Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Temple Mount Gaming

As I am technically-challeneged, I don't quite grasp the mechanics but it sounds interesting:

Disputed Territories: Nice Jewish Girl Claims Foursquare Mayorship of Temple Mount

Jews and Arabs and the occasional Roman have held competing claims to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, otherwise known as the Noble Sanctuary, for several millennia...The site is controlled by the Israeli government and administered by an Islamic council. And the Mayor? As of this writing, that would be Ariela Ross, a 24-year-old "4Sq fiend" and "political and cultural advocate," as she is described on her Twitter page. On Foursquare, the location-sharing app, she is also Mayor of the Damascus Gate, the Christian Quarter, Dr. Calderon's Dental Office and a number of local watering holes, including Jabotinsky, Egon, Madness and Paparazzi. She holds 43 mayorships in all.

...Sharon Udasin detailed the Foursquare battle between Ross and other early adopters in Israel. The application seems to have relatively few users there—which explains how Ross captured the Mayorship of the Al-Aqsa mosque with just nine check-ins.

Ross, editor of a geek culture website called Walyou, says she discovered Foursquare when she lived in San Francisco and uses it to "see who's in the area and what there is to do." When she returned to Jerusalem in September, she decided to become mayor of as many of her favorite haunts as possible...
Jewish law expressly prohibits Jews from walking on the Temple Mount, due to the possibility of treading on the remains of the ancient Temple, though many nonreligious Jews do visit the site (Ariel Sharon famously went there shortly before the beginning of the Second Intifada).

"I'm bad," Ross said of having broken the rule. She visited the mosque at the invitation of the mother of a Muslim boyfriend, a Bedouin Israeli, but she admitted that many of her check-ins were not strictly from within the mosque itself. "Usually I'm sitting right outside of it," she said, "but I didn't see any reason to create a new location" on Foursquare.

..."It's not about religion or politics for me," Ross said. "It's just the technological realm. I could imagine, if they make a version in Arabic and Hebrew, people maybe wondering, 'How is it possible this Jewish girl is mayor of Al-Aqsa?' But I'm kind of an anomaly. I have a lot of types of friends—Arabs, religious Jews, soldiers, priests..."

Despite being "very open-minded socially," however, Ross—who is above draft age but still applied and "would drop everything" to serve, considers herself right-of-center when it comes to defense. "I'm cool with everybody but don't mess with my nation. As long as you don't try to kill me or my people, I'm okay with you."

Asked whether she'd relinquish her Al-Aqsa mayorship if Muslims objected, she said, "They can just take it from me. If they go there often enough and join the website and check in, let them have it. But I'm not going to just give it up just because someone has a problem with it. My Muslim friends aren't offended. They laugh.

...Ross admitted to some minor fudging. She said her personal rule is that if she visited a location before she obtained a data plan, it seemed kosher to check in later. As to her disputed Al-Aqsa check-ins, she said she has a lot of friends on the police force in the Old City. "I can pretty much get into any location I want to at any hour, because of the people I know."

Interestingly, there's no word yet on whether the Israel Defense Forces have gotten hip the new application...

Well, now, any players?

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