Thursday we visited Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum. As you can imagine, you can't walk through its halls as if it was another history exhibit. This sort of history feels like news I read in the paper yesterday; that's the sort of immediate relevancy that hangs on the words. A guide behind us was showing a group of Israeli soldiers through. The museum ends out in the open air with a beautiful view of the Jerusalem forest and an Israeli community beyond. Much need not be said in words: it is felt and lived every day.
Yesterday we visited Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, the oldest continuing Christian church in the world (it looked like it!) On the way back we waited at least 30 minutes (we were lucky, as the wait can be more than an hour) to cross the checkpoint and pass through the concrete barrier wall. When we reached the front of the line, the Israeli guard motioned for us to stop the car 40 feet away and for the driver, our friend Bill, to walk to him with our passports. Automatic guns were trained at our windshield from the guard tower above while the guard asked Bill what he thought about Israel and what we were doing in Bethlehem. Not surprisingly, we were soon waved through, but not before I was dissuaded from so easily comparing this barrier wall with the U.S.-Mexico border fence.
As an American Christian who's been in this land for just ten days, I'm far from able to speak with any wisdom on the subject of Israeli-Palestinian relations. In fact, I'm tempted to say that it's not my business at all, and yet that doesn't feel right, either. I do know I have a lot more listening and praying to do in seeking where God is in all this.