The “Tayelet” (The Promenade) – how a simple walk can involve the whole of the Middle East

210!   210!!!

“Are you sure, I asked my Family Doctor? It can’t be 210, I don’t eat meat anymore, Emek cheese is nothing like good Cheddar and “she who must be obeyed” makes a wicked vegetable soup on a regular basis”.

“Your Cholesterol is 210, go and get some exercise before I put you on some Lipitor-ish sort of tablet!”

…….and so I find myself walking, early in the morning, three times a week, with some good friends to try and calm my GP down ( I am completely calm, of course). You know the Tayelet- otherwise known alternatively as the Sherover/Hass/Goldman promenade, (3 names for one tayelet – that’s another story). The ridge, in Southeast Jerusalem, that overlooks the most beautiful view in the World, in my humble opinion. I know, we could now start another competition for the “best view in the World award”, involve the Ministry of “we are wonderful in Israel” Affairs, get the Evangelists on our side , the Likud, of course and really put up a fight…….

I digress – I’m the one walking and it’s round the corner to my humble abode, so take my word that it’s a wonderful view …. please.

Anyway, I’ve been walking quite a bit recently and I have begun to reflect how an hour’s walk along the Tayelet can encompass almost all the issues that are current in the Middle East. Politics, Foreign Policy, Religion, Security, Nature, Ecology, Culture, Geology, Climate. It’s quite amazing; it’s all there, as well as in my fevered imagination. I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts, as I improve my health, about some of these burning issues.

Let’s start with………….Geology! Politics and religion can wait, I want to share with you some of the views that my stalwart friends and myself see as the cholesterol melts away (210, 209, 208….).

Well, we’ve just done a circle of the UN Headquarters, heading east towards the view of Jordan and the Dead Sea. There you go; even in one sentence about Geology I’ve already talked Foreign Policy (UN Headquarters), Ecology (Dead Sea) and Politics (a new Jewish suburb in the heart of Jebel Mukaber, an Arab village that can be seen on the way).

I won’t be distracted!

As we round the corner the sun is just rising above the Edom hills of Jordan (told you we start early) and it’s a truly wonderful sight. Jordan seems so close and the view of the Dead Sea is quite magnificent, even if by all accounts we won’t be able to see it in a few years due to the lack of rain (here I go again -Climate) and diverting the Jordan river for drinking water (Foreign Policy AND Politics!).

At this point looking over the view, one friend, let’s call him “S” (Security keeps me from telling his real name) starts skipping and my other friend, “J” tries for the umpteenth time to touch his toes. Their cholesterol is fine and I decide that a discussion about how the Dead Sea could be saved will definitely get me down to 207! They trot on, leaving me contemplating the desert, the Sea and Jordan. Next stop… the tolerance monument and the man who walks backwards….. but I will explain all and introduce you to some other characters (both Human and otherwise) when we meet again next week.

By the way, you’re all welcome (6.30 at the car park, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday) – Politics, Foreign Policy, Religion, Security, Nature, Ecology, Culture, Geology and Climate permitting!!


Harley Goldstone