Entry #35: God Three Ways

DISCLAIMER: I will try to be equally offensive to all three major monotheistic religions in this entry. If you feel the need to send death threats or letter bombs to me, please send them directly to my lawyer, Adam Kobel at 42 Main Street, Worcester MA 01501.

Israel: The best dressed security force in the world!

Crossing the border from Jordan into Israel, I was immediately greeted by a fresh young Israeli woman with a machine gun barrel pointed at my head. "Welcome to the State of Paranoia!...uh I mean Israel". (Everyone in Israel must serve in the military, men and women, so there are a lot of 18 year old kids with big guns in their hands roaming around the streets...I don't know about you but an 18 year old with a gun doesn't make me feel safer).

Passing through customs took 3.5 hours of questioning and multiple searches of my belongings and me. The questions were inane, like, "What does the "Mc" stand for?" the pretty but serious girl would ask. Me, tempted to be a wiseass thought to say, "Master of Ceremonies...duh!...now put your hands in the air and wave them around like you just don't care..." all while doing a little dance, but thinking of my mother I just said "Mc is a standard prefix found in many Irish names, like McDonald or McConnell, similarly the way 'O' is used in the last name of O'Brien or O'Donnell".

The most entertaining part of this process was that the whole security force is not dressed in official uniforms, but instead they are dressed in regular street clothes...maybe it was "casual Thursday" this week ...but these aren't really any "regular" street clothes. The security force is wearing some of the latest designer clothing off the runways of Milan and Paris. I do not kid. The guys look like Ambercrombie and Fitch models with machine guns in their hands. And the women have full on make up, along with their Gucci sun glasses, their Louis Vitton taser holder, and their Prada combat boots. Secretly I was kind of hoping I said something wrong to get the women to take me into custody to be a little rough with me:)
It was hard to take them seriously, even the next day when I strolled down the street towards the old city I was stopped by the bomb squad as they "neutralized" a potential bomb threat. The female police officer was more concerned with her hair clip than the supposed bomb behind her. It was all a little surreal and bizarre.

It is such a paranoid society that they have "security guards" at every cafe and bar with a little hand held metal detector. I'm not sure how much 'security' this guard really gives, because if they ever did find a bomb on someone, that person would already be in the doorway of the place. But one of the more amazing sights was seeing the 30-foot "security wall" that they had built to keep the Palestinians out. I felt like telling Ariel Sharon that I was just at the Great Wall of China, and it didn't work so well back them, and I'm not sure its going to work so well this time either.

Free Jelly Donuts: The missing link in the peace process? I think so.

All is not lost however; I do think the Israelis are potentially going to make a break through in the peace process in the next few months. You see, as I was walking down the street on Saturday night I was given, not one, but 2 Free Jelly Donuts! Now I haven't heard of this in the news before, but this new tactic to combat terrorism will surely work. It is a stroke of genius. Everyone loves donuts right? Plus jelly donuts are the best donut (a close second is chocolate glazed). Plus everyone loves anything that is free. Who in their right mind would want to blow up a people that give away Free Jelly Donuts? In fact, you'd probably INVITE those people to occupy your country, I know I would. If you haven't noticed, President Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan and Abbas the leader of Hammas have all made positive remarks that show a positive shift in the Middle East peace process. My guess is that they all must have gotten a bakers dozen of Free Jelly Donuts.

The Tower of David Museum: Dioramas from heaven!

One of the highlights of Jerusalem for me was the Tower of David Museum. Not so much the history or the religious significance in the Tower of David, but more in the Dioramas they had on display. They were truly works of art...masterpieces even...divinely inspired. I believe all our school children should be taught how to make dioramas like the ones in this museum. I can only imagine how much better my 2nd grade project on the Roman Empire would have been if I had known dioramas could be this beautiful!

Armenians: My people are in the HOUSE!

So the old city of Jerusalem is divided into 4 quarters. One for each of the 3 major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, and the final quarter is the Armenian Quarter. What’s up with that? How my people, (for my fans that don't know, I'm half Armenian) got a piece of the city is beyond me.

I even went to the Armenian Museum there, which basically chronicles each and every time the Armenians were persecuted and slaughtered ever since they were the first people en mass to convert to Christianity in 49AD. First, it’s amazing that there are any Armenians even left after the slaughter by the Ottomans, the Malumeks, the Romans, the Turks, and the Russians. Second, hey guys lets convert already...God is clearly not on our side!

The Armenian Quarter is next to the place where Jesus had the last supper which I would say he was a lucky guy because a highlight for me was eating some good Armenian food like my grandmother used to make. Mmm, stuffed grape leaves, shish kebab, and kibbe with a side of pita and hummous sounds like a good last meal to me!
Another revelation I had was that an old girlfriend had the same birthday as the anniversary date of the Armenian Genocide (April 24th)...I knew there was always something I didn't like about the girl but I never could put my finger on it...probably because I could never remember her birthday.

Jerusalem is a surreal place to be. First, it’s a city that is 7,000 years old, which would make Jesus a relative new comer since he was here just 2,000 years ago. Second, I'm writing this email in an internet cafe that Jesus would have walked past as he carried his cross to the crucifixion. And on one hand it is amazing that the idea of peace and hope and brotherly love started here and spread around the world through 3 different religions and yet I helped break up a fight between two guys in the street tonight. It is bizarre and fascinating at the same time.

Other weird things are that Mount Zion and Mount Olive, are not mountains at all, they are barely grassy knolls. I feel mislead all these years that the literal word of the bible isn't true! Next, I'll probably find out that there wasn't and ark!

Tomb of Jesus- where he rose from the dead

And according to what is supposedly, the place Jesus had the last supper, was condemned to death, carried the cross, was crucified, and buried all happened in about a quarter mile radius. His crucifixion was 20 feet from his tomb...I don't know about you but that sounds fishy to me. I always imagined it was at least down the street, not 20 feet away! I think the queen that did the "investigation" into these things during the crusades might have been a little lazy and said "this looks like a good spot...yeah build the church here." Plus I'd like to think Jesus was smart enough to have his last supper more than 300 yards from the place he was condemned and crucified...he wasn't really making them look too hard for him...he could have just had them over for dinner! I mean they were right next door.

Also for all the money the Church brings in you think they could pay for a real vase in Jesus's tomb, but instead they have a Sprite Bottle! I mean I commend them for recycling, but come on...its the Lord's Tomb...spring for the $5 vase already!

And finally, it's time to offend the Muslims reading my blog.

I tried to get into the Dome of the Rock, which is supposedly the place where Mohammed was transported (I think in the same way that Captain Kirk on Star trek is transported) from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night by God so that he could pray with Jesus, Abraham, Noah, Joshua, and Moses. Now remember back then they didn't have planes so one night was an impressive feat...now if it took a whole night to get from Mecca to Jerusalem you'd probably have a 23 hour layover in the Dubai Airport. Anyway, as I tried to get in they asked me if I was Muslim, to which I responded "I could be...I'm tossing around the whole conversion thing." They didn't find that humorous. I wasn't allowed in...maybe I'll try not to smile next time.

P.S. See you all in Hell :)

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