Old Tractor Parade

On Monday, May 30, 2011,

main streets in Jerusalem were closed to all vehicles,

except the old tractors on parade

and some special bikers.

Groups of young people gathered

in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park.

Thousands of people

 dressed in blue and white, came together,

many from kibbutzim and moshavim

throughout the country to take part in this annual

pre-Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, event.

As last year, Noam Shalit was one of the speakers

and got most of the media attention,

on Gilad Shalit’s 1800 day of captivity.

Flags and marchers accompanied tractors as they went from Agron Street

to King George Street,

where a few spectators watched from above

and below as the old pieces of farm equipment led off the parade.

Thousands of people filled King George Street

with music

and blue and white Israeli flags.

Marchers and tractors outnumbered spectators as the route turned

and filled Bezalel Street

on the way to Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

where a huge stage was ready for a night-time concert.

Thousands came early to get a good spot on the grass.

Tens of thousands of people,

 hours of family fun,

ending with a fire works display,

and

NO violence… so it was not news

Happy. Jerusalem Day!

More photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Israel: a Racist State?

    The views at sunset from Yemin Moshe, one of the oldest neighborhoods

  built outside the walls of the Old City, can be spectacular. 

As Israeli schoolchildren gather to eat picnic dinner on the grass,

 an Arab couple sits nearby.

During the nineteen years of Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem,

much of this area was no man’s land.

From 1948 to 1967, no Israelis were allowed in the Old City.

The Hurva Synagogue in the Rova, Jewish Quarter,

 which was the largest of all the many synagogues

 destroyed by the Jordanian Legion has been restored at long last.

In the last 44 years the entire area has been revived,          

and there is freedom of movement  

to people of all religions.

Under the flag of Jerusalem,

the Muslim Quarter

and surrounding areas have grown.

Public areas,

 

city parks

 are open and free to be enjoyed by all,

 perhaps even too free.

On the eve of Yom Yerushalayim, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem,

 Mahmoud Abbas announces that he wants a state with Jerusalem as his capital,

 a state without an Israeli presence…

military or civilian.  A state without Jews.

 Is Israel a racist state?