What you did not see in Jerusalem this week

The Real Jerusalem Streets was started because what was reported in the media was not what I saw every day walking around the Jerusalem streets.

So what was happening in Jerusalem that did not make the international headlines?

Eight months into a war – this week in Jerusalem, Israel.

Buildings in Jerusalem are rising higher, as seen from the Nefesh BeNefesh Campus at Cinema City.

Road construction is challenging as one never knows what will be open or closed.

At NBN the audience was filled with young adults at the evening session of a financial conference on Sunday night. Seeing all the English-speaking Olim asking questions and learning how to live financially smarter lives in Israel was an impressive way to begin the week.

There are colorful quilts exhibited at the Jerusalem Theater, art, and culture with music each night.

Colorful lights line the footbridge over the Hinnom Valley at night.

New signs are posted for the upcoming events, on the right is for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day.

Yom Yerushalayim is celebrated for more than one day, as there are events most of the week. One program at night was held at First Station, Takhana HaRishona.

These two women strolled through the audience, as the music began after speeches.

As usual, the crowds at Damascus Gate get international attention.

Since most of the reports on Jerusalem Day over the years are critical and negative, I again walked the entire route to see for myself.

The FlagDance/Parade/March (whatever you want to call it) begins for the men on King George Street.

The street was so crowded I decided not to walk down to the Great Synagogue as usual.

As usual, I found the number of baby strollers to be the most dangerous part of the route.

Spectators lined the route along Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park.

Security was heavy with many roads closed. My neighbors were on the way to dinner and not allowed to walk this way on the day of the Pride Parade last week.

At the corner near Mamilla Mall, a sound truck was blasting music, with young men dancing on top.

As we turned toward Damascus Gate, a woman dressed as a bride was being photographed in the middle of the road and groups would sing and dance around her.

Emergency crews were prepared and ready to respond.

The gorgeous horses were ready and watching also.

As thousands and thousands of people, many with Israeli flags, walked quietly and peacefully.

At Damascus Gate security was visible from all angles.

Yes, the crowd was large and loud. I think much larger than in recent years that I have walked the route.

I got an early start, the way narrows, it’s very crowded, and is not so pleasant to be in.

Inside Damascus Gate, where each year media photographers wait to find trouble, was a female clown blowing bubbles and giving out little red heart stickers. This area is known as a “flash point” so anyone wanting trouble knows where to be and when, and again I missed violent interactions.

The security along the Via Dolorosa where the Flag Parade goes was lined with security.

When I say security, I mean police, border police, and more.

Walking were not rowdy teens, but individuals and school groups.

I wondered if they knew this young man was videoing everyone from a small camera.

I was told a YouTube influencer was doing a video here.

A father and son originally from the US stopped to pose with their flags.

Here you can see the extra layer of security this year.

Shops were closed. But many shops have had little business for the last 8 months because of the lack of tourists, because Hamas started a war on October 7.

While many places were selling bottled water, one woman poured cups of water to drink for free.

At the narrowing near the Kotel, Western Wall, I was relieved not to be stuck in a crowd.

At the Kotel Plaza, groups were dancing and singing for hours before the main event.

So the real news this year was the size of the crowd. Possibly 100,000 people celebrated the reunification of Jerusalem 57 years ago. The media focused on 18 rowdy individuals who were arrested and ignored the big picture.

As I headed home early, I passed these girls arriving by way of Jaffa Gate on the Armenian Way.

Thousands and thousands of young women, some louder than the boys.

They kept coming and coming

and coming, as I walked back on Agron Street.

The Jerusalem Flag/March/Parade was not about a few troublemaking male teens, but tens of thousands of people out on a warm day celebrating Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.

And on the way home, celebrations for the holiday of Shavuot this week had begun with these cheese tortes ready in the bakery window.

Chag Shavuot Sameach

Am Yisrael Chai!

Take a walk and see what’s new on the Jerusalem streets

How is it already June?

Where has the time gone, it is a blur.

However, even in these difficult, somewhat sad, days, there are good things to report and some “normal” life has returned to the Jerusalem streets.

Immediately after Lag B’Omer, Jerusalem parks were filled with celebrations and birthday parties.

And the time quickly becomes wedding season as the Jerusalem hills are filled with music.

The community garden in Baka has developed since it began in 2017.

The community space has a book corner I passed on my way to an event honoring writers.

Eylon Levy delivered the keynote address at the 32nd annual Bnai Brith World Journalism Awards at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

Walking through First Station with the rows of empty market stalls the absence of tourists is obvious.

Yellow chairs, yellow ribbons, and blue and white flags are seen on the Jerusalem streets.

The KumKum Tea House is adorned with purple flowers and a British flag.

The play areas of this Jerusalem nursery school have cheerful designs on the protective fence coverings.

Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence hosted the Michal Sela Hackathon where innovative ideas were presented for safety at home. Sela’s sister founded the Forum after in 2019 Michal’s husband killed her in their home.

Thursday’s Jerusalem Pride Parade was smaller this year and featured families of hostages.

As usual, the Jerusalem streets in the area were closed for many hours with thousands of security officers.

Yellow flags lined the Jerusalem streets along with rainbow-colored ones this year.

The Liberty Bell Park was cleaned up shortly after the crowd marched to Independence Park.

Impressively cleaned – I could only find one poster on the ground as I walked through the park.

No photos from Independence Park, Gan Haatzmaut, however, security would not let me enter.

I would have made a fuss, but I did not want to be late for a special lecture by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Then, on Friday morning Jerusalem streets were closed for hundreds of riders in the large biking event.

Jerusalem streets will again be closed this week for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day with thousands more Israel flags and multiple events marking 57 years of reunification of Yerushalayim.

This flag down the Citadel Hotel wall should be one of the longest for the Flag Parade on Wednesday.

Never know what we will see next on the Jerusalem streets.

Today I got a ride home because it was too hot to walk down past the Israel Museum. However, I got photos and videos of the fire raging where I would have been walking.

What’s New and Different on the Jerusalem Streets?

With the end of May 2024, summer is returning to the Jerusalem streets.

A sure sign is finding that ants have returned to the kitchen.

On a quiet day when news is bleak, a quick walk to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens to witness the new season is an effective antidote. The pond is filling with the green leaves of the lilies, and this year it is lined with Israeli flags.

More and more new flags are hanging over the Jerusalem streets, some never noticed before.

The Jerusalem Writers Festival is returning on May 27- 30 in Mishkenot Sha’ananim as in the past.

Jerusalem Education Week is back again with various activities for teachers, students, and parents.

The programs are to be held all week. However, this year it ends with a special Kabbalat Shabbat at the Nature Center in memory of Yossi Hershkovitz הי”ד on Friday afternoon.

Orient Isrotel Hotel was again the scene of the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society.

The good food and conversations in the main lobby and

the main room set to accommodate the dozens of speakers and media were similar to past years.

The Israeli President Isaac Herzog opened the first day of the two-day conference.

The large screens projecting the speakers were the same, as here with the former commander of the elite IDF unit 8200 Nadav Zafir, founder of Team 8.

US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew was listed on the program in “Conversation with Yohanan Plesner.”

The former US Secretary of the Treasury Lew declined to get involved with the current political situation saying his area of expertise was more in “capital markets” in response to one of IDI President Plesner’s questions.

Israeli entrepreneur and innovator Yossi Vardi was back as usual and Jack Lew stopped to speak with him.

What was different from last year?

The Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion wasn’t on the program, nor was the head of the Bank of Israel Amir Yaron. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Economy Minister Nir Barkat were also absent this year.

The reception Smotrich received last year, with signs and shouting and boos, made it impossible to hear his prepared remarks.

This year at the conference, I only heard one man shouting at a speaker. He was quickly silenced by people sitting near him. With many economic concerns because of the war, the atmosphere was much calmer this year.

Hansen House announced a new exhibition this week “In-attention” showcasing new tech and design.

This Jerusalem Design Week focused on supporting initiatives and actions that turn our gaze inward.

The value of culture has been put to the test. With these works, “the creators hope to heal and redesign the future, and consider the day after the current crisis.”

This one was simple fun. Tossing a small ball into the net of the left, the ball was propelled across and then shot back and forth – over and over, as I watched. As always, something unusual at Hansen House!

New signs were up this week, the one on the top left confused me initially. In the Clal Building, the Jerusalem Street Orchestra is holding a concert on Wednesday night, May 29. The concert was already sold out when I figured out what was happening.

The Moon Grove was the site of major Lag B’Omer bonfires in the past.

But this year the big fires were very different.

The main one in Meron was banned because of Hezbollah rockets and fears of a large crowd gathering.

Photo credit: Western Wall Heritage

One of the multiple sites this year was near the Kotel, Western Wall late at night.

Lag B’Omer fires were never my favorite, but I would have watched this one. However, none of the Kotel webcams showed the fire, music, and crowds dancing.

New flags and old were seen this week on the Jerusalem streets.

“We are stronger together.”

As protests grow, time moves slowly, one constant endures: there is always something new to see on the old Jerusalem streets and we never know what will happen next.