Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kojak the Camel Gets Tied Up in Jerusalem Bureaucracy

If you're looking forward to a ride on the back of Kojak, the camel who gives rides and photo-ops to tourists visiting the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, you may be in for a wait.

In the June issue of Chelm-on-the-Med Online, Daniella Ashkenazy reports:
Is there anyone who has visited Jerusalem who hasn’t encountered the camel that waits patiently for tourists just outside the Old City’s Dung Gate and poses for pictures on the promenade above the Mount of Olives?
Well, one day the camel (whose name is Kojak) vanished into thin air. Overzealous municipal workers, it turned out, had “arrested” the camel, taking him into custody, warning the animal was not just a tourist trap but a danger to the public.
Not only was the beast missing a valid rabies shot, said city hall, officials claimed that because the owners, Nassar and Ali Abu Alwa, offered rides along the Old City walls the camel needed third-party insurance like any vehicle.
The religious student’s organization Youth for Jerusalem mounted a campaign to intervene on behalf of the Jerusalem icon, but so far they have been unable to find an insurance company willing to issue a third-party policy to a Libyan camel.

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