Forget the uplift and avoid the stun grenades and the riot sticks, folks.
This message, emailed to all registered yanks in the Holy Land, shows a disconnect between secular and religious concerns. Violence is becoming a sideshow to some of the religious celebrations It begs the question - what about Jewish Americans who want to pray at the Western Wall or on the Temple Mount, or American Muslims who want to ascend the Noble Sanctuary and pray in the mosque. Or Christians or Messianic Jews who celebrate inside the churches in the Old City
WARDEN MESSAGE October 2, 2009
The final two of the local autumn holidays, Sukkot and Simhat Torah,
will be celebrated this weekend and next. American citizens should
avoid the Old City for one week from sundown Friday, October 2nd,
through sundown on Friday, October 9th, 2009. Vehicle traffic in and
around the Old City will be restricted by the Israeli National Police
Although it is a good idea to avoid the Old City for the entire week,
Monday, October 5th, is expected to draw the largest crowds due to the
annual pilgrimage by Jewish worshipers who will assemble at the Western
Wall for special prayers.
Additionally, political and religious tensions are expected to be high
in the areas immediately adjacent to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound
throughout this period. A large police presence in the area may provoke
spontaneous violence in the form of civil unrest and police actions.
Finally, the crowded environment could result in an uptick in criminal
activity to include pickpockets, physical assaults and other crimes.
American citizens should avoid crowds and walking or driving around the
Old City. Carry a mobile phone and stay cognizant of your surroundings.
For the latest security information, Americans should regularly monitor
the Department's web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current
Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for
Israel, West Bank and Gaza, and Travel Alerts can be found.