October 31, 1999 |
It's the Holy Land, the place "where time began," in the grand phrasing of Israel's Tourism Ministry. What better place to celebrate the arrival of the year 2000 than here, at ground zero? But there's a small problem. The New Year's holiday is viewed in the Jewish state as a thoroughly Christian event and one to be scrupulously avoided by religious Jews. Although New Year's Eve parties have begun to catch on lately among young, secular Israelis, for the vast majority in this country, Jan.
April 4, 1999 |
It's the first time in Israel for my wife, Julie, and me. I'm Jewish; she's Christian. We arrive in Jerusalem as yet another peace accord is being reached--in faraway Maryland. We joke about tight security but suffer no greater calamity than Julie's discovery, at the airport, that she has left behind the key to her luggage lock. A customs agent produces wire cutters the size of hedge clippers, the lock snaps and we are off to our hotel in what used to be Arab East Jerusalem.
January 10, 1999 |
The proprietor of the Mount of Olives Hotel has seen it all. There were guests who thought they were Jesus Christ and could cast out demons. Others who spoke in tongues. The woman from the American South who wandered the halls believing she was the Virgin Mary. And lately, there's been a flock of born-again Christians moving into the neighborhood to await the Second Coming of the Messiah.
December 26, 1998 |
Christian and Muslim worshipers crisscrossed Bethlehem's Manger Square on Friday as Christmas and Ramadan faithful filled the churches and mosques of the Palestinian-ruled West Bank town. The ecumenical spirit brought little holiday cheer to tourism-dependent Bethlehem officials, disappointed that U.S. and British military strikes on Iraq and tensions with Israel have scared away visitors with their badly needed foreign exchange.
December 2, 1998 |
Archeology, one of Israel's biggest tourist attractions, suffered a blow Tuesday when most of the country's excavations were shut down. The Israel Antiquities Authority halted its salvage digs after the Supreme Court ruled that developers and building contractors cannot be billed for the costs of these excavations. The antiquities authority carries out a salvage dig before most construction projects begin.
August 22, 1998 |
Rows of towering date palms are already in place, along with glittering brass lamps and plush blue carpeting. And the slot machines are ready to go. A luxury casino, the first in the Holy Land, is about to open here, in a sand-colored building that has risen like a mirage from the desert floor at the entrance to this biblical city.