May 19th, 2007
In order to be home to preach the next morning (Sunday, May 20th), we left this morning on Continental Airline, which does fly on Shabbath, though Ben Gurion Airport was a ghost-town.
We caught a taxi this morning from Ecce Homo B&B. What was amazing was this: we went on a modern highway from Jerusalem, in which we never saw any of the Palestinian areas, even though our driver was Muslim and Palestinian.
The issue of his religion, ethnicity, and nationality came into full-view when we drove up to the airport. At the entrance, we were pulled over not because we were Americans, but because he was Palestinian. The security detail asked us a lot of questions, and checked a few bags. Given the permission to go to the airport, the driver (who did not speak from Jerusalem) opened up: "This is silly! This is 2007! How can they treat people this way? If you were Arab, then they would have frisked you, checked my taxi's doors, roof, engine, trunk, and side panels. They would've made us wait for two or three hours. And for what? Nothing! Nothing! This is insane."
The anger is palpable. The chaos that is about to be sparked is going to be insane. On this day, the Israeli's have been bombing Hamas strongholds in Palestinian Gaza Strip. Later today, Lebanon would be bombing Palestinian refugee camps where terrorists were hiding. The violence is all around us.
The airport was almost vacant, because most people don't fly on Shabbath. Many of the small shops were closed in the airport. While we were flying back home, the memories of this time and place, people and holy shrines, will last forever. After all, the School of the Pilgrim has been born in Israel and Egypt, as well as North Carolina!
Pilgrim peace, Brett