Saturday, June 22, 2013
Throughout this week and particularly today, I have come to realize that the misconception that Israel is solely a Jewish state is incorrect. While Israel is made up of many devout Jewish people and serves as the Holy Land for the Jewish people as well, my experience at Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is the site in which Jesus was killed, buried, and raised again, showed me that the nation is actually much more diverse and accepting than many would believe. The moment I walked through the grand entrance of the Church, so many aspects stood out to me—the platform in which Jesus was placed on after his death on the cross, the ornate mosaic artwork telling the story of Jesus, the building itself. Something important I noticed after I was able to really step back and observe was the wide span of people. Left and right, I saw Arab Christians, Ethiopian Christians, Catholics, men, women, young children, and elderly.
On a larger scale, I was amazed that so many different places of worship exist within even the city of Jerusalem. Within the span of the city, one is able to find Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, Muslim mosques, the Armenian Quarter, and even a Mormon college. Israel seems to be able to maintain a high population of diverse religious practices while in a sense also integrating them all into one living space. I think that many preach the importance of coexistence, but few are actually able to obtain a standard of living in which religions from all ends of the spectrum are not only allowed to but also able to carry out a system of beliefs without any objections. Israel, in my eyes, is an example of a nation whom successfully reached this aspiration. Rather than wrongly judging the nation, the world as a whole must be looking to Israel as an example of a nation that is making incredible efforts to reach peace.