Hot News and Not News

The World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency meetings

 brought delegates from around the world together in Jerusalem.

The High Court rulings against Emmanuel School parents brought 100,000 protesters.

 High temperatures resulted in record electric usage and fires outside of Jerusalem.

 

Summertime favorite Gan Sacher was nearly deserted in the heat,

but as the sun was setting,

 strong afternoon winds finally brought temperatures down

and visitors returned to the streets.

 

An official Israeli government limousine took Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann

and his entourage through the center of town in a loud procession.

On  Jaffa Street

traffic was light and the pavement hot.

In nearby Safra Square

basketball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

is very hot.

As a few people shot baskets during the day, 

 a group of people filed by on their way to the entrance of the city government building.

 Only a few of the people passed security and made it to the entrance of the Mayor’s office

to personally protest the closing of the Ulpan HaOleh, Hebrew language school for new citizens.

Protesters went to one of the Deputy Mayor’s offices,

where they found Pepe Allou.

City hall is not interested in the ulpan or in new olim, new citizens.

While the demolition of 22 illegal homes is international hot news,

the end of an important educational system to thousands of people is not news.

After months of ignored letters, emails, and phone calls,

water was offered to those people locked out of the Mayor’s office. To cool things off?

Hot and Busy

While it is hard to avoid the Flotilla and Dubai-related news headlines,

the real Jerusalem streets are hot and busy.

Across the city, proud families pack in hot,

crowded rooms to watch end-of-year school performances,

and graduations from all levels of education crowd the calendar.

School is out soon, and parents are busy organizing the children for summer activities.

  Want to forget the heat at the beach?

A new beach opened

in Jerusalem in the Liberty Bell Park.

Beach is hof yam in Hebrew, this volleyball court may have sand,

but there is no water in sight.  To get away from the heat,

 these kids seem to have found a better solution.

The streets are filled with kids out of school

and tourists and visitors.

 A regular scene at the Kotel, the Western Wall, but especially this season

is a bride and groom coming for photos

where total strangers normally join in the celebration.

Traditional Jewish weddings include the breaking of a glass

to remember Jerusalem.

Monday morning a police officer was killed by terrorists in an ambush

not far from Jerusalem. He was to be married in September.

Instead of wedding arrangements, the family had to arrange a funeral.

The international media may have been too busy to pay much attention,

 but Shuki Sofer will be remembered,

in Jerusalem strangers come together in celebration and in mourning.

Demonstrations in the News

Someone is always demonstrating in  Jerusalem,

 

with a banner displaying their cause by day,

or at night,

alone

 

or in a large gathering.

Some displays are colorful

and up for a day or two,

while the tent for the return of Gilad Shalit

has been up a very long time, as seen by the number of days of captivity displayed on top.

Paris Square is a favorite scene for protests

 

and for news broadcasts to around the world.

Most people walk past and try to ignore the small group of people dressed in black

in Paris Square who regularly protest  “the occupation” on Friday afternoons,

but this week there was a pro-Israel counter demonstration.

After the hour-long protest ended,

police removed the barricades and a few young people waved flags.

The helicopter and extra police left, everyone seemed relaxed,

even the ladies in black.

But then a woman got up and started shouting at the boys with flags,

and one peacenik was heard telling a young high school boy that she hoped

he would return from his future army service  in a coffin.

Cameras started rolling as the yelling got louder,

 

   “Go back to America!” she screamed,

 an Israeli “peace” demonstration.

 The media is on the spot for any conflict, confrontation or violence, no matter how small.

Late Monday night saw a demonstration of a far different type and scale,

 100,000 or more people came together

 to pay their last respects to former chief Sephardi Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu,

may he rest in peace,

 but this demonstration may not have made your local news.

Real Response

As members of the Knesset and government were engaged in loud verbal discussions,

the real Jerusalem streets responded to the seemingly endless negative international press

 by proceeding with two annual events.

Hebrew Book Week opened in  the Liberty Bell Park .

 

 

For the next ten days thousands of books

will be displayed and sold.

 Earlybirds beat the huge crowds that attend every year.

People of all sizes and ages will come to the event to see the vast selection.

 As libraries and publishing houses around the world are closing down, this event seems all the more remarkable.

 

Nearby traffic was being diverted.

Streets were closed to traffic and bags were searched because

  in Gan Ha’aztmaut, the Independence Park, the annual  parade of old tractors was beginning,

Thousands of people turned out for the agricultural community’s Salute to Jerusalem,

which this year honored 100 years of the kibbutz movement.

The number of Israeli flags was overwhelming,

 and there was more than just tractors and flags on the streets.

One of the many speakers was Noam Shalit, father of captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

  

 

Even though he was late, Education Minister Gideon Saar stopped and posed on his way to the podium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This event is popular with young families, as bus loads of people from around the country came to Jerusalem, but

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this  year it also became a rally in support of Israel, its army and soldiers.

Marchers went through the center of Jerusalem and ended up in Gan Sacher

where loud music continued until late into the night.

The celebrations ended with a fireworks display at 10:30 pm.

It was a beautiful and colorful day enjoyed by tens of thousands of people, no threats, no riots…

not news worthy.

More Security

There were more security concerns this week than usual, 

beginning with a large civil defense drill held in all parts of Israel.

On Wednesday morning at 11 am, the sound of a siren alerted Jerusalem’s citizens to find shelter.

Visitors and those riding in vehicles were instructed to go about their business.

 

  Those people in government buildings, schools, and  businesses may have complied,

but many citizens did not take this drill seriously, as shown by this woman who was hanging out the wash.

 

Security is always a concern, with extra measures for

 

         special events near the Kotel, the Western Wall

or when the mayor is to attend a parade on King George Street.

Buses are regularly used to block streets for major events

but a bus below and a blimp above is unusual.

Traffic is often blocked while a suspicious package is checked.

Closed sidewalks near the King David Hotel and

stopped traffic for the Prime Minister’s vehicles

are routine procedures,

as are metal detectors and searches of all bags of those entering a building in a mall or supermarket.

New barriers at the entrances to the shuk, Machane Yehuda Market, may slow down those entering,

but most days beggars are more obvious than security personal.

 

Restaurants have a security guard posted outside. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sign at this restaurant is in memory

of the people killed here by terrorists,

 it is located across the street from the Prime Minister’s official residence,

where security was very light while he was in Canada.

 

NO photos of the United States’  buildings are allowed, not even of the flag on top… more security.

 

While the media was chasing Rahm Emanuel and family so that they needed more security,

 a large police presence was appreciated at a community day event.  A police band played,

 

 hundreds of families participated and enjoyed

the beautiful horses and

a hi-tech robot that were brought to the park.

Even as this policewoman was training a group of new crossing guards for next school year,

a van came dangerously close to the group, demonstrating one of the country’s biggest security issues;

too many pedestrians are killed and injured in the crosswalks by reckless drivers.

 

For a few days the air quality was so bad that breathing was a hazard, the sky was the grey color of the

 stone buildings

 

 assuming you could see the buildings.  Many people were secure only inside their homes.

Whatever was coming out of the Israel Museum certainly did not improve air quality.

Today people are moving around a bit slower, as a new heat wave hits and a bit sadder

after the Gaza Flotilla incident brings a new security alert to Jerusalem

and we count another day of captivity for Gilad Shalit.