At an outdoor mall in Jerusalem this summer, I felt as if I were in a place of limbo. The mall begins just steps from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, and extends northwestward, into the western part of the city.
Let me explain.
Officially, the Palestinians are asking for a state, with its capitol in eastern Jerusalem. I believe the Israelis have a couple times offered part or all of the Temple Mount, not terribly far from Jaffa Gate.
That makes all this territory terribly volatile. No doubt such seemingly mundane places as outdoor malls would become disputed territory, or at least dangerous areas (the whole city was a battle-zone in 1948).
Yet…as I strolled through this gorgeous gauntlet of high-end stores, I saw something that made me laugh. At various places along the mall, a local artist had placed his biblical-scene sculptures. They are quite beautiful and striking.
Outside a lingerie store, however, I noticed one of these sculptures…Samson and Delilah. Now, most of us know at least the bare details of this story: beauty seduces man of strength and betrays him.
I literally stood there and laughed. Surely the sculpture was placed there strategically. Perhaps it wasn’t. All I know is that it offered a much-needed laugh in a place that has seen too many tears for too long.