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Ramle – a city of the world

CM 18/09/2021


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When you think about where to take a family trip on Sukkot, I’d bet that Ramle is not on the top of your list. But after spending a day there, it really should be.
Ramle used to have a reputation for crime and drugs, but the city has worked hard to fight that image and open new tourist attractions. There are about 80,000 residents, two-thirds of whom are Jewish and one-third Arab. The riots in May, during the last conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which spread to mixed Arab-Jewish cities, came to Ramle as well. But Mayor Michael Vidal insists that the rioters were not from the city but came from other places to make trouble.
“After two days I went to all of the places where there were tensions and I met with residents on all sides,” he said in a meeting with visiting journalists. “At one point, some Jews said, ‘let’s burn the mosque,’ and I said ‘you will have to kill me before I let you burn the mosque,’ and after two days everyone wanting to make trouble went home and everything calmed down.”

The centrally located city has something for everyone – religion, history, huge trucks kids can climb on and into, art and really good food, thanks to immigrants from 62 countries who have made this city their home.
On Sukkot there is an annual festival under the title “Ramle – A City of the World,” which will include free concerts by some of the country’s top performers including Nasrin Kadri, Eden Ben Zaken, and the Revivo Project. For the kids there are shows throughout the city. For more information go to http://ramle-festival.co.il/.
Whether or not you go to Ramle with children, don’t miss the Truck and Transport Museum, which is free, although reservations are recommended. There are dozens of different types of trucks, some dating back to the early years of the state. Kids (and adults) are encouraged to climb into and onto the trucks. There is one huge truck where a person can easily fit inside the wheel, which was used in the construction industry. Another turquoise truck was the vehicle used to transport Adolf Eichmann’s ashes to be scattered at sea.
There are also pedals cars that seat four kids, so they can ride around the area. Just be warned – your kids won’t want to leave. We met several exasperated parents who had been at the museum for hours and couldn’t get their kids to leave.
If religion is your thing, don’t miss a visit to the Great Mosque of Ramle, which is also the largest and most complete Crusader church in the country. Ron Peled, the head of the Tourism Department for the Ramle Municipality, says the church, built in the 12th century, is believed to be the first that has Gothic arches. It became a mosque in 1268 when the Mamluks arrived in the Holy Land. Today the large mosque has beautiful carpets, and a stone platform for the Friday sermon. The “qibla,” which points in the direction of Mecca, is also worth seeing.
If art is your thing, there is a great exhibit of modern Bedouin photographs by some of Israel’s leading photographers at the Ramle Museum. While the museum is currently undergoing renovation, the new modern art gallery is open and the photographs are stunning.
But the most famous tourist attraction in the city, and one you absolutely can’t miss, is the Pool of the Arches, a water reservoir built in 789 CE. That year is chipped into the foundation. The reservoir survived several earthquakes, and today you can navigate around it in rowboats, a fun activity for everyone.
While you row around the almost square pool with its stone arches, you can watch a stunning new light show of flowers and other images projected on the walls. The images are colorful and stunning and make the attraction truly special. But please take note that there are 50 steps down to the reservoir and no elevator, although Mayor Vidal says one will be built soon.
Then there is the food. Because immigrants to Ramle came from so many countries, there are dozens of ethnic restaurants. You can also take a culinary tour of the shuk, the covered fruit and vegetable market that also hosts many restaurants.
We started at Haim’s Tunisian Sandwiches with a taste of a traditional Tunisian sandwich with tuna, hard-boiled eggs, preserved lemons and optional spicy sauce. We moved on to Paprika, trying spicy but delicious samosas and chickpea flour with spiced potatoes inside. They came with a green curry sauce.
Next was a tasting of cheese and smoked fish at the Carmel Salad stand. I even bought some lakerda, a bonito fish that is pickled and popular in Greece and Turkey for the meal after Yom Kippur. Last but not least were piping hot burekas with cheese, potato or spinach served with homemade pickles and olives and washed down with fresh lemonade. Prices, by the way, are significantly less than the market in Jerusalem.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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