National Geographic : 1968 Dec
Arab girl with a basket of groceries on her head. She passed with only a glance at the weapons. An Israeli housewife bustled out, clutching a package. (There are bargains to be found in the Old City, where prices are sometimes lower than in the New.) Since modern Israel's birth in 1948, no such casual contact had occurred between the seg regated citizens of Jerusalem.* They commu nicated with bullets. They shared no streets, they passed through no common portal. To me, the very normalcy of their present com ings and goings seemed almost miraculous. As I watched and marveled, some of the urchins who haunt the gate spotted me and moved in to assure me in fragments of several languages that whatever I might want they could provide, and at ridiculously low cost. "Buzz off," I suggested. And since they would not, I did, joining the flow of humanity pouring into the ancient town. 842 The sacred city appeared unaltered by the violence of the Six Day War of 1967.t Israeli troops had deliberately accepted unnecessary losses by restricting themselves to light weap ons-even knives-to avoid harming holy and historic places. The Holy Sepulcher and other shrines are intact, and are now pro tected by Israeli law. The streets, as always, were blessedly free of vehicular traffic. They are not really streets at all, in the Western sense, but a jumble of stairs, tunnels, alleys, arcades, and passage ways. All have something strange and ex citing to offer the eye, the ear, the nose-or all three. If squalor abounds in many a soiled *John Scofield wrote of "Jerusalem, the Divided City," in the April, 1959, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. tThe Six Day War and its aftermath were described in "Eyewitness to War in the Holy Land," by Charles Har butt, in the December, 1967, GEOGRAPHIC. In the same issue, Howard La Fay visited the roads and byways "Where Jesus Walked."