Today we leave Jerusalem with its noise, contrasts, intensity, and press of people. But before we do, I feel compelled to say something about walls. Of course, they are everywhere, with the city streets being so narrow and everyone living on top of one another. No walls are more beautiful and impressive than those of the Old City, constructed of white/gold lime stones, some of which date to the first century. When the sun hits the walls, the reflection of light can be blinding. The massive walls were built to protect the city from marauding antagonists and they look impenetrable. Ironically though, the walls have either been destroyed or moved several times throughout history.

There is another set of walls that are very new, however. They are made of concrete, are 30-feet high, and were thrown up quickly. Somehow they also look impenetrable. I am referring to the separation barriers between Palestine and Israel proper. We have heard the arguments for (Israel has a right to protect itself and the wall allows them to sleep better at night) and against (the wall is built on Palestinian land, not Israeli, and it is crippling the Palestinian economy/spirit, creating a kind of apartheid state).

Nothing compares to the shame I feel when I see it. We were taken to a spot just outside Bethlehem where the wall is constructed on three sides of the same house. It seems cruel and disproportionately punitive. I am embarrassed that more than three billion of U.S. tax dollars a year goes to Israel in support of policies like this. You just have to see it to believe it.

The U.S. is building a wall along the Mexico/U.S. border, but at least it is on our own land.