Gazette columnist Carl Strock shares photos from a recent trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank (aka Palestine).
In the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
A family (men only) suited up for prayer at the retaining wall that supported the so-called Second Temple -- the famous Western Wall, or Wailing Wall.
Praying at the Western Wall. The white scraps of paper are written prayers stuffed into the cracks of the wall.
A couple of girls cop a peek at the main section of the Western Wall, which is reserved for men.
Armenian nuns in the Church of Holy Sepulcher, which is religiously, meaning strictly, divided among six Christian denominations.
The so-called Stone of the Unction, a non-scriptural slab of rock on which the body of Jesus was supposedly laid after the crucifixion. Pilgrims come from all over the world to kiss it and to rub their various amulets on it. Here a young boy lays his toy rifle on it, presumably to soak up the sanctity.
You won't know this unless you're Catholic, but when Jesus was carrying the cross to Calvary he tired and briefly leaned against a wall to rest, and his hand left an impression in the very rock. It's not in the Bible but is part of what the church calls tradition. Tourists in Jerusalem today, walking the Via Dolorosa, cannot resist putting their own hand into that depression and getting their picture taken, although this particular tourist, from the Philippines, had to be talked into it.
In a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank.
A Palestinian town, at dusk, where Yassir Arafat is a national hero.
In the market of Nablus, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, a vendor jokingly tries to sell an outsized squash to a Philippine tourist, the same Philippine tourist who got talked into posing on the Via Dolorosa and who is often encountered on my travels.