Broken Bethlehem. By Uncle Monty.
West Bank Photos By Alex Albion.
At where our magnificent Christ child was born,
the Palestinian town of Bethlehem is a pretty depressing
site on the West Bank with its Isreali 30ft. high security walls
with gun towers and streets full of garbage and trash along
with niggardly Muslim taxi drivers pesting the Christain visitor
like me to take a taxi to the Church of the Nativity at where
Christ was actually born. On the day I arrived at Bethlehem,
fistfights and scuffles broke out again between rival Orthodox
 Christian clergymen over the denominational cleaning
of the church in preparation for Christmas Services.
Bethlehem Wall Message:
Israeli Solider Being Searched By A Palestinain Girl.
The Israeli rationale against the Palestinians borders on a kind
of Fascism that feeds its pathological mindset to the point of no
 return with its 30ft high security walls and gun towers and count-
less armed police and soldiers at every turm along with their
 deadly and tigger happy AK-47s.  It's all going to end in a final
and huge bloodbath which will devour and destroy all that
Israel should stands for.
My Street View of Bethlehem.
I've chosen primarily not to write about Bethlehem from a
religious point of view per se, but rather from an English
 traveller's view of the city of Christ's birth.
 There was a listlessness about the place and a sense of
emptiness prevaled all around me as I walked the streets
of Broken Bethlehem to try to find its social pulse and its
 lifeblood and historic character and the living essence
 of the local people. It was deadpan to me.
The more I walked thru Bethlehem, the more I felt depressed
at what I saw or rather what I had expected to see of such
an important place in the origins or birth of Christianity.
It was awful to me.
I had expected to see joy and I did not. I had expected to
see Christ's face everywhere, but I did not. I had expected
to see signs of the cross here and there, but I did not aside
 from the churches. And, I had expected to see a happy
 Bethlehem, but I did not.
All I saw were cars being stopped on the streets by
overzealous Palestinian police. All I saw were people who
seemed resigned to the oppression and injustice of the
 Jewish State of Israel over them. All I saw were growing
 Islamic mosques against the old churches of old at ancient
Bethlehem. And all I saw made me realise that Bethlehem
 is broken as a free human community that has been shafted
 like so much of Palestine thesedays under Israel's bare
ironfist of Jewish state police and singular Hebrew
military. It pitiful, really!
*More Israeli Government Built Barricades
 Against A Free Palestine and Her People.
Bethlehem Street Scape.
PLO & Political Bethlehem: Arafat & Abbas.
Politically, all I found were banners and posters of the
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Such appears to
 be dominated by Muslims rather than Christians, who are
a growing minortiy inside Palestine and. of course, inside
 the whole of Israel.
Only one person was willing to talk to me about Palestinian
politics. He reserved his most critical comments about the
British, who he blamed for giving away to the Jews their home-
land of Palestine and thus robbing the Palestinans of their rightful
place and statehood.. He cusred the British for what they did
 leading upto the creation of the illegimate State of Israel in
1948. When I asked him what he thought of Tony Blair as the
Peace Envoy between Israel and Palestine, he could hardly
contain his hatred and comtempt against despised Blair as
he then spit on the street when I mentioned his vile name.
 "He's a paid mouthpiece of the Zionists," he declared
at almost choking on his own words against double-
dealing and deceitful-wheeling Tony Blair.
Asked what he thought about the creation of a Palestinian
State, he said it was too late to be peacefully-created
 without further bloodshed and violent reaction against
Israeli present oppressive policies under Israeli PM
Benjamin Netanyahu "fascist" Likud Party.
The Christian gentleman gave little hope of a peaceful
settlement of the Palestinian Question. "We shall rise again,
mark my words, against the tryants of Israel," he remarked
with his barely concealed anger. British-educated he was and
was in his early 70's and was imprisoned and tortured by
 the Israelis he told me.  I have no way, of course, of
confirming the truth of what he said. Although, I have
no reason not to believe him.
The Holy See's Pope Paul VI Mission At Bethlehem.
Early Evening Outside Bethlehem's Major New Mosque.
Disabled Muslim Street Peddler Across From Mosque.
Residential Bethlehem
Football Academy For Football Crazy
Youthz of Palestine! Good For Them ...
One of the few remaining British-built
Edifices At Broken Bethlehem.
Xmas & New Year At Broken Bethlehem.
Overall, my visit to Broken Bethlehem was a sore
eye-opener and the complete antithesis of a free and
open society. I am glad I wasn't born a Christian in
Bethlehem or have to live under the foul yoke of today's
Israeli Police State or the equally brutal Palestinian police.
My memory of Broken Bethlehem will not be mended
soon, although I am certainly pleased to have visited much
of Palestine and, of course, Bethlehem, too. Oddly 
enough, my Christain faith as an English Anglican has
 only been strengthened and not weakened by what I
saw at Bethlehem, at Jericho, at Ramallah, and at
 Hebron, and that all four of them stand inside Palestine
 of past centuries untold. Broken Bethlehem doesn't
 deserve its present-day fate and condition in the
 Name of the Good Lord and Our Saviour
Christ Jesus. Amen.
Truthfully, Uncle Monty.
+King Charles The Martyr, 2012.
My Mistake!!!
I made a mistake earlier in stating my need to attend
a cardiology appointment today, when such wasn't
due after all for today, but rather for tomorrow. So
there was no need for me to come back later today to
complete this latest story of mine of "Broken Bethlehem."
Nor did  I need to rush off now to a cardiology appointment
with my good British cardiologist. I shall also undergo
Phlebotomy (NOT Lobotomy) tests under his care.
In the meantime, I did leave you with some images of
Bethlehem that are not intended to be of the tourist kind,
 but rather of the 21st century depresssing city of
Christ's birth. It isn't very pretty or very religious as a
 Palestinian city for the average and informal Christian
 pilgrim like me, except at the churches now surround-
ed more by hostile Islam than healthy Christianity.
Feedback & Comments
Jerusalem Far From Golden
For the Homeless.
By Uncle Monty.
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Patriarchal Jerusalem.
By Uncle Monty.
Patriarchal Photos
By Alex Albion.
From the Wailing Synagogue of Saturday, I then
went the next day of Sunday to the Armenian
 Patriarchate's Cathedral of Sts. James at
the Eternal City of Jerusalem.
From Orthodox Rabbis, I then went to Orthodox
Christian Archpriests. From no music at the syna-
gogue, I then went to choral hymns of Orthodox
From the presence of no women inside the synagogue,
I then went to the cathedral packed with praying
ladies. From the deeply rabbinical atomsphere, I
then went to the ancient rites and liturgies and icono-
logies of the patriarchal eminence of His Beatitude,
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian II, Patriarch of
All-Jerusalem, giving his important ecclesiastical
and religious presence at the Solemn High Mass.
The Patriarch of All-Jerusalem,
His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian II.
The Armenian Orthodox Rite.
The three-hour long service of the archbishop's was highly
ritual with perhaps 10 other clergy assisting the him in the
 preparation of the Holy Eucharist. Berobed in his archie-
piscopal vestments of patriarchal signifiance and splendour,
 His Beatitude could at times be hardly seen thru the dense
 incense that prevailed like "holy fog" inside Jerusalem's
 Cathedral of Sts. James.
Throughout the service, folks just walked in and out almost
like it was a shopping centre instead of a House of Worship.
The Armenian priests and seminarians were mostly stiff
and unfriendly with their demands not to talk or to take
pictures. Much of what they demanded was pretty well
ignored by most worshippers and non-worshipper alike.
 When one of the priests started to remonstate with me
about taking photographs, I told him he must be silent
and not to talk loud as he had demanded earlier of me
and others. He looked at me like daggers, but he finally
 reckoned he needed to first shut his own mouth up
before constigating others. Frankly, some of the
Armenian seminarians looked more like thugs
than future men of the cloth.
Cloated Orthodox Priests In Attendence.
An Armenian Bishop.
The Episcopal Seal of the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.
The Armenian Patriarchate is one of the Holy Keepers of
 the Holy Places in the Holy Land that dates back from
the earliest times of Orthodox Christianity. "The Church
of Jerusalem was chronologically the first Church in his-
tory, and the first bishop of that Church was St. James,
called 'the Brother of the Lord" in the gospels. In AD
381, the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople accorded
 the honor fit to the See of Jerusalem equal to that of Rome
and Constantinople, so that the occupants of the See were
called 'Patriarchs.'" states the Armenian Patriarchate
 literature in English that I found available inside
the Cathedral.
Wide View of the Eternal City of Jerusalem.

Elsewhere At Jerusalem, A Greek Orthodox Priest.
After the Cathedral of Sts. James, I ventured the next day
to visit Jerusalem's Christ Church that is the oldest Pro-
testant Church in the Middle East.  It isn't Anglican for
 Christ Church had little semblance to Historic Angli-
canism. It was a mix of mild Wesleyanism and Evan-
gelicalism. I didn't attend any services there since I
wanted only to visit the church and its guesthouse
that is situated just across from the old Eternal
 City's Tower of David. See the image below
 of the interior of Christ Church's guest house.
At Jerusalem's Christ Church: The Oldest
Protestant Church in the Middle East.
Overall, I so enjoyed Religious Israel and not its politics
and seizure mentality that is seen everywhere inside the
Jewish State and especially with its outrageous injustice
and ill-treatment of the Palestinians. Visiting The Wailing
Wall was for me the real highlight of my Middle East trip.
I shall always remember, too, sitting inside the secret
Wailing Synagogue that for me as an English Anglican
was rare for a non-Jew to experience upfront like I
did.  My encounters inside Palestine was also a
journey of discovery for me, if not in a religious
sense then certainly in a social and political sense
for sure. Standing at Bethlehem was an affirmation
of my personal Christian faith, although the city
itself I found rather depressing with the Israeli
30ft high security barricades and gun towers.
Surely, Christ must cry!! I almost did ...
The Ever Present & Ever Ready Israeli
 Defense Forces (IDF) At Jerusalem.
I have now returned to complete this latest story of mine
- Patriarchal Jerusalem - at this morning after posting
the outline yesterday. I've been so tied up since
 getting back from the Middle East. So thankz for 
being patient with my original delay. I hope you
all have a good day, today ...
Faithfully, Uncle Monty.
+3rd Sunday After the Epiphany, 2012.
~ Church Brawl ~
On the same day I was in Bethlehem, the Christmas cleaning
of the Church of the Nativity turned into fistfights and scuffles
"between rival Christian clerics zealously guarding denomi-
national turf at the holy site," reported Associated Press.
"Brooms and fists flew inside the church, which marks the
birthplace of Jesus, as some 100 priests and monks of the
 Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches brawled.
Palestinian police rushed in with batons flailing to restore
order." No one was arrested, "Because all those involved
 were men of God," noted one of Palestine's top copz
Lt. Col. Khaled al-Tamimi.
Feedback & Comments
Bugger Off! By Uncle Monty.
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Rabbinical Jerusalem.
By Uncle Monty At Jericho.
Wailing Wall Photos By Alex Albion.
Part 1 of 2.
Standing just feet away from The Wailing Wall - or more formally
called The Western Wall - at the Old City of Jerusalem was a
profound and poignant experience for me as an English Anglican
 at Judaism's most Holy Religious site. I shall always remember
standing at The Wailing Wall.
Jerusalem is after all about as rabbinical as one can get at The
 Eternal City that also includes a deep and shared history and
 religious identity with the world's millions of Muslims and
Christians. Being in Jerusalem only helped me to strengthen
 my own Christianity while recognising Israel as the
ancestral home of the World Jewry.
A Panoramic View of Jerusalem's Wailing Wall.
Young & Old Jews Praying At The Wailing Wall.
The Inner Sanctum of The Wailing Synagogue.
The Sacred Torah At Jerusalem.
At Prayer Inside the Wailing Synagogue.
After Pentateuch & Saturday Sundown At Jerusalem.
Goldren Menorah At Wailing Wall.
Not only did I stand at The Wailing Wall in utter amazement
and respect, I was also privy to entering the secret Wailing
Synagogue at the far side of the Wailing Wall that few, if any
non-Jews, have witnessed first hand like me and who also
covertly photographed the rare interior scenes (with some
 of my photoshotz shown above) inside the secret archway
 as I wore a pure white skullcap, or more correctly a
yarmulk, as if I was in fact a devout Jew. Under
 Jewish law, a male must cover his head during
prayer and/or when entering the synagogue
Off To The Synagogue They Go!
What I saw was a Rabbinical Jerusalem that few outside
of Jerusalem or Israel have actually seen like I did. The
Torah, the prayers, the devotion, the spirituality, the
absolute Jewishness, and the abiding tradition of the
religious and Orthodox Jews was extraordinary and
completely fascinating to me. I sat inside the Wailing
Synagogue for a number of hours as I sat respect-
fully and silently watching and recording what I saw
 for the first time in my Christian life. Nobody asked
 me a thing and nobody said I shouldn't be there,
 although I'd half-expected one of the Rabbis or
Orthodox members to ask me who I was and
what I was doing there for they surely would have
known I was not a Jew let alone an Orthodox one.
With the occasional glance at me, they said nothing
and I said nothing so we got along just fine!! I felt
 privileged to sit inside the inner sanctum, if you
will, of deeply religious Judaism like I did. The
religious ignorant would be frightened or fretful
of such, while the religiously aware would delight
at witnessing at what I saw. Yes, indeed, I did!
Rabbi Moshe Zoller.
At The Wailing Wall and The Wailing Synagogue
no women were permitted and hence I saw not one!
Beyond that, Rabbinical Jerusalem is the affirmation
of the Jews in which their own unique identity and
special ancestry comes alive for them like no other
place on earth. Israel is where they belong and no-
body is going to take that away from them without
the last drop of Jewish blood being spilled for the
whole world to see.  But even at The Wailing Wall
armed undercover police agents stood guard for
fear of some outsider coming in to attack by force
those who pray at The Wall.  But no matter what,
Rabbinical Jerusalem will no doubt survive against
all odds and all foes.
Happily your's, Uncle Monty At Jericho.
+Vigil of St. Anthony, 2012.
Feedback & Comment
Patriarchal Jerusalem.
Coming Next in Part 2
By Uncle Monty.
"Demolition Homeless"
Inside Palestine.
By Uncle Monty.
Jerusalem The Golden.
Dear Friend Welcome To Israel.
"Israel - The Land of the Bible, at the crossroads of
three continents - Asia, Africa & Europe - and
a blending of east and west. Holy to three religions,
Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israel encompasses
sites of religious and historical significance with a
modern and vibrant country. The beauty of visiting
 Israel lies in its amazing diversity, cultures, sights and
 landscapes." The Notice At My Jericho Guest House.
Hand-Painted Wall At Jericho 10,000 Inside Palestine.
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Welcome 2012.

Welcome 2012 From Uncle
 Monty At Israel's Tel Aviv.
Gone now forever is 2011!
Welcome then to Happy 2012 as the New
Year arrived at Tel Aviv with hope of
better things to come inside Israel for all
 her people and all of the Middle East.
Read more from Uncle Monty: