Thursday, August 23, 2012

Solomon's Pools - Again!

When the fantastic website, Israel’s History – A Picture a Day – featured a Library of Congress photo of Solomon’s Pools the other day, many of the site’s visitors were excited, including me!
The three Olympic-sized Solomon’s Pools are not only an important part of Israel’s ancient history, created by the Hasmonean Kings to bring water from Hebron to the Temple Mount, they are also an important part of our modern history. Residents of Efrat, Gush Etzion and Jerusalem traveled there (five minutes from our towns) to tour the site and even picnicked there on Israel’s Independence Day, for many years since 1967.After I blogged about the photograph and my own connection to Solomon's Pools, A Picture a Day’s publisher Lenny Ben David graciously sent me some more photos of the site.I have not been able to stop thinking about Solomon’s Pools since, and I began searching the internet to see if I could find modern-day photos of the site – to find out what has happened to it and if the Palestinian Authority has renovated the ancient landmark.
It might sound hokey, but I wanted to know that Solomon's Pools were "alright and cared for."Well, to my astonishment, I came upon an article, dated just this morning from WAFA - The Palestinian News & Info Service. The Agency wrote that Arabs are concerned that “Jewish settlers are planning to take over the historic Solomon Pools located in al-Khader, a town south of Bethlehem, through performing religious rituals there, according to an activist.”
It continued, “70 settlers arrived at Solomon Pools under army protection and performed religious rituals there.”
What a coincidence?! But there is really no such thing as chance. Rather, let's say, "What timing!!"
Wednesday’s Elder of Ziyon blog reported that the Palestine Times wrote that “a large group of usurpers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, stormed the Solomon’s Pools…. performed the ritual and religious hymns and rituals in the water, which is the fourth time in a row this has occurred.”I am so thrilled that Solomon's Pools has not been forgotten. I am excited that Gush Etzion residents have been allowed to visit there, whether or not they really stepped inside the pools, as one would a mikveh (ritual bath).That’s incredible.If there is peace in our area, there shouldn’t be any problem about visiting Solomon’s Pools, especially if a tourist complex has been/or is being built right next door.
One more thing excited me about the Palestine Times article. It included a photo of a beautiful pool, filled with blue water. If Solomon's Pools really look like that today, I will be very happy.

(Top two photos - part of the Library of Congress collection; bottom photo from the Yad Vashem collection)

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