JTH Blog

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Jerusalem's Old City Blues

Just back from a nearly 2-week sojourn in Jerusalem accompanied by my daughter. An overall impression? While Israel’s largest city thrives, the old walled city – historic Jerusalem – lags behind.

Talking to shopkeepers, business is down. The random attacks of late 2015 reinforced the sense of the Old City as unsafe – a perception that has carried forward to today. With the possible exception of the Jewish cardo, the Old City feels, well, just dated! Not hip. And the uncertainty created by Trump hangs over all - even Israel. 

What' to be done? Well, probably not much – at least near term. Longer term, some ideas to think about might include more public open space, possible people mover, shifting from retail to infotainment, more nighttime dining, hostels and boutique lodging, and better packaging of Old City trip experiences - not just the old stale stand-alone destinations.