The Real Jerusalem Streets
By Sharon Altshul
I am honored that Israel Forever had asked me to do a guest blog post.
Before moving to Israel during the Second Lebanon War in August 2006, I had visited many times. However, living in Jerusalem without a car and walking the streets, getting lost in the beginning, as no streets are straight and the numbers do not make sense, was a very different experience.
The mainstream media showed only scenes of strife and violence, not of Arab men walking around my neighborhood.
I went to the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk, and did not see soldiers or guns, but Jews, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Europeans, Asians all walking around together.
I began carrying a camera to capture scenes that I thought the world should see:
In 2008 I watched as a young relative opened her laptop to show how she had used Google to search to find an image of "people who smile a lot" for a school project. I was horrified to see her top result - "Israelis kill a lot of Arab children" and the image was of a man holding a blood covered child. NOTE: That same photo recently resurfaced as a tweeted image from Gaza from a tragic car accident, having nothing to do with Israel.
It seems no matter how many of thousands are on the Jerusalem streets, if there is no violence... it is not news for the mainstream media.
When I started blogging, I was told there are seven million bloggers in Israel. I began The Real Jerusalem Streets not to write about personal experiences in Israel but to post some of my candid photos. Once on the internet you never know where they go - over 21,573 searches for "Arab girls" have ended up with my recent post on real Arab girls.
From afar, Jerusalem, and all of Israel, can be seen as a dangerous place. And sometimes it is.
Nearly every day, hundreds of people from all over the world walk the Jerusalem streets, going from one historical site to another, from one cultural corner to the next. There are hundreds of public and private lectures and activities organized for all members of Israel society, religions, cultures, and interests.
While tourists and locals alike swarm to the Old City, to the Western Wall and through the alleyways of our history, Church bells ring in the background always welcoming the thousands of Christians from around the world who love Israel and come to visit and pay their respects to this incredible land.
And on any given day, a group of Arab women, children, men will walk by on the street, headed to prayer, to shop, to enjoy the life of freedom that Israel grants them.