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Fridays in Jerusalem during Ramadan

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Chicago, IL
posts: 88
reviews: 1
Fridays in Jerusalem during Ramadan

We're leaving for Israel in 2 weeks (can't wait!) and plan to be in Jerusalem on a Friday. We're looking forward to experiencing the beginning of sabbath at the wall, but someone told me that it's not advisable to be in the old city on Fridays during Ramadan -- does this make any sense? I didn't really understand the reasoning behind that statement. If that's the case, we'll probably make that our Masada/Dead Sea day.

Thanks for any info!

Liz

Washington State
posts: 2,051
reviews: 11
1. Re: Fridays in Jerusalem during Ramadan

Complicated subject.

I will say that on my first trip to Jerusalem in 1997, I found myself in the Moslem quarter on the last day of Ramadan just after Friday prayers were over. When I say that people were packed literally shoulder to shoulder in the narrow lanes, I literally mean it. You could hardly move. Most folks were heading to buy food to break the fast that ended with sundown.

At first, I was scared. When I realized that no one cared a bit about me (either for good or ill), it was a great experience and an amazing show to watch. For the most part, these worshippers are good people who want to worship their God and be at peace with others.

On Fridays today, there will be 1000's of policemen (and soldiers) deployed around the city (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1220526718100&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull ). And there could be 75,000 to 100,000 Muslims on the Mount for prayers.

That, of course, holds the potential for conflict. A few hotheads on either side of the divide could spark a confrontation. It has happened before.

Stay away? I think if I had flexibility in my schedule, I might choose to see something else that day. Parts of the Old City could be closed or restricted even if there is no trouble.

Personally, I would love to get to an observation point and watch the thousands of worshippers who will gather. In numbers and scope, it's probably the closest thing to a Second Temple Jewish festival as seen in nearly 2000 years.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,940
reviews: 18
2. Re: Fridays in Jerusalem during Ramadan

There is no reason for you to stay away from the Kotel for the start of the Sabbath. The Muslims pray during the day. As the sun is setting ( and Sabbath is beginning) they are home getting ready to break their day long fast.

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
posts: 13,408
reviews: 41
3. Re: Fridays in Jerusalem during Ramadan

rdglady gave you sound advice.

4. Re: Fridays in Jerusalem during Ramadan

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