Opening of Jerusalem’s new Luna Park, says an advertisement in the Palestine Post, has been deferred pending completion of the ferris wheel.
What a curious train of thought arises from the announcement that this city, breeding place of more history than perhaps any other in the world, is to have a Luna Park!
Somehow the idea at first glance seems indecently frivolous. Jerusalem, we always have felt, is meant to be the scene of ponderous events. In her lap this mother-city has fondled and nurtured the world’s three most important religions. Plot and counter-plot, bloodshed, an age-old heritage of misunderstanding â€” these have been the lot of the Holy Land’s chief city.
And now we are told Jerusalem is to have a Luna Park. Twentieth century entrepreneurs, to whom nothing is sacred, have decided that even this birthplace of countless sorrows may have its lighter moments, and they mean to capitalize on them.
Had there been a Luna Park a couple of thousand years ago, history might have taken a different course.
When Christ was contemplating preaching his sermon on the Mount, his disciples might have said to him:
“You’ll have to put it off for the time being. You’d never be able to raise an audience. Everyone spends all his spare time out at Luna Park these days.”
We can picture the Bedouin of tomorrow, riding in from the desert to search for his wandering son.
“What are things coming to?” he wails. “Here I have a rich caravan all lined up for a raid, and that low-life son of mine leaves me in the lurch! A special costume dance at Luna Park tonight, he tells me! Before you know it he’ll be settling down in one place and earning his living honestly, like these foreign good-for-nothings.”
Into the park stalks the indignant Bedouin, bent on recapturing the headstrong youth and leading him back into the desert by force, if necessary.
“Ov-ah he-ah! Ov-ah he-ah!” shrieks the barker for the “cootch” show. “See the famous fan dance, as done originally at the Chicago World Fair by Sally Rand! Right this way, folks!”
The angry Bedouin suddenly feels someone tugging at his robe. It is one of the girls in the show.
“My sheik!” she giggles. “Come on inside and we’ll show you some stuff that’ll make the sands of the desert look cold.”
Five hours later, in the topmost car of the revolving ferris wheel, the Bedouin sits scratching his chin through his beard, looking out over the Holy City and musing over the march of time.
“Maybe that kid has more sense than his old man, after all,” he says to himself with a contemplative chuckle.
At the entrance gate to the roller coaster is a large sign in flamboyant red letters:
“Zionist Revisionists and Laborites will please occupy different cars, to avoid unnecessary accidents.”
One of the most popular spots in the park is the shooting gallery. It is divided into several separate sections.
“Step over here, you Arab spies!” shouts the come-on man at one of the stands. “Every target on this range is an illegal Jewish immigrant!”
For both the Arab and Jewish laborers, of course, there is the Orange Grove Owners Section, where the workmen may vent their spleen on the effigies of their employers.
Through the park marches a motley welter of humanity. Almost every creed, race and color is represented. German Jewish refugee stands in line behind devout Mohammedan, each awaiting his turn to enter the House of Fun. To the uninitiated the mingling of Oriental and Western garb gives the place the appearance of a costume pageant.
One little fellow, trotting along at his father’s heels, has never been in an amusement park before. Each new sight claims his rapt attention. But most fascinating of all is the merry-go-round, with its bouncing horses and its hurdy gurdy music.
“What’s that thing, Daddy?” he asks, pointing to the revolving device.
“That,” says his wiser elder, “is the merry-go-round, a mechanism invented by the British government to symbolize its attitude toward Jewish immigration in Palestine. In some countries, where the thing is operated by nanual means, it is also known as the run-around.”
A. J. B.