At first it seemed that no one even noticed,
United States Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting Jerusalem.
There is a difference when you are not number one,
but only number two.
As Vice-President Biden was to arrive, it was quiet around the Citadel Hotel.
Biden arrived for breakfast at Beit HaNasi, the President’s Residence,
on the first day of his visit.
No United States flag was flying to greet a Vice-President.
The temperature was already rising,
the dirty air was not good for clear photos.
There were no paparazzi around Beit HaNasi,
just a few big vans, some red police tape and one ambulance.
Security was very light, a real contrast to the bus blocking this intersection
and many streets being closed for hours before President Bush’s visit.
At least the US Vice-President rated a security helicopter circling overhead
when he was arriving and leaving from meetings.
No complaints were heard from the residents of Jerusalem,
who were able to get around both by car and on foot.
Unless you were stuck in traffic when his entourage was on the move,
you would not have known that Joe Biden was here.
Then, an announcement about new housing plans in the northern
Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo
and reports of his visit made headlines around the world.
A little perspective on housing:
to get anything built in Jerusalem takes time, a lot of time.
Something as simple as the addition of a small porch,
that all the neighbors agree on, can take ten years to be done legally.
One of Jerusalem’s biggest problems is the lack of housing,
especially affordable housing.
After the Safdie Plan failed to pass due to environmental concerns
there simply are not enough places for the people to live.
The real shame is that media coverage and world’s outrage
at this badly-timed announcement seems to have left no time
and space to cover the really disturbing news
of the massacres going on in Nigeria,
including the slaughter of many young children…
When Vice-President Joe Biden left for Tel Aviv today,
the entire world was aware of his every move.
What a difference one day makes in Jerusalem!