We had to change our plan for today due to rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians ahead of Jerusalem Day tomorrow, May 29. We had planned to go north to visit Jacob’s Well, Shechem, and Sebastia (biblical Samaria). However, when we tried to travel through certain Palestinian communities where protests or riots have recently occurred, we found our bus turned away by Israeli soldiers. Our attempts simply to go around were also unsuccessful. We then decided that we would go an entirely different direction and visit Tel Afek (biblical Aphek) near the coast, but, after we got to the site, we discovered that our national park entry permit had expired. Thwarted in two directions, we then just decided to spend a free-day in Jerusalem since we likely wouldn’t be able to come back to Jerusalem during the holiday tomorrow. Our group members, therefore, found lunch in different places and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing some last-minute shopping and sight-seeing in Jerusalem.
Tomorrow is another free day and our last day in Israel. Ema and I are planning only low-key activities for tomorrow since we will also be preparing to travel back to the USA; our red-eye flight departs tomorrow night. Please keep us and our group in your prayers amid the Jerusalem Day unrest, the threat of rocket attacks against Israel, and the simple stress of travel.
This should be my last post from Israel. Lord willing, my next post will be published after I’m back in New Jersey.