter (which along with the Jewish, Christian, and Armenian Quarters comprise the Old City)…so Jim and I walked through the Muslim Quarter.
Today is the Sabbath, and most Jews are home with their families. The Arabs, though, are out in force, whether driving taxicabs or selling wares. Like other urban pedestrian malls, the Arab vendors (who may be Christian, Armenian, or Muslim) are confined to either enclosed “stalls” or spread their items on sidewalks.
Maybe it’s the places we’ve traveled, but I’ve seen few signs of homelessness in Jerusalem. Yes, I saw old men and women asking for Tzedakah last night at the Kotel, and today by the gates and intersections of the streets I walked, but I also saw numerous Israeli Defense Force soldiers and border police officers, so perhaps the cavalry scare the homeless away, just like any other urban city.