web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Travel »

Return To Jericho

Pollack-042613-Scenic

I finally returned to Yericho, Jericho after ten years. The last time I was there, guiding tourists, was just before the Oslo War broke out in October 2000.

I have been to the “City of Palms” or “The back door of Jerusalem” many times – when it was safe – before the Oslo “peace.” Since the 1993 Accords, when Israel rolled out the red carpet for Yassir Arafat and the PLO, many did not feel very comfortable taking tourists into Jericho and some scratched it off the touring map.

Pollack-042613-MenorahTrue, armed Arabs and posters of Arafat were not encouraging but I did continue to visit. The charming Shalom al Yisrael shul with its beautiful mosaic floor from the times of the Talmud, and the little yeshiva above it where a handful of students “held down the fort” studying Torah were a must visit.

We would dance with the young idealist scholars, encouraging them and they encouraged us. It was a bizarre situation. “Palestinian police” with assault rifles on the outer perimeter and non-uniform armed Israeli guards sitting on the porch eyeing each other suspiciously.

It was clear that this situation would not last. And so in October 2000 when Prime Minister Barak offered Arafat 97% of his demands including half of Jerusalem, the old terror chief gave the signal for a terror wave that eventually took thousands of Israeli lives. “Palestinian police” opened fire on their Israeli counterparts on their joint “peace” patrols. The weapons we gave them came in handy. Turns out it wasn’t about land after all.Pollack-042613-Oasis

Another causality of the Oslo war was the closing of the Oasis casino. Arafat, and it turns out, his Israeli partners (the same person who was negotiating with Arafat about the future of the Land of Israel!) had to now manage without the million dollars that bused in Israeli gamblers spent daily.

Since then Jericho is closed to Jewish visitors. Well, almost.

Every Rosh Chodesh a handful of dedicated Jews try to scrap together a minyan for the joyous once a month prayers in the ancient, now forlorn little shul.

Leaving Jerusalem very early, we travel east through the Judean Desert liberated in the Six Day War. This was to be a bittersweet experience.

Pollack-042613-JerichoTwelve men and three women answered the call.

The plain mosaic stones, dusty and worn after 1500 years seemed to shine for us that early morning.

As I said, I have viewed these stones many times before, but this was different. Today I came to pray and keep them company – for a few fleeting stolen moments. The little chipped red hearts on the floor seemed to burst with joy and achieve a color I had never noticed before. Our hearts beat together with the living stones on the floor that Rosh Chodesh.

Before entering Jericho in our armored bus, we waited for our IDF escort. Five military vehicles accompanied the strange group of Jews who insist on not abandoning Jericho. They would simply not let go! The commander briefed us on how we must behave in the alien territory. “Operation Joshua” as he named it was about to be launched.

Operation? Were we behind enemy lines on some daring raid? It would seem so. What was a natural, simple activity years ago has become a complicated, risky military operation requiring special military and political preparations and permission.

Oy. What have we done to ourselves? This was the first city that Yehoshua conquered 3500 years ago. I wanted to apologize to the soil under my feet. I felt ashamed before Eretz Yisroel, abandoned by her children for another.

Jewish presence was in self-imposed exile. Jericho welcomed her sons home again in 1967 but they chose to trade her away. Trade? No, Give her away to strangers. Strangers? No, enemies – cruel enemies. The City of Palms, the City of Yehoshua is an Arab city. Dovid HaMelech vanquished the Philistines and Israel’s leaders brought them back.

As I compare the city with the one I knew before the “peace process,” I see a new creation – large billboards announcing foreign aid from the world over, especially the USA. Everyone is busy erasing any trace of Jewish life in our Jericho, making sure it remains an orphan of Jewish History. Yishmael and Esav have found a common goal.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Return To Jericho”

  1. Lloyd Bergner says:

    Take Heart: Masada will not fall again. B'Ezrat HaShem

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Aerial view of Yemenite Village of HaShiloach, Old City of Jerusalem and Mt. of Olives.
Jews to Double Presence in Old Yemenite Village of Shiloach, Silwan
Latest Sections Stories

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

Our harps have 22 strings. This gives musicians a wide musical range and yet stays within Biblical parameters.

More Articles from Sholom Pollack
Manya in her later years

Manya was befriended by many who would later comprise this first leaders of the newly born Jewish state.

Pollack-062813-Greenery

We are all well familiar with the dramatic last stand of the Jewish rebels on Masada against the Roman Legions after the destruction of the Second Bais HaMikdash. But according to Josephus Flavious (Yosef ben Matityahu) a very similar drama took place on another isolated mountain in the very north of the country.

I finally returned to Yericho, Jericho after ten years. The last time I was there, guiding tourists, was just before the Oslo War broke out in October 2000.

Always seeking to increase our knowledge of Israel’s tourist sites, from time to time, us tour guides take refresher tours.

On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev, over twenty-one hundred years ago, the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated after it was wrenched from the hands of the defiling Greeks. Thus ended a war no one planned or even dreamed could happen.

One of the off the beaten track areas in Eretz Yisrael that I enjoy taking adventurous visitors to are the southern Hevron Hills.

As we drive south from Yerushalayim, passing through the very cradle of Jewish history, with its rolling green hills along the Patriarchs and Matriarchs path or the “Road of Heroism” as it is some times called, we resist the magnetic pull to stop at Gush Etzion or Hevron and continue south, fully cognizant that more Jews walked on this path than on any other road in history.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/travel/return-to-jericho/2013/04/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: