The Police, Mahane Yehuda, and Me

You may ask yourself, what do the police and the shuk Mahane Yehuda have in common with me?

A while back, I was at the Shuk in Jerusalem (Israelis refer to Mahane Yehuda simply as “The Shuk”) which means “shopping area” in Hebrew.  As I am accustomed to do, I had my camera with me on that fine day.   I photographed some of the stalls, and generally blended in to the atmosphere.

I took a photo of this Arab worker sitting on an empty stall.

Worker sitting on empty stall in Mahane Yehuda

Worker sitting on empty stall in Mahane Yehuda

Then, I panned my camera and took a photo of the shuk’s main road with my wide-angle lens.  Within 10 seconds, two policemen (whom you can see in the right corner of the photo) had confiscated my camera, asked to see my ID card, and were questioning me about my ‘suspicious’ activity.

I told them to relax and that I was doing an article for a newspaper in the USA.  Along with my strong American accented Hebrew, there was little to cause them further suspicion.  Then, they wanted to take the film in the camera since I had photographed them.   I then reasoned with them further that with such a wide-angle lens it would be hard to discern their faces, much less their identities.

After a few tense minutes, (the time it takes for a not-so-smart policeman in any country to understand an argument with logical reasoning), they returned my camera to me with the caveat that I could not photograph them anymore.  Once I had the camera back in hand along with my ID card, I jokingly told them that without some more photos of them, I wouldn’t be able to share with them the article I would be writing about the Shuk…  I never did get their names!

Enjoy the photo, i hope it was worth it…

Shuk Mahane Yehuda - The photo that caused a stir
The photo that caused a stir