If you don’t check your mail for a while, at some point the mailbox will begin to overflow.  The problem is increasing at the Western Wall with more and more visitors placing notes in the cracks between the stones.  Authorities are now considering adding a third annual clean-up.  From the Jerusalem Post:

Armed with wooden poles, Western Wall employees on Wednesday removed millions of handwritten notes, faxes and email printouts from between the ancient stones. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which gives the Kotel such a face-lift twice a year – before the upcoming Passover and ahead of the Jewish New Year – are considering a third annual clean-up, due to the growing influx of requests and notes.
The notes will be placed in a repository in accordance with Jewish law, with the laborers – working under the supervision of Western Wall and Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz – taking care to not read their content.

The full story is here.

Western Wall men cleaning out prayers6, tb090402880

Removing prayer notes from the Western Wall

If you’ve driven through the two Druze communities on Mount Carmel, you may have wished you could have found out more about this Arab group that is loyal to the State of Israel.  A recent article in the Jerusalem Post gives some insight into their culture and cuisine.

“Sometimes when people come here and talk to the Druse, they learn about the conflicts that Druse have as young Israelis and young Druse. They learn about how they fit in with the society. One of the conflicts we have is how we are seen by Druse in Syria and Lebanon, who are loyal to the countries they live in. We are often in a position of being between a rock and a hard place. We are seen as enemies of their countries but we are also related to them by faith, religion, and also our family relations.”
Zidane spoke of other conflicts, like the state’s plan to build gas lines passing through the village’s agricultural lands, or the way that he is always taken aside for extra questioning at Ben-Gurion Airport because he has an Arab name, and how that makes him feel as an officer in an IDF reserve unit.
More than anything else, Zidane spoke about Druse and the army. This is mainly because it’s what Israelis most know about the Druse, and what they often want to talk about. Like other aspects of being Druse, Zidane said it is not all very simple.
“I think that when people think of Druse, the first thing they think of is the army. Yes we like the army, we serve in it, but I think all the citizens should do it, even an Arab Muslim or Christian should. We are loyal and we have proven it, and now I don’t want to only be treated by this subject. I don’t think we should stop serving in the army, but it’s not the only thing we can do.

For a perspective on the ancient significance of Mount Carmel, see this recent JPost column by Wayne Stiles.

Daliyet el-Karmel, Druze village, tb040100100

Daliyet el-Karmel, Druze village on Mount Carmel