Sunday, April 1, 2012

Abu Gosh - Palestinian village near Jerusalem

 Yesterday I went on a field trip to Abu Gosh, a Palestinian and primarily Muslim village very near Jerusalem, that is known for it's peaceful co-existance next to a secular Jewish Kibbutz, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, 2 orthodox Christian churches, and even a Messianic Jewish Moshav (village) called Yad Hashmona.  There has never been a conflict/violence between these groups, and they seem to be a picture of how it is possible co-exist and still maintain separate religions.
This view is looking from the top of Castel, a battleground in the 1948 war, where the local Jewish forces tried to secure the important highway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  You can see the 4 lane highway below which is winding its way toward Jerusalem.
 Another view from the foreground you can see trenches where the soldiers would hide with their weapons.
 This man's name is "Isa" which is Arabic for Jesus. He's a Muslim man and lifetime resident of Abu Gosh and he gave us a tour. He is standing with a nun at the church/convent property where it is believed Abinadad lived and housed the Ark of the Covenant for 20 years (1 Sam. 6:21-7:2).  David had to come and get it from here. Once he became King in Jerusalem, the first thing he wanted to do was to bring the ark up to Jerusalem.
 This statue on top on the church is of Mary holding Jesus, and she's standing on the ark, which has the (cherubim) angels on it. Pretty strange actually.
 Isa is sitting on an approximately 1000 year old olive tree, discussing Abu Gosh with us.  I love these old olive trees, so thick and knarled and still producing olives for centuries.
 The ceiling of the church of the Ark of the Covenant is covered with angels.
A painting in the church painted hundreds of years ago, depicting David playing his harp before the ark.
 The other Christian church in Abu Gosh, we walked in while they were having a service.
 Look carefully at this painting on the wall, painted during the Crusader period.  When the Muslims came and took over, in the Ottoman period, they blotted out the picture of Jesus on the cross..that's the big blank splotch you see in the center, with His arms barely visible.
 Here we are in Isa's home, discussing what it's like to be a Palestinian Israeli citizen, loyal to Israel with all the citizenship benefits, but yet having relatives in Gaza and the West Bank, and sympathetic to their plight.
Isa with his 13 year old daughter, posing with me and some other students.  We had a pleasant day in Abu Gosh. I want to return to the Messianic village Yad Hashmona, which is very close to here, and spend some time there.

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