As we quickly became aware, Israel is a country that is ever vigilant, prepared to defend itself against its surrounding enemies at all times. Once they turn 18, all Israeli Jewish men and women (with some exceptions for religious reasons) are required to serve in the Israeli Defense Force for two or three years, with reserve service continuing until the age of about 45. Members of the IDF almost always keep their weapons and equipment at hand, and it is not unusual to see armed soldiers taking the bus back to base from weekend leave. In Jerusalem, there is a mingling of the IDF, the Israeli Police, and the Preventive Security Service of the Palestinian National Authority.
We were amazed to encounter this outdoor fountain in the old city, since water is so precious here. But it is a beautiful work of art--a "kinetic sculpture," if you will--and testifies to the people's ability to overcome difficulties while continuing to hope for a better future.