I don't know if there is any relationship between these three groups: Cats, Soldiers, and Orthodox Jews, but Jerusalem has lots of each of them. The cats are running around the streets, apparently free to roam and eat mice wherever they please. The soldiers also walk wherever they please or at least wherever their commander tells them to go. I've seen many, many soldiers either by themselves or alone, and most of them have a gun in their hand. The gun is no different than their purse or book bag. They sling it over their shoulder, and where they go the gun goes with them. At the museum today they had a window for people to check in their guns before they went inside. We have coat checks. The Israelis have gun checks. Actually the Israelis have very nice rooms to check your coats or bags as well. And this is the first place I have seen a gun check room. The comparison to carrying a purse is not so far off track. All Israeli young people have to serve two years in the military, and there are both male and female soldiers. My son, David, recently wrote a paper advocating some form of post high school mandatory service for all young people in the United States (not necessarily in the military, but in some sort of civic duty). I like the idea. I think it would be beneficial to our country and to our young people. The Orthodox Jews catch my attention because we just don't have them in Iowa, and they stand out in their black and white clothes with their heads always covered.
Addendum: Yes, I took this photo, and in fact all of the photos I've used in Israel. I told the soldier I liked his gun, and asked if I could take his picture. He was willing, so there we have it.