Shutdown, Lockdown

Getting around  Jerusalem is never easy, but mid-day on Monday, it was impossible on Agron Street.

Police cars blocked the road near the United States Consulate Building.

The building was locked down and employees were not allowed in or out.

Biking and walking  in nearby Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park was not allowed.

There was an explosion as a suspicious package was blown up in front of the building.

Buses were stopped,

and with most of its passengers long gone, one finally turned around to escape.

Red police tape kept cars away from the scene.

Usually one blast means it was someone’s lunch or underwear,

a second explosion indicates explosives are in an abandoned bag.

Traffic lights were off, and police were directing cars.

Normally  after suspicious objects are blown up, activity begins within a few minutes.

Maybe it was WikiLeaks anxiety, but the road was closed to traffic for some time after the explosion.

Or perhaps it was a warm up for Tuesday?

An all day, large-scale drill for preparedness in the event of a missile attack is planned,

and at the sound of a 90-second warning siren at 10:00am,

all schools and municipal employees are to go to bomb shelters.

There should be more traffic snarls as fire and rescue units go through their exercises.

It is never boring on the real Jerusalem streets.



Away From it All

The headlines this week were full of scandals.

It was not easy, but we found a few places away from it all…

At the International Conference Center in Jerusalem 

there was an international stamp event.

Going to the main entrance, and then finding this sign was not a good start;

but as the information sign on the marquee changed, we finally found the correct entrance.

Inside the hall it was bright and flags were colorful.

One could wander around alone studying the old stamp collections

or join a group tour.

There was even an option to make your own stamp.

Photo booths were available for portraits, so

everyone could find at least one set of special stamps.

Stamps not your thing?

The annual Oud Music Festival is on until November 25.

Or you could have joined volunteers for a Package from Home ,

who packed bags for Israeli soldiers with winter items.

Two very productive hours away from it all…and for a great cause.

That is the Real Jerusalem Streets…..