Israeli Archaeologist Censured By Islamic Guards On Temple Mount

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ALGEMEINER NEWS)

 

JANUARY 4, 2017 9:24 AM

Israeli Archaeologist Censured by Islamic Guards on Temple Mount

avatarby JNS.org

The Temple Mount. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Temple Mount. Photo: Wikipedia.

JNS.org – A preeminent Israeli archaeologist was censured by Islamic guards on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount for using the term “Temple Mount” while delivering a lecture to a group of students.

Dr. Gabriel Barkay, who gained international fame for his archaeological discoveries as part of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, was delivering a lecture to a multi-faith group of students from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on the Temple Mount Sunday when guards from the Islamic Waqf approached him, attempting to have Barkay ejected by Israeli police for repeatedly using the name “Temple Mount,” according to The Times of Israel.

Israeli police told the Islamic guards, who patrol the site for the Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf, that they had no grounds to eject Barkay, while also telling the Israeli archaeologist to refrain from using the term for the rest of the visit. Barkay proceeded to refer to the site by its initials “TM,” the report said.

The incident comes amid Palestinian attempts to erase Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s holy sites. In October, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a series of Palestinian-backed resolutions that referred to the Temple Mount exclusively by its Muslim names – Haram al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque – while ignoring any Jewish or Christian ties to the holy site.

The Temple Mount Is On Israeli Land So Jews, Christians And Muslims Should Be Allowed To Pray There If They Want Too!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF HAARETZ NEWS)

Israeli Ministers Join Call to Permit Jewish Prayer at Temple Mount: ‘Status Quo Discriminates Against Jews’
Ministers and Knesset speaker attend conference on changing status quo at Jerusalem’s most politically sensitive site against backdrop of right-wing pressure on Netanyahu to reverse ban on their visits.

Nir Hasson Nov 07, 2016 5:36 PM

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An ultra-Orthodox man looks at the Western Wall and the wooden ramp leading up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, December 12, 2011. Ronen Zvulun, Reuters
Israel Police to Netanyahu: Let lawmakers visit Temple Mount again
Record number of Jews visit Temple Mount for holidays
Palestinian envoy: UNESCO vote was about ‘occupation,’ not Temple Mount
Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein joined three cabinet ministers and three lawmakers for the launch of a new Knesset “Temple Mount Lobby” on Monday during a conference on the prospect of altering the status quo at the Jerusalem holy site.
The session was held against the backdrop of increasing demands by right-wing lawmakers and cabinet ministers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end his yearlong ban on their visits to the Temple Mount, who said last month that he would revisit the issue with security officials.
Netanyahu had banned these visits as part of an agreement with Jordan’s King Abdullah in response to the outbreak of a wave of Palestinian attacks a year ago.
The prime minister had also ordered lawmakers to avoid discussing the Temple Mount in an attempt to calm the violence attributed to Palestinian claims that Israel intended to change the status quo and permit Jewish prayer at the site.
Most had kept quiet on the subject for months, until Monday’s event.
“In my opinion, our right to the Temple Mount is unshakable,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. “The Temple Mount is the Jewish people’s holiest site. I have said many times, the current status quo at the Temple Mount discriminates against the Jewish people.”
The Temple Mount, holy to Judaism as the site of two ancient temples, is a flash-point of conflict with the Muslim world, which reveres the plaza as the Noble Sanctuary and site of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine. The area is a frequent source of Israeli, Palestinian tensions and violence.
Since the Six-Day War, Israeli policy has barred Jewish prayer at the site while permitting worship at the Western Wall below.

Palestinian protesters react during clashes on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City September 6, 2013. Ammar Awad, Reuters
Monday’s Conference of Zion Seekers was the 10th annual such meeting but the first to be held at the Knesset. The event fell on the anniversary of the Jewish sage Rambam’s visit and prayer at the Temple Mount 850 years ago. It was organized by Yehudah Glick, a veteran activist for greater Jewish access and prayer rights at the site.
Glick was shot and seriously wounded by a Palestinian assailant as he exited the same conference two years ago in Jerusalem.
Temple Mount activists said on Sunday that the past year has seen a rise in the numbers of Jews ascending to the Mount – over 14,000, compared to 11,000 the previous year.
Environmental Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin applauded the Temple Mount advocacy groups, adding that “often you are doing the work that the government doesn’t do.”
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called on Netanyahu renew permits for Knesset members and cabinet ministers to visit the Temple Mount. He said Israeli security officials supported this demand, “but unfortunately the prime minister’s advisers and he himself unjustifiably prevent this from happening.”
Ariel said that the Mount must be opened to the Jewish people, adding, “enough of the shame.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan demanded the publication of rules he conceived when he was Deputy Religious Services Minister to arrange for Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
“The Temple Mount is a place where members of other faiths may visit, but only those of the Jewish faith are denied prayer at the Temple Mount,” he said. “We must not agree to this shame. We have to call upon the government and Knesset to permit Jewish prayer, to make Jewish prayer something normal and permitted.”
The founder of the Return to the Mount movement, Rafael Morris, stated: “When we can say the Temple Mount is ours and only ours and there isn’t room there for anyone else, then we can be victorious in Amona, then we can conquer not only the Temple Mount but Jordan, and Syria, too, and establish a real Jewish state over all the land of Israel.”
Erdan’s appointment as Public Security Minister marked a turning point in police handling of Jews seeking to visit the Temple Mount.
Activists said that conditions for these visits have grown more flexible in recent months and restrictions against prayer are enforced less strictly than in the past.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.751583

Russia Has Never Denied Israels Rights To Jerusalem, The Temple Mount Or The Western Wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JERUSALEM POST)

Moscow has never denied Israel’s rights to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said in advance of his visit to the Jewish state later this week.

“These rights are clear and it would be absurd to deny them,” he told Channel 2 anchorwoman Yonit Levy.

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He spoke warmly of Russia’s ties with Israel, despite Moscow’s votes against the Jewish state at the United Nations and its delivery of the S-300 missiles to Iran.


Benjamin Netanyahu Dimitry Medvedev. (Photo credit: RIA NOVOSTI / REUTERS)

Levy quizzed him about those controversial issues as well as his support for Syrian President Basher Assad and charges that his country had intervened in the US elections.

How does Russia explain its support of the UNESCO vote “to disregard the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” Levy asked Medvedev.

The issue had been blown out of proportion, he responded speaking in Russian, with a Hebrew translation by Channel 2.

There have been some ten votes by UNESCO Boards and Committees on such Jerusalem resolutions, Medvedev said.

“There is nothing new here,” he said, as he dismissed the significance of UNESCO texts that refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al Haram Al Sharif.

“Our country has never denied the rights of Israel or the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall,” Medvedev said.

“Therefore there is no need to politicize this decision,” Medvedev said, adding that such resolutions, were “not directed against Israel.”

Similarly, he said, there was nothing contradictory in Russia’s sale and shipment of the advanced S-300 advanced surface to air missile defense system to Iran.

Israel had opposed such sales because they significantly upgrade Iran’s ability to defend its nuclear sites against any attacks. It is particularly concerned because it does not believe that the Iran deal, put in place in 2015, will limit Tehran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons.

Medvedev told Channel 2 that prior to the Iran deal, Russia respected the sanctions against Tehran and refrained from delivering the S-300. Now that the deal is in place and the sanctions were lifted, there was no reason not to complete the sale, he said.

Moving over to Syria, he referred to President Bashar Assad as the country’s only legitimate leader and added that Israel’s leadership preferred his rule to the prospect of a divided country under terrorist leadership.

“I know him (Assad) personally. There are those who love him and those who don’t. At present Assad is the only legitimate authority operating in Syria. Any regime change would have to occur legitimately,” Medvedev said.

“I remember that during my meetings with Israeli leaders, they told me they were not completely for Assad, but that there has to be someone in charge of the situation, rather than an uncontrolled break up of the country into enclaves ruled by terrorists,” Medvedev said.

Middle East terrorism, he said, is threatening his country from within.

“There are thousands of Russians fighting on behalf of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadist groups,” Medvedev said. “When they return they are experienced murders and terrorists. After their time fighting in Syria we don’t want them to organize something similar [within Russia],” he said.

Levy asked how the presence of the Russian air force in Syria impacted Israel’s ability to prevent the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.

Medvedev said that it was operating from the assumption that “all sides would not take steps to aggravate the conflict.”

With regard to the United States, he charged that it had not kept its commitments in Syria and that the relationship between Washington and Moscow was at a very low point.

Medvedev chuckled when Levy asked him if Russia had interfered with the US elections.

He quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he stated that “the United States is not a banana republic.”

The US, he said, was a large and strong country and could not be influenced in that way. “It doesn’t matter who will be elected, but what policy they will execute,” he said.

“Its clear [that either candidate] will act in the best national interest of the US,” Medvedev said.

He called Republican candidate Donald Trump brilliant and said he had never met him. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he said, was professional and known to him from the times he met with her when she was US Secretary of State from 2009-2012.

Russia expects to have a “normal” and “productive” relationship with whichever of the two candidates wins the White House, Medvedev said.

With regard to the Russian initiative to hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Presdient Mahmoud Abbas, Medvedev said that Moscow was not looking to replace the United States or anyone else when it comes to the peace process.

On the other hand, he said, there are very discouraging signs with regard to that conflict and there have been no advancements to speak of on the Israeli-Palestinian track over the last few years.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

Stand Up For Israel Against The UN’s Ignorance, Stupidity And Cowardliness

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)

Standing for Israel’s Biblical History

October 20, 2016

Dear Friend of Israel

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was formed in 1945 in a world that had just been torn apart by a devastating war. It was founded with worthy aspirations: to foster peace and respect for human rights through the promotion of education, science, and culture.

Somewhere along the line, UNESCO lost its way. Like its parent organization, it became dominated by countries that showed no respect for peace or human rights, and that displayed an overwhelming hatred toward one particular nation: Israel.

This hatred was displayed again recently, when UNESCO passed an absurd resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem. By adopting this resolution, UNESCO denies what all Christians and Jews, and all people with any knowledge of history, know already: Jewish claims to a home in the Holy Land, and to Jewish holy sites located there, have an irrefutable biblical, historical, and political basis.

First and foremost is the biblical claim that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 13:15). Second, there has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years. Third, numerous international agreements and resolutions have conferred political and legal legitimacy on the Jewish state. And finally, there is the fact that Jews, through vast amounts of hard work and ingenuity, made Israel the vibrant, successful, productive nation that it is today.

By denying Judaism’s claim to these sites, UNESCO violates the very principles of religious tolerance and pluralism that the organization professes to champion. It also supports a radical Islamist agenda that states Jews have no legitimate claim to these sites – the resolution refers to Israel as “the occupying Power” and references Israeli “escalating aggressions,” with no reference to Arab terrorism. It fosters a culture of hatred against and misinformation about Israel, and makes peace that much more difficult to attain.

This appalling and biased resolution must be challenged. Today, I ask you to sign our petitiondemanding that UNESCO repeal it, and forward the petition to your friends, family, and church members. By doing so, you’ll be adding more voices to the vast chorus of freedom-loving people who recognize Israel for what it is: a bastion of democracy in the midst of the tyrannical regimes of the Middle East.

Israel needs our prayers now more than ever, so please act today. And continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the day when UNESCO, the United Nations, and the entire world will treat Israel as a full and equal member of the community of nations.

With prayers for shalom, peace,


Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

The Great Wall Of China’s Repair Work Is Called “Brutal And Ugly” By Locals

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Chinese outrage over ‘ugly’ restoration of Great Wall

中国”最美野长城”被抹平引发众怒

CHINESE social media users were in an uproar Friday over restoration of a 700-year-old section of the Great Wall that has been covered in concrete, turning it into a smooth, flat-topped path.
Known as one of the most beautiful portions of the “wild”, restored wall, the eight-kilometer (five-mile) Xiaohekou stretch in northeast Liaoning province was built-in 1381 during the Ming Dynasty.
Photos posted online showed that its uneven, crumbling steps and plant growth had been replaced as far as the eye could see with a white, concrete-like cap.
“This looks like the work of a group of people who didn’t even graduate from elementary school,” said one user of China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. “If this is the result, you might as well have just blown it up.”
“Such brutal treatment of the monuments left behind by our ancestors! How is it that people with low levels of cultural awareness can take on leadership positions?” asked another. “Why don’t we just raise the Forbidden City in Beijing, too?”
Even the deputy director of Liaoning’s department of culture Ding Hui admitted: “The repairs really are quite ugly,” according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The Great Wall is not a single unbroken structure but stretches for thousands of kilometres in sections from China’s east coast to the edge of the Gobi desert.
In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometers, depending on whether missing sections are included. Despite its length it is not, as is sometimes claimed, visible from space.
Emergency maintenance was ordered for Xiaohekou in 2012 to “avoid further damage and dissolution” caused by “serious structural problems and issues due to flooding” and was completed in 2014, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage said in a statement on its website in response to public and media outcry.
The government body has begun an investigation into the approval, implementation and outcome of the maintenance work, stating that it would deal with work units and personnel found to be at fault severely, “without justifying their mistakes”.
Around 30 percent of China’s Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time as adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities — including stealing the bricks to build houses — erode the UNESCO World Heritage site, state media reports said last summer.
Under Chinese regulations people who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan ($750), but plant growth on the wall continues to accelerate decay, and tourism, especially to undeveloped sections, continues to severely damage the world’s longest human construction.

Belgium: Catholic School Teacher’s Anti Jewish Cartoon Is Praised By Administration

(This story is courtesy of the Times Of Israel News Paper)

FIRST PERSON / I’ve seen how anti-Israel vitriol has mainstreamed classic anti-Semitism

How my reporting about an anti-Semitic cartoon changed my views of Belgium — for the worse

Luc Descheemaeker was denounced by UNESCO, Germany and the US, but his school says it’s ‘proud’

August 26, 2016
Belgian cartoonist Luc Descheemaeker posted this image to his Facebook page after it won a prize at Iran’s widely condemned Holocaust mockery cartoon contest om May 2016. (Facebook)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — I used to think I had a pretty good understandingof what it means to be Jewish in Belgium.

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A longtime observer of that polarized binational country, whose dysfunctions and successes often reflect those of the European Union headquartered in its capital, Brussels, I have family ties there and am fluent in the local languages.

But I had to readjust my understanding of Belgian Jewry’s circumstances this month while reporting on a local Catholic school’s stated pride in and support for a teacher who had published anti-Semitic caricatures, and who recently won a cash prize at Iran’s Holocaust mockery cartoon competition.

Shielded by education officials’ wall of silence and celebrated in mainstream Belgian media as a champion of free speech, Luc Descheemaeker was able to pass off anti-Semitic imagery as legitimate criticism of Israel in a way that I had thought impossible in an established Western democracy in the heart of Europe.

As Descheemaeker’s advocates circled the wagons around him — his school praised him as working to preserve, not distort, the memory of the Holocaust — I saw firsthand how anti-Israel vitriol has mainstreamed classic anti-Semitism in a country where Jews are leaving partly because they feel their children can no longer comfortably attend the public schools.

My Belgian eye opener began with a post on The New Antisemite blog, which tracks anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe. It said the vice director of the Sint Jozef Institute highschool near Antwerp had told a Belgian Jewish publication that she was “very proud” of Descheemaeker after he won $1,000 and a special mention at the Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest in Tehran.

Belgian cartoonist Luc Descheemaeker shared news of his prize at the Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest in May on his Facebook page. (Facebook)

Belgian cartoonist Luc Descheemaeker shared news of his prize at the Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest in May on his Facebook page. (Facebook)

The winning entry by Descheemaeker, a plastic arts teacher who retired this year, was a drawing of the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” over Israel’s security barrier along the West Bank. The German sentence, which means “work sets you free,” was featured on a gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland.

Previously, I found, Descheemaeker had published at least two cartoons that used classically anti-Semitic imagery. In one, an Orthodox Jew waits to bludgeon a peaceful Arab baby and his mother with a giant Star of David. In another, the Jew is waiting to startle a jihadist who is holding a shopping bag while wearing an explosives vest — presumably so she blows herself up.

The Forum of Jewish Organizations of Belgium’s Flemish Region condemned Descheemaeker’s Arbeit Macht Frei cartoon as “an example of modern anti-Semitism” and his earlier work featuring depictions of Jews as “classically anti-Semitic.”

Additionally, the cartoon contest in which he participated was decried as anti-Semitic by UNESCO, Germany and the United States, among others.

And finally, comparing Israeli policies to those of Nazi Germany is an example of anti-Semitism, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – an intergovernmental organization with 31 member states, including Belgium.

I was skeptical of the blog’s report about the school’s endorsement of Descheemaeker because Western European educational institutions rarely seek to associate themselves with his brand of imagery.

Belgium has made discernible progress in recent years in coming to terms with the Holocaust-era complicity of its authorities and population. Surely, I thought, Descheemaeker would not get support and praise from a prestigious Catholic school there.

My first surprise was the reply I received from the school to my query over Descheemaeker. Yes, confirmed the school director Paul Vanthournout – “we are proud of Luc Descheemaeker,” though not, per se, over his winning the award in Iran or his cartoons, he said. Vanthournout declined to comment on these activities, which he said had nothing to do with Descheemaeker’s teaching position, but assured me that Descheemaeker “is not an anti-Semite.”

As proof, the school director cited an award that Descheemaeker won in 2002 from Belgium’s Queen Paola for staging a student show based on Art Spiegelman’s Holocaust memoir “Maus.”

I wanted to see whether the school can get away with defending the maker of blatant anti-Semitic imagery by claiming to be neutral on its celebrated teacher’s extracurricular activities. So I repeatedly queried the board of education, the royal house, the Queen Paola Foundation, the municipality where the school is located and Belgium’s federal center against discrimination. I received one written response, from the foundation, saying it had no comment for me.

This see-no-evil approach from government offices in a country whose leaders often declare a zero-tolerance attitude to anti-Semitism surprised me. But the real shock was the response from the Belgian media to JTA’s coverage of the affair.

De Morgen, one of Belgium’s largest and best-respected dailies, ran an article that omitted reference to Descheemaeker’s caricatures of Jews. It described the Iranian competition as a “controversial” affair “themed on the Holocaust,” which the paper said was instituted as a statement about freedom of expression following the publication of insulting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark.

(UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, had called the contest “a mockery of the genocide of the Jewish people.”)

Descheemaeker, who is described in the paper as an internationally acclaimed caricaturist, is quoted as saying in reaction to the uproar created by his work: “There is still such a thing as freedom of expression.”

Knack, a popular news site, took the same editorial line.

(Descheemaeker did not respond to JTA requests for an interview sent through his school, on social media and via email.)

Confused, I reached out to Joel Rubinfeld, founder of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and former president of the CCOJB umbrella group of French-speaking Belgian Jewish communities. I wanted to know whether Belgian education officials were more tolerant of expressions of anti-Semitism than their counterparts from other Western European countries.

Joel Rubinfeld, Director of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism (Maryll Israel/JTA)

Joel Rubinfeld, Director of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism (Maryll Israel/JTA)

“It’s a problem,” he said. “We’ve encountered a number of cases where schools did not take the necessary measures when Jewish pupils were targeted in anti-Semitic bullying, for example.”

A teacher who last year told a Jewish high school student, “We should put you all on freight wagons,” was allowed to keep his job following an internal inquiry. It ended with him apologizing while denying any anti-Semitic intent in the first place.

Cases involving anti-Semitic abuse among students are regularly ignored at Belgian schools, “which don’t apply the measures necessary to make these cases stop,” Rubinfeld said.

One student was forced to leave his public school and was enrolled in a private Jewish one last year following harassment, which included a threat to “break his skull” if he showed support for Israel. Also last year, the Belgian media reported on the online shaming by classmates of a pro-Israel high school student. He also left the public education system for a Jewish school.

As Belgian Jews continue to grapple with the anti-Semitism problem in their country — in 2014, a suspected jihadist was arrested for the shooting deaths of four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels — a growing number are deciding to look for a new home.

Last year, 287 Jews immigrated to Israel from Belgium, which has a Jewish population of about 40,000. It was the highest figure recorded in a decade. From 2010 to 2015, an average of 234 Belgian Jews made aliyah annually — a 56 percent increase over the annual average of 133 new arrivals from Belgium in 2005-2009, according to Israeli government data.

“In Belgium, the choice for Jews is often between abuse or ghettoization,” Rubinfeld said. “It’s not surprising that a growing number of Belgian Jews are finding alternatives to both.”

Belgian cartoonist Luc Descheemaeker posted this image to his Facebook page after it won a prize at Iran’s widely condemned Holocaust mockery cartoon contest om May 2016. (Facebook)
FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Jordan Tourism Is A Star Of The Middle-East

(This article is courtesy of the Berlin Germany News Paper ‘The Local’)

Discover Jordan presented by Jordan Tourism Board

Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East

Photo: Jordan Tourism Board

Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East

Published: 01 Aug 2016 11:38 GMT+02:00

Geography, though, is in fact Jordan’s blessing… its location – nestled on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula and not far from the Mediterranean – has blessed it with an enviable collection of wonders – natural and manmade – that put the country in a class by itself.

If it weren’t for Jordan’s geography, it wouldn’t boast the awe-inspiring rock city of Petra; the spectacular canyons of Wadi Rum and Mujib; the ancient city of Jerash; or Mount Nebo, from where Moses saw The Promised Land; or the site of Jesus’ baptism at Bethany Beyond the Jordan.

Jordanians have a sense that they’ve been tasked to serve as guardians of something bigger than themselves,” says Khalid Itum.

Itum, a Jordanian national, travels frequently to Jordan from his current home in Los Angeles and once operated a travel company that arranged experiential travel to his native homeland.

He concurs that “Jordan really is different” than other countries in the region, due in part to its history and politics, but also because of its capacity to embrace and enmesh cultures that are often at odds with one another elsewhere.

Jordan doesn’t have oil so chose to invest in human resources to thrive. That spawned a more liberal society against a backdrop of security. It’s more open and tolerant and is sort of close to everybody by necessity,” he explains.

In Jordan there is no clash between east and west. They blend together nicely and naturally.”

Over the years, Itum has accompanied hundreds of visitors on their visits to Jordan, seeing first-hand how they react to the country when the also recognize just how different it is.

You can see it in their eyes,” he explains. “The amazing religious sites, castles from the crusades, the amazing landscape – there’s something for everyone which is often more than people were expecting.”

Another hallmark that sets Jordan apart is its openness, which is often expressed on a personal level the legendary hospitality of its people.

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to visit Jordan without being invited in to someone’s home to share a meal together,” says Itum.

When asked to offer up experiences that best exemplify Jordan as the Different East, Itum is quick to mention Petra – the one-of-a-kind UNESCO world heritage site featured in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I’ve probably been there a couple of dozen times and every time my jaw just drops at how spectacular it is. There really is nothing like it anywhere,” he says.

But he adds that there is far, far more and has always insisted that his guests spend a minimum of a week there and even encourages people to stay for 10+ days.

Itum also mentions his own home city of Jerash – host to one of Jordan’s largest cultural festivals, which features an eclectic mix of Jordanian and international artists, with performances taking place in the open air among the city’s famed Roman ruins.

Sitting there, listening to the music in that atmosphere, you feel like you’ve stepped into a different time,” he says. “But just beyond the spectacular Roman colonnades you find a modern, thriving city much like any other. It’s that sort of juxtaposition that really sums up what makes Jordan different.”

Another special spot for Itum and many of the tour groups he led is Mount Nebo, the spot described in the Old Testament where Moses was able to see the Promised Land.

I’m not religious at all, but you can’t help but be gripped by the spirituality of the place,” he says. “And on a clear day you too can see the lights of Jerusalem.”

In some ways, Jordan’s distinctiveness comes from simply having been around for a long, long time. But more than that, it’s also how the country has preserved the legacy while at the same time embracing what lies ahead.

“Jordan really is one of the best places you’ll ever travel to on the face of this earth,” Itum says. “I can try to paint the picture, but you’ll have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.”

The sentiment was perhaps best expressed by the late King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for more than four decades until his death in 1999:

Jordan has a strange, haunting beauty and a sense of timelessness. Dotted with the ruins of empires once great, it is the last resort of yesterday in the world of tomorrow.”

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Jordan Tourism Board.

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كلمات أرصها فأكتشف بمحض الصدفة أنها أنا.

FREE-VERSE POETRY by Douglas Gilbert

free verse for the universe

Vaca Cut Point

11785 5th Ave Ocean Marathon, Florida 33050

The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

ThumbWind

Fun in Michigan's Upper Thumb

Broken Cookies Taste Just as Sweet

there are no perfect experiences in life, but there is still much to savor

Aspie Under Your Radar

Living well on the autism spectrum - just out of public view

Anonymously Autistic

#ActuallyAutistic - An Aspie obsessed with writing. This site is intend to inspire through sharing stories & experiences. The opinions of the writers are their own. I am just an Autistic woman - NOT a medical professional.

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