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November 30, 1990 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

eemingly in the
middle of no-
where stands a
yellow door.
Looking like
the entrance one
might find on
any home, the
door sits outside,
with barbed wire on either
side and heavy, pale stones
in front. And behind — a
garden of Jerusalem, with
flowers of exquisite red,
fresh orange and royal blue.
Like this mustard-
colored door, which
overlooks the Old City,
Israel is surrounded on all
sides by miles of fierce
barbed wire, separating
the country from its Arab
neighbors.
But past that wire is a
magical world of perfumes
made from biblical for-
mulas, the last testaments
of children murdered at
Auschwitz, health resorts
where lingering illnesses
vanish, dusty paths where
Avraham walked, spy sto-
ries with tragic endings,
terrible mountains where
travelers disappeared, and
the graves of dead poets
who dreamed of love.
American Jews these
days have a hard time see-
ing these little treasures of
Israel, or even the more
renowned ones like the
Kotel and the Dead Sea.
Virtually no one is coming
to Israel. Hotels are empty
and streets are bare. Stores
once bustling with camera-
laden visitors close early,
and tour buses sit for
weeks on dark lots.
The source of the decay is
supposedly Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein's threat
to destroy Israel. Jewish
groups one by one cancel
their tours, leaving Israelis
disappointed and angry.
"How can you not come
when we most need you?"

one Ministry of Tourism of-
ficial asked of American
Jews. "You've abandoned
us."
Israelis have received gas
masks, and families have
been advised to make
ready a room safe from
noxious fumes Saddam
Hussein might drop on the
country. These precautions
include purchasing plastic
to safeguard the windows
and tape to plug electric
sockets.
But Israelis are much
more worried about what
will happen if visitors con-
tinue to shun the country.
Already, many of their
friends and family have
lost jobs as a result of the
drop in tourism.
Tourism officials and
angry Israelis aside, busi-
ness remains as usual. Ben
Yehudah Street is filled at
night with the smell of hot
falafel, Time cigarettes
and Turkish coffee thick
with sugar.
The stores are open,
offering American jeans
and kibbutznikim sandals
with two straps across the
top, sunflower seeds and
peanuts, hair conditioner
that smells of almonds and
delicate jewelry filled with
glittering stones.

S

Elizabeth Applebaum
just returned from a
two-week assignment
in Israel.

Tourists may not be corn-
ing, but Israel remains a
tourist's dream. And its
greatest sites are not even
the ubiquitous stops on
every visitor's agenda, but
the secrets that whisper
from under the rocks and
the trees, that hide bet-
ween ancient stones where
history is piled atop histo-
ry, that come out at night
in the fields overflowing
with rich sage and fennel.

A look at some of Israel's
secret treasures.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

Assistant Editor

24

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1990

On this journey to Israel's
unknown treasures, begin in
Jersalem's Old City, where a
museum in the Cardo shows
new discoveries in the area.

Among the finds: six
homes from 37 B.C.E.-70
C.E. showing exquisite
mosaic floors and a

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