Imagine a city that, during the course of its turbulent history, had been besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, conquered 44 times and had been destroyed twice. Imagine a city that through its history has suffered like not many other places in the world, yet adopted three major religions. When I was finishing The Countdown Trilogy I had not foreseen that with the third book, The Message, set precisely in that city, I would meet my Israeli publisher and friend, Mr Pierre Lavi. Pierre lives in the city that I have just described above.
To see and experience the Old City, its streets, squares, synagogues, churches and mosques is a feeling that is indescribable, which speaks mountains of the excitement I felt driving to it from the Ben Gurion Airport. Perhaps it was for this reason that I chose that the plot of this tense spy thriller takes place on the streets of Jerusalem, and I found myself, for a moment, caught up in the exciting role of the main character Martin, visiting many places in Jerusalem, of which I have to especially note the Wailing Wall and prayers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. While I described in the book the city which I had, until then, never seen in person, I could feel its timeless energy, the strength of faith that rises from all those temples that glorify our one and only mutual God. I concluded that Jerusalem had chosen me, and not the other way round. In fact, I had finished the third book, The Message, not even two years ago. And what a message this was for me! I believe that each of us has at least once experienced the invisible force connecting us so strongly and so suddenly to certain people, certain places. It is precisely the city of Jerusalem and my friend and publisher Pierre Lavi that have engrossed a significant part of my fate.
It's not hard to feel the Old City’s rich, often tragic history strolling through the streets, and it is precisely that history which surges through every stone with which the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem are paved. During my brief stay at the last international Jerusalem Book Fair I was able to take some time and fulfill a long time wish, to visit the Jewish, Christian and Muslim quarters with Pierre and my friends Jura and Petar. We also managed to see the Parliament of the State of Israel known as Knesset, the Presidential Palace and many other buildings and monuments. I can truly say that this city is very important for us all. Apart from adopting three major monotheistic world religions, this city is a monument to history and world civilization. It is truly magnificent to see so many people on the streets of the Old City, so many visitors from all over the world, so many believers.
This is actually the biggest significance for Jerusalem, which we can freely call the capital of the world. Its culture is as unique as its history. And what especially impressed me - so much prayer had left its mark on the streets that exudes such a magnificent timeless air, so difficult to grasp, yet so inspiring to many artists. And even though, unfortunately, from time to time we hear bad news from the Middle East, even from Jerusalem, it seems as if the city continues to live the life from which it is woven. Seeing it, seeing its synagogues, churches and mosques, that same feeling arises. God has planted his eternal city here, it is up to all of us to take care of it and to peacefully roam among our holy shrines in Jerusalem, respecting one another and in so doing respecting God himself.
God bless you all.