After Mount of Olives, we drove back across the valley, and visited Ammunition Hill. That’s another thing I have to note about this trip, while we’re seeing ancient history, we’re also learning a lot of recent Israeli history too. Ammunition Hill is no exception. During the 1967 war, the Jordanians occupied this hill in the north of Jerusalem – it was their police station. Apparently, it’s always been said that Jerusalem will fall from the north – not necessarily meaning the enemy will be from a northern nation, but from a northerly direction – it’s the least fortifiable area. So this area was highly strategic and many Israeli soldiers died during the battle to take it, and subsequently Jerusalem. I will be honest here, after the night we had, and given the cold, rainy weather we were enduring, I think we were all rubber-necking during the presentation.
Time for lunch. We were on day four in Israel and had yet to have a falafel sandwich, so Moshe took us to “the best” place in Jerusalem. Falafel is like pizza, everyone knows “the best.” Moshe’s place didn’t suck either. And surprisingly, they had really good pizza too (Sammi had that). Oh, and another funny thing has happened in the past few years, all the falafel sandwiches seem to have gone “fat.” What’s that mean, you wonder? Well by Rutgers you have these food carts (referred to as “roach coaches”) and they make a sandwich “fat” by putting French fries on them. And so it is here too, the falafel and shwarma sandwiches all seem to have fries on them.
Re-fortified, it was time to head over to the Davidson Center for our 2:00 appointment (and a much needed bathroom break. You know the axiom when traveling, if you see a bathroom, use it). The Davidson Center sits along the southern end of the temple mount (south of the Kotel), and gives you a glimpse into life during the second Temple period (up through the Roman conquest of Jerusalem), specifically we saw a computer simulation (think Sims City only for ancient times) that focused on what a person did/saw as they went to the second Temple to make a sacrifice. It was pretty cool. But what really solidified it for us was visiting the ruins afterward, and seeing the ruins yet knowing what they looked like some 2000 years ago.
View of the Southern Retaining Wall of the Temple Mount
Robinson’s Arch, Southern end of the Western (aka Wailing) Wall