Tuesday, August 29, 2006

German Colony, Road to Hevron, Ramat Rachel

Images from Ramat Rachel

A few years ago I took a tour of Ramat Rachel. At the time, I remembered the view was fantastic from the kibbutz, but I didn't know for the life of me where I was. After purchasing a map today, I realized that I live very close to the Kibbuts and that it would only take me a few minutes by bus or about a half-hour stroll to get to the southernmost part of Jerusalem. So I packed my camera and took a walk. I went through German Colony, which I think is...an old colony that used to be German and is now Israeli.

The streets there have aqueducts and the houses resemble those of turn-of-the-century plantation mansions. Although most of them have been condominiumized into residential or office buildings, Israelis have maintained their terrific character.

At the end of German Colony, there are two options to go south, one is more of a throughway called the Road to Hevron, and the second is a little more homey, although not that much more, called the Road to Beit Lechem.

Regardless, at some point, I had to cross over to the road to Hevron. The region seemed to get a little more arid, a little less developed as I moved further and further to the edge of the city. Looking back, the view was fantastic. Part of the beauty is that much of the land is undeveloped, unlike America, where it seems everything has been overdeveloped and is almost flat in most urban areas.

It turns out the directions I was given to enter Ramat Rachel were a bit off. I ended up taking a dirt path that's usually used for tractors that take care of the kibbutz's crops. When I got to the top of the hill, the guard told me he couldn't let me in from that side and I would have to walk all the way around the town's gated boarder to get in to the Kibbutz. I tried to bribe him with some cool water I had just bought to no avail. It didn't really matter to me, I got the view I remembered.

To the South of the town (above left picture) is the southernmost Jewish section of Jerusalem called Choomat Shmuel. It looks like they're building up a storm there, I hope they don't plan on giving it away, it looks really nice! To the Southwest is called the 4th Hill (Above Images). Aside from an old mosque (far right picture), the Hill hasn't been developed at all, my guess is it's disputed and it juts into Israeli territory so Arabs can't build there and there is probably legislation passed where Jews resistricted themselves from building there as well.

The city seen behind the Hill on the right is called Gilo. Gilo's perifery was conquered and annexed in 1967. Though most people consider it a part of Jerusalem, there are some that dispute it as a settlement, particularly an offshoot of the city called Har-Gilo. I tend to think that 40,000 people is hard to consider a settlement and is almost a full-out city of it's own but no one elected me prime minister. Gilo overlooks a neighboring Arab village called Beit Jalla. A few years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Gilo and viewed the unfortunate havoc that was wreaked on the residents by extremists in the neighborhing village. Entire buildings facing the Arab village were sprayed with bulletholes, and it was clear that someone was not intending good things for this neighborhood. After 400 sum-odd incidents, the Israeli government built a 10 foot wall to block the fire and nearly demolished a specific home with a tank round that was firing particularly rabbidly at everyday civilians. The home turned out to be the residence of a prominant Arab who was pretty upset at the destruction of his home. To Israel's defence, his house harbored terrorists that severely injured several civilians regularly - even if his home was being used without permission, there is a point where neighboring governments must take responsibility for their own armies, law enforcement, and justice systems.


Blogger Cushy said...

Litter is a huge problem in all cities, and the only reason you see it less in certain cities is due to large scale initiatives and programs (television commercials, in school programs, highway signs, fines etc.) that manage this unfortunate phenomenon. My guess is too much praying, not enough "Please Don't Litter" campaigns.

10:23 AM  
Blogger REBoston said...

Well Ronn, you've taken a great first step. Blogging about the good and the bad is true democracy in action. I like the fact that you write with a critical eye eminating from a total love for Israel. Trash dumps, litter, garbage. It is all part of the Israel landscape and one more major problem , like road accidents and poverty, that Israel needs to deal with. Keep up the good work. You are already part of the solution - public acknowledgement of the problems.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Ronn Ben Harav said...

Actually, I found the most religious part of Jerusalem, the Old City, is the cleanest place in the entire country. Must be all those prayers being answered.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Cushy said...

Prayer or tourism?

8:18 PM  
Blogger Ronn Ben Harav said...

There's plenty of secular arsim that are just as filthy as your average poor religious guy. Generalizing and blaming the problem on religious Jews is not helpful, particularly since as you mentioned, the issue of polution is found in every city, religious or not. I think you should focus your energy on helping the country grow together and stronger rather than alienating the religious just because they believe in different things. kol tuv.

4:59 AM  
Blogger Cushy said...

You missed my entire point. Your initial comment was "if Jews pray for a country, why would they then litter once they had this thing they prayed for." My comment was EVERYONE litters, religious or secular. I'm not blaming them at all. I am simply saying that you shouldn't assume they WOULDN'T litter because they are religous. At the end of the day, they are just people, and people litter. This isn't my cause-I just can't help but debate-but good luck with yours.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Ronn Ben Harav said...

hmm, I missed your point, sorry =)

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Lauren Helfand said...

The garbage is because there aren't enough garbage cans. Why? Bombs. So the gov't took the cans away.

4:28 PM  

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