My friend visited me recently, and I took some time off to spend with him. One of our day trips was to Jerusalem, primarily to visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
We started off by taking a relatively new train to Jerusalem from the Ben Gurion Airport. This train takes about half an hour to reach Jerusalem, and shaves an hour (or more) off the previous train route that left from Tel Aviv.
As I mentioned recently, I really like the new station. It was a great welcome back to Jerusalem.
We took the light rail up to Mount Herzl, the site of both Theodore Herzl‘s grave, and Yad Vashem.
We arrived at Yad Vashem at a pretty busy time. There were easily half a dozen tour buses there already.
We picked up two audio guides for a self-guided tour (although the guided tours are apparently really good too).
The main museum was pretty crowded, although the tour groups eventually moved past us as we walked through the exhibits describing the events leading up to, and the Holocaust itself in visceral detail.
Walking through the museum takes time, and I almost always felt like I was moments away from tears as I listened to the narrative describing how European Jews were first marginalised, dehumanised, and then eradicated in the many death camps they were shipped to like cattle.
It took us three hours to make our way through the exhibits, and each step reinforced why Israel is so important. Having our own country with an effective military means that Jews are no longer subject to the whims of other nations who repeatedly return to old stereotypes, and prejudices.
What still alarms me (even though I know better), is that we see the same rhetoric being repeated in various countries as the Nazis used in the 1930s, and other groups used in the centuries that preceded them. It seems that some things never change. Some people seem to drift back to anti-Semitism when they need someone to blame.
From Yad Vashem, we made our way to the Old City, towards the Western Wall.
We arrived at the Wall after lunch at a nearby schwarma place, and during preparations for Yom HaZikaron (our memorial day for soldiers and victims of terror attacks) two days later.
This photo of these three men sitting, facing the Wall reminded me of a previous visit where I saw three monks leaning over the railing, looking at the Wall and it’s visitors.
From here, we made our way back out of the Old City towards the train station, and home.