Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ein Karem (Jerusalem) in Pictures

Ein Karem, A Beautiful Village

Yes, I am originally from Ein Karem, but this post is not biased. Even if I wasn't from there, it would still be beautiful to me. Sadly, I have only been there twice due to entry restrictions and such. Both times, there were many tourists coming to visit the holy places located there. There are barely any new buildings, most are houses and stores that belonged to the Muslims, Christians, and Jews who lived there pre-1948. Many of the current occupants of the village are Jewish immigrants from Iraq, Morocco, Yemen and the like. They are known as Eastern Jews. Of course there are also European Immigrants from Poland, Germany and the like.

What are '48 lands? They are lands that are now occupied by Israel since 1948. There are also '67 lands that have been occupied in 1967. Ein Karem is considered to be from the 1948 lands.

Why did the Arabs leave? Their was a massacre in Deir Yassin, and people from other villages were afraid the same would happen to them, so they decided to leave for a while and thought they would come back after the war. Some of the people in different villages were forced out, others ran away. Sadly, the people of Ein Karem ran away. There was only one woman who refused to leave, she was an old lady, and eventually her life took its toll on her.

A personal story. Before the year 2000 (I'm talking 21st century not BC), Palestinians were still allowed to travel between cities and villages freely. If they had a Palestinian ID, they could not live in '48 or '67 lands, but they could visit. Things changed after that, and you can only enter with a permit now. Most permits allow you to go in from about 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Not everyone can get a permit; you have to have a reason.

So long ago, my grandmother went back to visit Ein Karem to get a few things she had buried there before they went away (people thought they would come back so they buried their valuables underground, many immigrant families have found and took this valuables and a lot of them still dig to look for valuables). She went with our neighbour and they dug until they found them. They were about to go home, when a Jewish lady saw them and called the police. The police took them to Maskobiya, a well-known jail, and started questioning them. They kept them there for so long, that my grandmother decided to leave without her belongings so that my grandfather would not be upset at her for coming home late.

It takes about 25 minutes to get to Ein Karem from the Old City in Jerusalem (in most cities we have what we call the old city and the new city). Ein Karem is known to many people because of the hospital built on it's top. Hadasah, Ein Karem. This hospital has both Palestinian and Israeli doctors, and admits both Palestinian and Israeli patients.

 I took numerous pictures of the village and its beauty. Here are a few, have a look:

The Russian Church- This is one of the few new buildings in Ein Karem, began being built in the year 2000 but wasn't completed until a few years after.
The Visitation Church
The Stairs that lead to the Visitation Church
The street right next to the only mosque in Ein Karem.
This is the mosque of Ein Karem. Under it is Virgin Mary's Spring. The mosque also had a primary school built on top of it. The mosque is now closed with cement. No prayers take place inside. There are no more Muslims living in the village.
Beautiful blooming flowers- This was in November 2012
Ein Karem parking lot.
Had to climb up to get here, but it was well worth the climb.
The old houses of Ein Karem. Now occupied by Jewish immigrants.
Old buildings are used as shops and restaurants.
This picture was taken in February. This is the Saint John Church. Referring to John the Baptist
Beautiful balconies.
The minaret of the Ein Karem mosque.
Virgin Mary's Spring. It was believed that the Virgin Mary used to come to visit a relative in Ein Karem, so the spring was named after her. This is under the mosque.
Under the Mosque.
Street leading to Ein Karem.
Another old house, which is also occupied.
The Islamic Cemetery, of course no Muslims were recently buried here. There are about 9 stones in total although there may be many more people buried as in Islam, tombstones are not usually used.