Everyone who lives in Israel has a defining moment when the realization that s/he is actually living in a place so stuffed with history that it’s impossible to avoid. My defining moment occurred when I was on a bus one smelly summer’s evening. The bus stopped at a red light and through the open window I read a sign which said HEROD’S TOMB ---à. Really? Herod’s tomb is within walking distance of this bus? Unbelievable!
Of course this paragraph should begin with ‘…So I got off the bus and walked up the hill..’ but I'm a lazy git, it was dreadfully hot and the realization was enough.
Today, some 24 years later, I was choosing an apple for cabbage salad. The label on the apple said Fruit from the Garden of Eden. Another said, The Taste of Eden. Which, I thought, must be around here somewhere…
And this, my friends, is what makes living in Israel so different from living in Australia or any other place, including Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and all the other poignantly historic sites available. All of Israel is an historic site.
ADDENDUM: The day after I wrote this piece—in one of life’s more charming coincidences—there was an article on the front page of Haaretz with a substantial headline: ‘Israel Museum reconstructs first floor of King Herod’s tomb in country’s largest-ever archaeological exhibit’. It seems that there will be ‘a huge exhibit of the life and architectural legacy of the controversial King Herod the Great’, AND ‘a gigantic recreation of his tomb’. The exhibit is scheduled to open in a month. In time for Passover, one assumes.
First thought: No one else was getting off the bus, either. Second: Now I really have to visit the new Israel Museum.
The project is, of course, attracting raging controversy.
cross posted Geoffff's Joint