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Collective embrace for the city

by ben June 19 2008
Things to do


Many argue that the Middle East conflict is essentially an existential struggle between peoples and that end games are the only way out. Others try to oversimplify the situation by focusing on the potential for historic compromises in the hands of diplomats. But a third category believes that the squares out there need to stop dragging us all down, man.

If only Jerusalem could get together for one big group hug, these people might say, the spreading of love might just make our problems seem all the more manageable. As one local Rainbow leader once put it, "We need a lovernment – not a government!"

Last year, some 2000 people (considered by some to be a generous estimate) convened in the area of Jerualem's Old City in order to participate in The Big Hug, which started out in the area of Sultan's Pool and made its way around the various Old City gates. Aside from hand-holding and collective embracing, there were speeches by outside-the-box clergy, meditation sessions and – you guessed it – a drum circle.

Now The Big Hug's organizers, a group called Lovers of Jerusalem, are gearing up for 2008's incarnation, set to take place this Tuesday. The proceedings begin when all huggers convene at 16:00 in three clusters: at Dung Gate, at Habonim Park near Jafa Gate and at Palm Tree Park near Damascus Gate.

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