Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stamps taken at Allenby Bridge

Since I was eight years old I have collected stamps and even as an adult I published Al’s Stamp Exchanger for those who had a desire to swap with people from other countries. At one time I had people from over 100 countries that had sent me 100 different stamps from his country to get their name placed in the publication. Needless to say I built a large collection with a whole wall full of albums, etc.

Because my job in the early 70’s took me to many places overseas one of the first places I would go was to the post office and buy their commemortive stamps for a year or whatever they had. Soon I had souvenier sheets and books of a given year from many countries.

On a trip to Egypt and Isreal I bought large packages of stamps of each country and was happy to have gotten such a large variety from each and was especially happy with those I bought in Israel. Well, my flight back home was from Amman, Jordan (A Hashemite Kingdom) and I would have to cross the Allenby Bridge that was manned by the armies of both countries.

(The Allenby Bridge is a truss type bridge that crosses the Jordan River connecting Jericho, Palestine (the Israeli West Bank) to the country of Jordan. The bridge was destroyed during the Six-Day War but replaced in 1968 with a bridge called both the Allenby Bridge and the Jesr Al-Karameh, King Hussein Bridge. The bridge was named after the British general, Edmund Allenby. The bridge is a major crossing point for Palestinians crossing into Israel.)

After passing customs at the Israeli side I re-boarded the bus and crossed the bridge into Jordon where I had to go through their entrance point and customs. They began to open all my suitcases and bags taking out certain items and looking at each thoroughly. Then they took the package of Israeli stamps and tossed them into a waste basket. It took me by surprise and I burst out with “I am a stamp collector and want to keep them”. The officer’s answer was “we don’t recognize Israel as a country and do not let anything with that name on it enter our country.” Soon a number of other gifts I had bought were thrown in the same basket because it said Made in Israel. All of a sudden I remembered that the Israeli customs had stamped my passport on a loose blank sheet and told to leave it loose in my passport. It too was tossed.

After getting home I discovered there had been a declared war between the two countries for quite some time which helped me understand my lost.

When I remember this event I remember the heavy arms on both side of this bridge directed to each other and feel blessed I was spared my life.

When I sold my huge collection a few years ago the country that I had the least amount of early stamp issues was Israel.

We live in a time when conflicts, and countries that do not recognize each other still exists, but one day when life, nations, and conflicts cease we have a land where a holy God is in full control and all is bliss.

Rev. 21:4
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

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