International Arts and Crafts Fair
22nd August 2006
Just a brief reflection on last night: my family and I went to the International Arts and Crafts Fair in Sultan's Pool in the shadow of the Old City of Jerusalem. There was a broad swathe of Israeli society present. A plethora of different kinds of kippot, jostled with a multitude of body piercings. Those present were young and old, screaming babies, cuddling teens, reservists just back from the Lebanese front, and seniors stopping to rest weary limbs.They came from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Haifa. And they enjoyed outstanding crafts from Israeli artists in glass, ceramics, pottery, leather, silk, wool and wood. They could buy from stalls selling produce from, amongst others, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kazakstan, India, Thailand, Morrocco and, yes, Jordan. There was music, entertainment, and food stands selling all the obvious Jewish food like: pizza, shwarma, chow mein, tortillas, ice cream and chocolate fondue.
In short, it was Israelis after the ceasefire coming together to breathe. Yet it was testimony again to the resilience of kids and the wonders of a short memory. Whilst the kids were exhuberantly making the most of the freedom to run, eat, dance and buy, many of the adults found laughing too incongruous given the last month of armed combat and the social challenges of refugees. It is a part of this society that probably did not appear in the media and it is an evocative strand in the tapestry of Israel. If only we take the care to look. I think that we should.Jonathan Ariel
Photos: Amiya עמיה firstname.lastname@example.org