These are just a few hasty scribbles from my recent trip to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area; they might not be very legible and I scanned them with an iPhone app (Turboscan) so the quality is a bit weird, but to be honest I can’t really be bothered to edit them all properly. So here you are:
The Western Wall is divided by a fence that keeps female worshippers separate from the men, which kind of pens the women off into a small corner. Women are banned from praying vocally, wearing prayers shawls/tefillin, and reading aloud from the Torah there – a group called the Women of the Wall meet there often to defy the rules and challenge this prevailling sexism. I stayed in the central area and drew pictures because that kind of rubbish really annoys me.
I didn’t do much drawing in the old city, beautiful as it is, because a lot of it is kind of chaotic. The first day we walked there we were pinned into a corner by a group of singing Americans carrying a giant wooden cross – they were then pinned against the same wall by a large truck which was driving through the tour groups and down the narrow stairs to the market. I put my sketchbook away then!
Views of the city from the ramparts.
Jerusalem is known as the “city of cats” because of the thousands of feral animals that live on its streets – the story goes that they were introduced by the British to control the city’s rat problem, but who knows if that’s really true. People seem pretty friendly towards them generally and I saw more than one machine gun-carrying soldier feeding them cat biscuits. My particular favourite was the black and white cat-that-looks-like-hitler, who was unfortunately begging for food at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial. Oops.
Tmol Shilshom bookshop cafe in Jerusalem
Views of the city from the Tower of David museum. You can just about see the Separation Wall along the green line from up there, one of the only signs of Israel’s political problems that we really noticed (apart from the erratic opening hours at the Dome of the Rock and the blatant racial profiling at security gates).
Ibexes at Ein Gedi nature reserve, near the Dead Sea.
It’s a whole 20 degrees colder here than it was in Tel Aviv when we left. Oh well.