I didn't know whether to title this blog, DISGUSTING or HUMILIATING. But I decided for the former, because that's how today's scene at Rachel's Tomb seemed to me.
I drove, as on every other visit, to Rachel's Tomb to pray, together with my dearest Mother (until 120) and my lovely daughter.
As we exited the car, we noticed groups of people standing around - half on the parking lot side of the street and half in the entrance to Rachel's Tomb.
Two armored police trucks were holding back the worshippers.
Arabs were throwing stones over the giant cement barrier. Smashed stones and shattered glass lay on the street in front of Kever Rachel. Policemen were calling out blurred instructions through their megaphones.
Visitors were told they could enter Rachel's Tomb, the burial place of the Jewish Biblical matriach Rachel if they could "run quickly and keep against the wall."
That is how one comes to pray at the resting place of his grandmother - running for his life, hoping to dodge the stones and boulders lobbed from a few meters away on the other side of the wall?
I was so excited to cap off our lovely family day today with a family visit to
Mama Rachel. My own mother had come 5000 miles to visit her loved ones, and every trip to Eretz Yisrael is made complete with a visit to and heartfelt prayer by the burial place of our beloved Matriarch Rachel.
Jews from all over the world put Kever Rachel - Judaism's third holiest site, after the Kotel and the Cave of Machpelah - on their must-visit list.
But not today.
Everyone stood around waiting, whispering, impatiently trying to show patience, shaking their heads in DISGUST.
My mother cannot run 100 meters, dodging stones and boulders on the way. And even if she could, I would not allow it.
So we stood along with everyone else.
We watched full armored border policemen watching stone throwers. As far as we saw, there was no response - no tear gas, no paint guns, no anything.
Thus goes a sunny afternoon in the little town of Bethlehem, where today, thanks to Arab stone throwers, there is no "peace on earth" and certainly no "good will toward men" or women or children who simply wanted to pray, or unburden their hearts at their grandmother Rachel's side.
I surely hope that on the other side of the wall, soldiers were about to pounce.
We'll never know unless an Arab is injured, and therefore, the incident will make the news.
We turned back to the car, and waited for permission to drive out. They said, "Drive out quickly and carefully." Quickly, I could manage, avoiding rocks aimed at my car was beyond my ability.
We raced out and saw a line of cars waiting to enter.
Sorry, friends. Today, you cannot visit your grandmother.