under the surface

unnamedAt first glance the Jaffa street shopping district seems like a typical outdoor commercial area found in cities all over the world. A pedestrian only zone filled with stores selling fashion accessories and cheap trendy clothes, cafes with seating spilling onto the sidewalk, and various performers peppering the streets with their musical stylings. Upon further inspection details reveal the political tension that permeates the city of Jerusalem. Head coverings such as kippahs, and hijabs indicate religion, gender, ethnicity, and marital status are on display side by side in the sea of humanity that roams Jaffa center. The compound of sides isn’t all butterflies and rainbows though. In addition to musicians, public demonstrations and large and sometimes violent gatherings frequent these city blocks. In support of the police force, soldiers are often posted with loaded automatic weapons slung over their shoulders, with the occasional the riot control team. Violent outbursts are not common, but more often the stress buzzes just under the surface like a background static with unknown origin. Jaffa center is the micro view of the tension in Jerusalem as a result of the astriction of political and historical foes in the same city.

 

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