Looking for Peace in Jerusalem
I’m looking for three women, one young, one a nurse and one a millionaire with an obsession in self-insemination. Maybe I should have stuck with teaching. I’d be retired now, with Grandkids. Not in a bed with nylon sheets in an upstairs bunk with a fat American snoring underneath me.
First challenge. Getting through immigration. My Mother told me never to lie. But somehow the line about looking for women seemed an error. So say you are a tourist. They won’t believe me. Not for four days. A journalist? That’s a lie. I tell them I’m a story teller. They laugh and let me in. Story-tellers are idiots. It always works. It gets tricky when they google your stories. That’s when they find out that I don’t write stories about mermaids or daft wifies who turn into seals but Israelis who send shells into primary schools in Gaza that explode into liquid plastic that sticks to skin and forces teachers to knock out their children to stop them screaming, or people I have seen here running down streets and shitting as they ran, being too scared to stop and crouch, or groups of students desperately wanting to take my scholarships to camp on Iona but unable to ever leave their country as they have no papers.
If they read those stories they put you in a room for hours and come and look at you as if you were a criminal. So you tell them that your Mother told you not to tell lies. And they all have Mothers so they let you go. After a bit.
They say that Israeli’s biggest export is fear and those wee rooms are part of their cottage industry.
It’s terribly embarrassing talking about women when you are nearly sixty-five. My sister tells me not to do it. says it makes me sound like a dirty old man. She’s right of course. As usual. The trouble is there are so many of them and they are far more interesting than men. Take the first one. Lets call her Heather, because she lies all over the place. She’s the one who has the money. I met her on a flight into Jerusalem and swapped a bed for giving her a hand with her thirteen parcels. I didn’t like her but not nearly as much as she didn’t like me.
I like staying with Jews though. It reminds me that they too are frightened, they too are under the cosh, they too worry that their kids wont come home from school. Though less about the sticky plastic. Heather has twins. She went to America and bought sperm from a bank. They promised her that it came from a Jewish medical student. When I last met her six years ago she told me she was thinking of suing the agency as the girls were so noisy. True I promise you. I would really like to find Heather again. I grew to rather like her. She’s a tryer.
Last night I stayed with an ex-Israeli soldier. He said he gave up the soldiering as they didn’t like the fact that he liked Arabs. Never seen so much dope for years. Now he plays the guitar, and the fool. I asked him what they thought of Trump and he said that he would only be able to tell me if he ever knocked on his door and dropped round for a smoke. Fair dos.
Woman two? That’s the youngster. Twenty eight now. I last met her seven years ago when I promised her $400 if she painted me a picture of Jesus Laughing for an exhibition I was running. I said that I would only give her the money if she made Jesus laugh. She refused. Said Jesus didn’t laugh in Bethlehem any more. She was stone-broke and painted me this wonderful picture of Jesus with a straight lip. I said I would give her the money if she made the lip curl into a laugh. She refused. I gave her the money. Lets call her Dr. Because she’s now doing a Phd. I met her in the street in Bethlehem yesterday. She bought me a coffee and gave me a hug. Thank God I gave up teaching. That moment was worth a pension. If I had ever had a daughter I would like it to have been her.
Woman three? A nurse who contacted me as she wants to go to Scotland to learn how to heal people. I said I would help. The trouble is that she wont be able to get a visa until a few days before she travels. Don’t even ask. Its a typical situation for any Palestinian. I once met a Palestinian Doctor who had married a Jew. He needed a driving license, badly for his work.
Tonight, day two I’m going to the Wailing Wall. I love it there. Trouble is that I love the Jews. wish I didn’t, love being with them. If I have a political stance it is the one that James Cameron, one of the greatest journalists of his era, once said. That he loved the Israelis more than any other nation and hated what they did more than he hated any other nation.
I don’t believe in God but tonight I am going to lean my head against that wall and pray, just as I do ever night when I am in Jerusalem. I will shut my eyes and pray that America is able to stop the sociopath Trump from putting the heat under the frozen peace that hold this wonderful city, and us all, in suspension.
Yes I shall shut my eyes, try and stop the tears, and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.