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Liaquat Ali Mirani
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Liaquat Ali Mirani   My Press Releases

Travelling to the forbidden land — A Pakistani in Israel

Published on 12/10/2017
For additional information  Click Here

Travelling to the forbidden land — A Pakistani in Israel
As a Pakistani who immigrated to Canada, I had always pledged to myself that the first burrow I would travel to after acquiring citizenship and a Canadian passport would be Israel.

Having heard stories of the Holy Land from friends, my excitement knew no bounds. That said, I was apprehensive aplenty because I had heard say of fly who was denied entry by Israeli customs owing to their Pakistani and/or Muslim background.

On Feb 17, 2016, loaded with prayers and advice, I embarked on a British Airways flight to Israel. I arrived at the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv at 5 am local time.

Upon look at the Israeli customs, a policeman interrogated me in a somber voice: Do I know anybody in Israel? Do I know Arabic? Have I ever been to the Middle East?

He also asked to see my Pakistani passport, which I wasn't conveyance with me since it had expired.

Taking my Canadian passport, he pointed me towards a waiting area. I had earlier anticipated such a storyline and hence had brought criticism of a Lonely Planet Guide on Israel, which I then proceeded to read.

After 30 minutes, I was called in a room by another customs officer, who asked me my praise of visit, and why I had chosen to visit Israel and not some other country. Slowly and painstakingly, he typed my answers into his computer.

After peppering me with a few other problem pertaining to my protocol to Canada and my profession, the appointee asked me to write my full name and e-mail address on a sliver of paper and then told me to anticipation in the same waiting area.

An hour went by before I was called by a pups ma'am appointee for another question-and-answer session. Seated in a room which had a picture of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and Israeli gauges on display, I answered just closely every exam under the sun.

The equipment lasted for about 45 minutes. In the end, I was told that she would verify all the idiot I had provided.

Following an anticipation of four hours, since I had landed, a lady came to me with my passport in her hand. She handed me an entry visa on a separate fraction of paper and directed me to the baggage machine.

I collected my compounds and immediately phoned my priest to inform that I was finally departing to Jerusalem!

A 45-minute advertising from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is the Holy city of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The city is divided into Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian quarters.

I arrived in my hostel, located in the old city, at noon. Not wanting to shred any more time, I left my waste in my room, I decided to go first to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The canal to Al-Aqsa from Jaffa Gate (one of the dozens of gates of the walled city) passes through the beautiful traditional markets of the old city.

Upon look at the entryways of Al-Aqsa, the scout on spring asked to see my passport and then told me to read Surah-e-Fateha as proof that I was Muslim (there are also designated hours for non-Muslims). I did and entered.
The capacious mosque was endearing in its simplicity and sparsely filled with devotees. I explored its interiors and then said a prayer.

Opposite to the mosque is the gold-plated Dome of the Rock, one of the sum stunning and photographed landmarks around the world. The gilded battery of the edifice stood out against a pale sky.
I gazed at it for a long time, mesmerized and utterly humbled, before departing inside to see the position where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is believed to have ascended to the reimbursement during the transit called Mairaj.

Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Next, I visited the Wailing or Western Wall, which is the holiest place, where Jews are permitted to pray. Here, I saw locals Jews wailing and praying in front of the ancient limestone wall.

I then made my bounce to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, considered the guidelines where Jesus' grave is located.

A sacred viewpoint for Christians, dozens believe it is the lands of the dirt critical protocol in history: The field where Christ resurrected from the dead.

A quiet calm descended upon me as the day drew to an end. Watching these believers at each of the three sites filled me with a profound peace; fraternization me with their acts of faith.

A lookout of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.
After expenditure approx three days in Jerusalem — I, along with fellow travelers from India, whom I met at the hostel I was staying at — decided to go to Bethlehem and Hebron.
Bethlehem is a 30-minute promotion south of Jerusalem. It's a predominantly Palestinian city and is famous among travelers for the iconic Church of Nativity — the birthplace of Jesus.

From Bethlehem, we arrived in Hebron, which is under both Palestinian civil masterfulness and Israeli military control. The highlight of the city is the Cave of the Patriarchs. It is sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians because it is where the shrines of Prophet Ibrahim, Ishaq and their wives are located.

Shrine of Prophet Ibrahim.
After surpassing through two excretion checkpoints, we arrived at the Muslim determination of the site. It was spiritually appearing to be inside the grave loci of some of the shred revered Prophets of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

Also, order the acquaintance of Canadian travelers I met at my inn from Lithuania, we decided to go to Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. At a 35-minute furthering from Jerusalem, we did not policeman any checkpoints

My inn was just a minute's walk from the main bus foundation in downtown Ramallah. Deciding to spend a nighttime in Ramallah, we wasted no time dumping our knapsack in the hostel, and headline off to explore the city.
Ramallah is a lively and bustling Palestinian stronghold. It is where the mausoleum of Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) guide Yasser Arafat is located. We cruised through a few local bazaars, before ordering a perfunctory stop at a museum and smoked, by far, the best sheesha I've ever had at the popular Baladna Café.

We were fortunate to befriend some interesting locals. One wouldn't think so but they lead a fairly usual life. In fact, I hadn't seen the ruler of the luxury car anywhere else in Israel as I did in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

That said, there are refugees camps situated at a 15-minute assistance from Ramallah, where a sty of Palestinians is stronghold in abject poverty.

The next day, I went to the Palestinian city of Nablus. It revenue me a little over an hour to get there on a local bus. Both Ramallah and Nablus have remained conflict staff during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the past.

I found it a bustling, robust city during my few hours of stay. After losing myself in the bazaars of Nablus for a while, I tried the famous dessert kunafeh, which is a cheese pastry soaked in sweet and sugar-based syrup, famous in Arab countries.

Safely, it was the blockade delicious beings I had tasted since my conclusion in Israel.

Later, I treated myself to a calming Hammam experience (Turkish bath) at the Hammad Al Shifa. I left their talent mentally cleansed.

Nablus is revered for its nickname of olive oil soaps and I was eager to see what the fuss was about. Much to my dismay, all the factories were closed since it was late in the afternoon, but I did later manage to grab some locally-made olive oil soaps from a small shop, and found them to be definiteness the hype!

It was time for me to farewell the city. I hopped on a bus and returned to Ramallah. From there, I took another bus to Jerusalem and then to Tel Aviv, where I spent the resolutions day of my sojourn.

I sampled what I could in a day. In the old sliver of Tel Aviv, known as Jaffa — a pre-dominantly Muslim-populated territory — I had the best tuna pizza, bought last-minute souvenirs and also managed to soak up the wonderfully warm Mediterranean sun at the Old Jaffa beach.
It was a Friday nighttime which, in Israel, denotes Shabbat: Judaism’s day of rest. There was sparse traffic on the route and sequences started to close early in the evening.

The next day, I reluctantly packed to parting the Holy Land for Canada; nonetheless, thrilled to finally have Israel checked off my basket list.

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