Jerusalem, Israel – March 17, 2015
I had planned my work itinerary around finishing before the elections. I wanted to be in Jerusalem to witness the scene.
The previous government had been dissolved in December and the new elections were to be hotly contested, with a high turnout expected and some very controversial and divisive issues being debated, such as the proposal to create an exclusively Jewish state and what should be done about the previous Summer’s war in Gaza. I was excited. I wanted to see the celebrations, the tension, the protests. Everything.
I’m a huge political science junky and love studying conflict. And what better place than Jerusalem? Israel’s largest city, diverse and full of history. I was excited to arrive that morning but slightly surprised not to see political posters or any type of gathering. It’s early. And maybe I’m in the wrong part of town for that. I told myself.
Early in the evening, I had still witnessed nothing. I’m still not sure why nothing was happening, it was just as slow as any other weeknight. Maybe everything was happening in Tel Aviv, the capital. Or maybe the police had the city on lockdown to prevent any attacks. Both very plausible.
Disappointed, I returned to the hostel to link up with a friend I had met earlier. We met with a couple of others and wandered to an “Irish” bar in downtown Jerusalem. It was Saint Patrick’s Day!
We had a fun rest of the night, listening to live music that sounds like what I expect Irish music to sound like, playing drinking games (which aren’t nearly as fun when you don’t drink) and getting to know each other. Each person was fascinating and we ended up exploring Jerusalem and Bethlehem together the next couple of days, but that is another story and shall be told another time.
When all was said and done, I witnessed nothing of political importance on election day but had a great St. Patrick’s Day with newfound friends!