A Great Honour To Be Able To Visit The Home Of A Christian Palestinian In The Old City Of Jerusalem

I came on vacation to see Israel and parts of the West Bank, treading the path of hundreds of thousands before me through scenery, history and religious sites, which I did. On the way I made many friends, one of which is the receptionist, Elias, who, out of the blue invited me to his home in the Old City of Jerusalem as he wanted to explain his situation as a Christian Palestinian. It was not only a visit a normal tourist would never do, but an honour for me to be asked by Elias.

Farook and Elias, receptionists at the 7 Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
Farook and Elias, receptionists at the 7 Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

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Once Elias’s shift had finished on the day of my previous post, we walked down the Mount of Olives and in through the Old City of Jerusalem to his home.

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He explained that his family of six, mother, father and 4 sons of working age lived in the same small top floor apartment in the Christian Quarter for well over 33 years (the age of Elias). There is basically a tiny bathroom, kitchen and living room where 4 sleep (used to be 6), eat off a coffee table, a TV and internet desk. Although cramped, his mother kept the apartment spotless.

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I was the second visitor outside the family who had visited their home in 3 years. What an honour !

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Only 2 sons were working in hotels, one of which has a physics degree but will never be employed in that field because he is Palestinian.

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A 3rd son was working as a bus driver and lost his job because the working conditions were unsuitable for him.

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The rent is very high, 3/4 of Elias’s salary. The prices of every thing here as shot up. Although things are difficult, their main worry is if one of the 2 brothers can’t work for some reason.

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None of the 4 sons have a wife on the horizon, so they all live at home with mum and dad in really cramped conditions.

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The Israeli government is in total control of their lives, documentation etc. The family is not free to do what most of us westerners can do. They support their brother & sister Palestinians in the prison of Gaza.

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The mother was very generous in feeding me. A coffee went down well. The family is basically surviving on a day to day basis, not knowing what future will be forced upon them. Thank you Elias and family for the memorable visit. I was honoured !

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Ralph xox ❀

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39 Comments on “A Great Honour To Be Able To Visit The Home Of A Christian Palestinian In The Old City Of Jerusalem

  1. Yes, how lovely to be invited like that – as you say, an honour. I hope Elias gets to read your post πŸ™‚

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    • Hi Wendy πŸ˜€ Yes. Elias has read the post already and was pleased with my write up of my visit. Back to Spain tomorrow. Ralph xox ❀

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    • Hi YC πŸ˜€ Yes. It was definitely a different and out of the ordinary experience. Ralph πŸ˜€

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  2. what a wonderful, strong, and loving family in spite of horribly challenging circumstances –

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    • Hi Beth πŸ˜€ A lovely family, but living on the edge must be so difficult for them. Ralph xox ❀

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  3. This is amazing, how the family sticks together and makes the most of it everyday. We Westerners are so spoiled. It must have felt amazing to be asked to visit them and see how their lives are. I bet something you will never forget.

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    • Hi Ute πŸ˜€ It is something i will never forget. I hope they stay safe and their life style improves. Thank you my friend. Ralph xox ❀

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  4. Thanks for showing us how this family lives, Ralph. You were very fortunate that they liked you enough to invite you to their home. Life must be very difficult for them.

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    • Hi Sylvia πŸ˜€ It must be awful for them living as they do. Tension is so high here with what’s going on in Gaza. There are so few tourists compared to when I first arrived. The hotel I am in is almost empty. The family has to stay here whereas I am lucky as I am leaving the hotel tonight. Ralph xox ❀

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      • I was the only one eating in the 200 seater dining room of the hotel tonight. There was no buffet as normal. The waiter asked me what I wanted and brought out a massive dish of chicken, chips and salad for me, enough to feed 100 people. The booking manager came and had a chat and she’s worried as she and other hotels in the region have had mass group cancellations today and groups here are going home early. I hope she stays safe. xox

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    • Hey Shey πŸ˜€ What a comment toy girl πŸ˜‰ Thanks. Ralph xox ❀

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  5. What an honour, Ralph. It’s beyond our experience, how some people have to live/exist in their countries. I could fit several of Elias’ family into my modest home. ❀

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    • Hi Yvonne πŸ˜€ Same here ! They would fit into my apartment very comfortably. Ralph xox ❀

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    • Hi Rene πŸ˜€ Yes, it is humbling to see how the family lives and the worries and fears they endure. I hope they will be okay if trouble really kicks off here. Ralph xox ❀

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    • Hi Gallivanta πŸ˜€ Yes, it was a special moment for me on my holiday which I will never forget. Ralph xox ❀

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  6. An honor indeed. Such a generous, beautiful family. Thank you for sharing this unique experience with us. And, sweetie, I love that shot of you in the third photo with the fabulous view as a backdrop. Outstanding! Big HUGS. ❀

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    • Hello Elizabeth πŸ˜€
      I totally agree with what you say about this lovely family. I hope they keep safe.
      Now about this third photo !! Why aren’t you sitting next to me ? πŸ˜‰
      Big hugs back. Ralph xox ❀

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  7. What an honor indeed.
    You indeed have a wonderful soul that it is felt wherever you go. This is why he felt comfortable inviting you over to visit his family & home.
    Thank you & thank you to Elias & his family for sharing a glimpse of their lives.
    God bless you one & all.
    xx Saludos y Abrazos xx

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    • Hi RoSy πŸ˜€ Your comment is full of your normal kindness and brilliance. Thank you so much my friend. I am back home now. Big hug. Ralph xox ❀

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  8. Wow! What ans eye opener! You were definitely honored to be invited, Thanks for going, and thanks for sharing! Resa xox

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    • Hi Resa πŸ˜€ You are very welcome. It was a different day on holiday, but worth the visit. Hugs. Ralph xox ❀

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    • Hi Lumar πŸ˜€ Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Hugs. Ralph xox ❀

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  9. Great post dear Ralph. I am happy for you that Elias invited you to his home. It is so important to see/show the “other side”….

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    • Hi Heila πŸ˜€ Thank you. Most people are wonderful and generous, well, we are all human after all. I am so pleased that you had that fleeting chance to meet Elias. Keep safe my friend. Hugs. Ralph xox ❀

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  10. Thank you for sharing this story with us Ralph; stories few people get to hear. It is important for this to be heard. These conditions the Palestinians live in are unacceptable. This loving family deserves more. May God bless them!

    We need to be informed of what’s going on.

    ❀ carmen

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    • Hi Carmen πŸ˜€ It is a pleasure to pass on what I experience. This family and possibly thousands more like them deserve a break. We, in the West, tend to tar ethnic groups with the same brush, but at the end of the day we are all human wanting the same standard of life. It’s just a few that are warlike and feed us with incorrect propaganda. Have a lovely week my friend. Ralph xox ❀

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      • Propaganda is right. I am pro-people and believe in fairness. Most people just want to live in peace and have a normal life, taking care of their families and raising their children. πŸ™‚

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  11. Yes you have to felt very honoured to have been invited by Elias and his so gentle family ! That was a great opportunity and experience to sea ” the question ” from another side and I hope that the other brothers will very soon find a good job for to can help their family ! πŸ™‚

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    • Hello Serach πŸ˜€ I totally agree with everything you say about Elias’s family. Hugs to you my friend. Ralph xox ❀

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