City of David – Jerusalem

The City of David is a national park and major archaeological site just outside the Old City, in East Jerusalem, and is “where Jerusalem was born.” Historically, the City of David is the site of Jebus, the original Canaanite city that was captured by King David. The park showcases the ancient Jebusite city and highlights its ruins and tunnels. Although we visited all the sites in the City of David (which turned out to be tiny for a national park), only a few stood out from the ruins. The palace ruins (3), was thought to be the remains of King David’s original palace and is the first attraction we passed. We continued down Warren’s Shaft (4) which opens up into Gihon Spring and the Spring House (5), the fortified water source protected by the Jebusites. We peered into Hezekiah’s Tunnel (6), which is probably the most impressive part of the City of David and was the only part we declined to visit (we didn’t have the right clothes and shoes, and didn’t plan on going swimming). Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a 40 minute walk through a tight passage with water up to your waist and no light. We took a dry detour (7) and ended up at the Tombs of the House of David (10), which is thought to be where David’s family was buried (although doubts have risen now).

During the walk around the burial sites we started to hear what we thought were gunshots and screaming. An armored van blocked the way to Shiloach Pool, the end of the City of David, and we were stopped from continuing down. The gunshots and screaming grew more frequent and louder so we peered down from the Three Valleys Outlook and saw what we were told were flares and smoke grenades (11, 12) rising from East Jerusalem. I saw two policemen staring down from the outlook and chuckling to themselves with their hands on their guns, so I approached them, curious, and asked them what was up. One turned to me and said “<indiscriminate Hebrew>.”

I stared back at him blankly and said “Ani lo medabere ivrit (I don’t speak Hebrew).”

He squinted at me and replied to me slower and louder “<I N D I S C R I M I N A T E   H E B R E W>”

(I realize that we do this all the time: when someone speaks doesn’t speak English we speak to them in slower, louder, English, which really doesn’t help at all and makes it much more annoying.)

I pointed at the smoke in the valley and said “balagan? (mess/trouble)”

He nodded and replied “balagan.”

I pointed again “lo becedere? (no good)”

He grinned and said “lo becedere” and his body language added in the extra “of course it’s no good you dumb tourist” and turned back to the smoke.

At this point a friendly English speaking mother came out and advised us to head back and we quickly obliged.

Moral of the story: I get along well with Israeli policemen

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~ by jonathanmtsai on January 29, 2011.

One Response to “City of David – Jerusalem”

  1. What compelled you to even start talking to them?

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