Israel: A New Perspective

Photo from knowledge@wharton

Photo from knowledge@wharton

Walking through the Machne Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, there is never a dull moment. The aroma of fresh chocolate pastries joins the strong scent of chickpeas being grinding into smooth hummus. One man yells “The best falafel in all of Israel!” while another shouts “Come here! You have to have a taste.” Their thick Israeli accents climb over one another as if fighting over who will be loudest. The energetic chef at the Jachnun bar prepares the ancient Yemenite dish while dancing to hard rock music. The woman selling Baklava holds the sweet dessert under each person’s nose, making it impossible to simply pass by. While American tourists desperately try to sneak in a photo of the madness, Israeli natives carelessly stomp over their toes. A teenage boy stands in the center of the chaos belting Israeli classics. Never a dull moment. 

As I cautiously settle into the chaotic atmosphere, I begin to focus on people. A young man buys two children the glazed donuts that they’ve been longingly staring at. Almost every person who walks by the homeless man drops a coin into his cup. A fruit vendor smiles and hands me a fresh fig to taste. In the midst of the rich and unfiltered culture of Israel, kindness and care thrives.

When the sun sets and the food vendors retreat home, the market streets turn into a lively nightlife scene. The packed cobblestone streets create a wild atmosphere filled with graffiti art and blasting hip hop. Young Israelis crowd around the small wobbling tables, passionately discussing the events of their day and gesturing loudly with their hands.The traditional middle eastern market transforms into a young party central of Jerusalem. 

When one hears the word “Israel,” flying rockets from Gaza come to mind. Disputes over land and political upheaval. We think of families hiding in bomb shelters and terrorists trying to bring death to the country and those living in it. These events are important and impossible to ignore, and we must continue to fight for the people affected. 

There are many who don’t support Israel; its establishment, creation, and continuation into present day. I believe in standing up for the historic Jewish right to the land, while supporting all those who live in it-Jews, Arabs, and Christians. But as we tackle the conflict, let’s keep in mind the other side of Israel. The Machne Yehuda market—vibrant, diverse, loud, and kind. The unfiltered beauty of Israel.