So as I said in yesterday's post about living overseas and the feeling of childhood regression, I miss a lot of social and political context clues that would be obvious in similar contexts in the United States. Here's a very recent example.
Last night, I went to a couple of pro-peace rallies in Jerusalem. One was sponsored by Meretz (the left-wing mostly Jewish party) and took place in front of the prime minister's house, and the other was sponsored by some coalition of left-wing groups and took place in a public square. In both instances, the areas surrounding the rallies were blocked off with security fences, and there was an intense police presence. I thought nothing of it; there's lots of security at every event and public place here. You have to go into a metal detector to enter most malls, even. Despite the security, however, the long-term expats that I met at the rally seemed unsettled. I chalked it up to the tense situation here and ignored it.
This morning, I learned the reason for both the security at the rally and the unsettled feelings among attendees. Apparently, these types of pro-peace, leftist rallies have rarely, if ever, had security in the past. The impetus for security at these rallies was apparently the fear of violent attacks by Jewish right-wing extremists. It's unclear whether there was a specific threat against the rallies or if there was just general concern given the growth in the prevalence of extreme right-wing sentiment here and a recent history of attacks on left-wing events, but regardless, the fear led to both increased security and an unsettled mood among attendees. It turned out to be at least somewhat warranted; I left the rally before it ended, but I heard that a bunch of right-wingers aggressively confronted the attendees as they left. Fortunately, I don't think the confrontation turned violent.
I wandered into a somewhat dangerous situation with very little idea of the potential risks. Like I said: I'm basically a child here.