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Evil On The Mount of Olives

H. B. Dhwa (博士后南开朋友) 2/19/2015

Church of All Nations

Church of Mary Magdalene. It's only open to the public one day a week, so this is one of the rare views I got from the Mount of Olives.

The view from the Mount of Olives is magnificent. You are looking down on the densely packed walled Old City ofJerusalem with the Temple Mount in the distance before you. To stand on the mount of Olives is to relive what Jesus must have felt as he gazed on the City of David, Jerusalem, and cried out as recorded in Mathew 23:27, 
“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … how I longed to gather your children together…but you would not.”


Hello all,

I'm now in Tel Aviv, Israel, in a hotel room by the Mediteranean Sea. These past few days I have visited the Via Dolorosa, the Garden Tomb, the Holocaust Museum, the Mount of Olives, the Zion Gate, the Jaffa Gate, the Church of Nativity and the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem, the Church of Annoucination, the Church of Multiplication, the Jordan river, and the Town of Jesus in the Nazareth area.

The Sea of Galilee was so beautiful it took my breath away, reminding me of the Second Beach in Vancouver.

On the Mount of Olives, however, nasty things happened. When I was asking a group of men standing in front of the entracne of the Church of Agony for the directions for the Garden of Gethsemane, one of them took me to the Garden, pointing to the trees and telling me they witnessed Jesus's last prayer. Then he asked for money for his "explanation." I wanted to tip him three dollars, and he said that he did not accept U.S. dollars, but shekels. He stared at my wallet, asking me to give him as much as I like. He said that he could give me change. So he took my only 100 shekel bill, and gave me 40 shekels for change. In this sense, his "explanation" cost me 60 shekels--about 16 U.S. dollars. I was angry, and walked away after he gave the change. He followed me, asking me to hire him as my private tour guide. I followed a tour group and finally got rid of him.

I came to the Gethsemane Grotto and was hiding there from those shameless rascals. It tool me quite a while to subside a little bit. Then two other guys approached me, forcing me to take their taxi. One of them came into the Grotto, telling me that he would offer me a 50% discount, and insisted that he use the meter. The other said that he would wait for me outside until I came out of the Grotto. They followed me for half an hour until I stopped a cab and got into it and left.

I was lucky. On the Mount of Olives, I came across three young Chinese tourists. One of them just had his cell phone stolen. He said a man unzipped his pocket, took away his cell phone and ran away before he realized that had happened. My hotel manager told me that an American woman was robbed on the Mount of Olives. A man grabbed her arm and asked for money. The woman gave him $100, and he said it was not enough. So she gave him another $100.

Also, at the Via Dolorosa, a man put a little brochure into my hand. I thought it was something for free and so opened it--it was a map of the Via Dolorosa route. And then he asked for $1. I thought $1 was fine, so I did not think much of it, but a couple of days later in Nazareth, something similar happened and this time it was not a matter of $1.

I guess we all have to pay tuition, and I have learned my lessons about this country.

One woman asks, "Is this how Islam has taught them?" A man says, "It is not about Islam; it is about stupidity."

In my view, it is neither about Islam, nor about stupidity. It is about poverty and the gap between the rich and the poor. One Buddhist master based in Richmond, BC, once said, "Poverty is the source of all evils." It is so true. It it were not because of poverty, Jean Valjean would not have stolen a loaf of bread and would not have been imprisoned for 19 years. If every young person could afford to buy an iPhone 6 plus, then no one would think about stealing one. It is not easy to talk about dignity or decency when we can't make both ends meet.

I don't blame these men. The anger is gone, and I hope that $16 I paid for getting directions might have made his day.





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