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Among My Souvenirs - Jerusalem - Dome of the Rock - Center of Controversy (and pesonal security issues) | by ramalama_22
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Among My Souvenirs - Jerusalem - Dome of the Rock - Center of Controversy (and pesonal security issues)

The Holy Enclosure / Temple Mount is one of the holiest sites for three Western religions. Inside the Dome of the Rock (on the site of the Hebrew Temple) is the Foundation Stone of the Universe where Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac and the Footprint of a Prophet where Mohammed ascended to heaven. Inside, Arab children were selling postcards and women were changing babies on the "sacred stone". This was originally a mountain top; a level platform was later built on fill around it.

 

In many decades of visiting countries on four continents, this was the focal point of the majority of my "travel security issues":

 

In 1987 was tackled, straddled and beaten by a policeman after taking photos of the nearby Golden Gate, traditional site of the expected Second Coming of Jesus Christ..

 

Also in 1987, grabbed just outside the Dome of the Rock by seven Palestinian teens - one around the neck, one on each wrist, one on each elbow, and one under each arm. I think they were expecting violent resistance. When I refused to give them a pretext to assault me they left peacefully.

 

On my last day in Jerusalem in 1987 got involved in an attempted kidnapping outside Damascus Gate ( a 15 minute walk from here). Got in a taxi requesting a ride to my hotel about a mile away (uphill through the unrebuilt no mans land remaining from prior wars). As soon as the cab started moving, someone jumped into the back seat and said "We're going to Bethlehem". Damascus Gate had a reputation for kidnappings but I was in no condition to walk to the hotel (several tourists had been murdered inside Damascus Gate in the week before). Calmly said I was very ill and would probably be dead long before reaching Bethlehem (this was probably true). They were not expecting this calm respectful behavior and took me to the hotel (after a silly prank involving the police) and we parted on friendly terms.

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Taken on August 17, 2014