OK, so maybe I exaggerated in the headline, but not by much. Unfortunately the Jerusalem municipality doesn't have very accurate tourism statistics (ok, they have no statistics at all!), but a fair leap to say that Jerusalem did not get much more than 1 million tourists in 2007.
And the former Auschwitz Death Camp , which today is a Polish government run "museam," collects tickets at the "door," and they know exactly how many people visited: "a record number visited....more than 1.2 million in 2007." According to museam spokespeople, the biggest group came from Poland itself (many Polish schools today require students to visit Auschwitz).
It will take me some time to process this, but immediately what I thought when I saw this headline is to think that the real living Jerusalem has to compete with a former death camp for tourists...
Some more food for thought: on the holiest day (or at least the most celebrated) of the Christian calendar, Christmas, the grand total of tourists visiting the birthplace of Jesus (Bethlehem, about ten minutes from house by bicycle) was...around 22,000. And see here for how proud the Israeli foreign ministry was about that!
While I could go on about the culture of death, and the negation of life in favor of a worship of persecution, I will not. I simply would like to hope and pray that 2008 will bring peace to Jerusalem the living, and many more tourists celebrate life. Amen.