Save the Nature Museum

Doctors are striking.

Protest tents are popping up like mushrooms in the parks.

The price of gas, electricity and temperatures are rising.

With so many serious issues at once, it was easy to miss a protest meeting

   to save the Nature Museum in Jerusalem.

Thousands of visitors drive down this little street leading

  to the Moshava Germanit, German Colony parking lot,

and probably never noticed the main entrance to the Nature Museum.

This old Armenian house and sprawling grounds are home

to the Nature Museum in Jerusalem,

where thousands of children have been exposed to nature and animal life.

In spite of the heat, a crowd gathered in the afternoon on July 26, 2011

to protest its threatened closure.

Professor Ariel Hershfeld was the first of several speakers.

City council member Meir Turgeman, who grew up in the neighborhood,

was the last speaker and called for the city to listen to its residents.

It was hard to gauge the attendance at the protest, as the many activities,

entertainment,

and animals provided constant distractions.

The soft music of this protest was quite a contrast to the loud demonstrations.

Will Shalem College get the grounds for its new campus?

The grounds of the Hanson Hospital are near by and could be restored

to offer a new and improved neighborhood Nature Museum.

There was mumbling in the crowd of another Holyland

where the interests of business and money

win over the interests of the people.

More photos are posted  on  The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Tent Protest Grows

The “Tent Protest’ began in Tel Aviv when a group of young people

camped out in the city square to draw attention to the high price of housing.

Sunday night tent protesters took to the Jerusalem streets.

The demonstrators carried tents

and signs along a route heading towards the Knesset.

Many chanted loudly,

 a few protesters carried Israeli flags.

After stopping briefly to block the intersection at Ruppin Street,

the march headed up the hill towards the Rose Garden to set up the tents,

all the time with police escort.

The price of housing in Jerusalem has risen steadily for a number of reasons,

 new construction is for luxury units, impossible to afford on an Israeli salary.

It is a problem for not only for young people,

everyone is affected by the serious housing shortage.

 

 

Ziggy Marley in Zion

On a warm but pleasant July night,

 Ziggy Marley, son of the late Reggae singer Bob Marley,

 defied those who called for him to boycott Israel

and performed with other musicians in Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

The huge stage took days to build

and by concert time much of the park and its paths were closed to the public.

Security was tighter than usual at this event,

which made  jumping the fence to crash the concert a bad idea for these two fellows.

Inside were hundreds of mostly young music fans,

but the music could be heard outside the entrance, located on top of the hill,

at the other end of the park,

and by people all around the neighborhood until late that night.

There was plenty to drink,

while large screens projected

the performances to the crowd.

No chairs were in sight… but plenty of hair was.

Instead of the usual meal of a sandwich wrapped in plastic,

a grill was set up to feed the police on duty.

Meanwhile,

 Paul Simon was performing in Ramat Gan and got all the media attention.

On the way home I passed a really big crab making its way to the concert.

He or she must be a loyal Reggae fan, maybe a Rastafarian?

With so many Jerusalem cultural events how can you be crabby…

maybe if you live in the neighborhood and do not appreciate the music?

Summer in the Shuk

In the Machane Yehudah Market, The Shuk,

the piles of fresh garlic of spring,

have been replaced by the piles of summer fruit.

The old and narrow Jerusalem streets in the area are often crowded,

but on Monday nights in July, the crowds

have come for the Balabasta Cultural Festival.

As the sun sets the celebration begins.

Numerous musical performances,

live bands,

soloists

and groups,

 all performed in the alleyways and corners of The Shuk.

Games were available

and many performers entertained the crowds for free,

but this mime had a sign requesting a coin to start his dance moves.

Artists painted in many locations,

adding more color,

to the market event.

Well known for its fresh food,

there were actually some people who were in The Shuk to do their shopping.

If you could get close to the displays,

there were bargains.

The Balabasta Festival has grown from last year.

Five years ago The Shuk was empty, a scary and dark place at night,

now it is filled with people and roses.

Time for a Break

Too many things this week are too difficult to understand.

  20 Kassam rockets and mortar shells have landed in Israel from Gaza,

while Israel sent hundreds of trucks filled with tens of 1000’s of tons

 of goods and fuel into Gaza just this past week.

Activists from around the world fight to get to Jerusalem to protest,

while the world ignores that east Africa is starving.

The murder of Leiby Kletzky z”l in Brooklyn is impossible to comprehend,

as is strapping explosives to a child making her a walking bomb,

 as they did in Afghanistan.

When child safety is not a basic belief…it is too difficult to understand.

Time to take a break for something sweeter, perhaps an ice cream

or melon that is now in season.

Or sport,

as dozens of teams gathered in Kikar Safra, Safra Square, 

for a basketball derby.

A few young women wore colored team shirts

and possibly a future star could be found in the crowd.

Cyclists were out adding color to the streets.

From Kraft Stadium, 

a Woodstock revival filled the air with music and smoke.

 The Thursday night audience was colorful…

very colorful!

The heavy warm air of last week brought vivid colors

to the summer skies at sunset,

a perfect time to take a break and just enjoy the view.

After the dark of night…the colors at sunrise were again hard to describe.

From the darkness of last week to the light of another day…

 

 for the refuah shelamah of Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah,

may the colors of sunrise be in your future for many years to come.

Welcome to Palestine

It is hot…

ok…we are spoiled, the rest of the country is hotter,

and it is dry, putting the public and the fire department on high alert.

 Smoke billowed from this apartment building, two fire engines arrived to

  find that smoke was from a man starting his BBQ grill on an outside porch.

Last week’s loud music and voices coming from open windows 

have been replaced by the sounds of summer:

the whirl of air conditioning units.

In the center of Jerusalem, usually busy Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

was quiet on Friday afternoon,

 everyone seemed to be moving a bit slower…

even the soccer players.

It was a  good day to sit in the shade and read

"Arab woman photo", "picture Arab woman". "Palestinian woman image"

and perfect to select a choice picnic spot.

"picture Palestinian" , "Palestinian woman photo", "image Palestinian"

Children are out of school, keeping them busy, happy, safe and cool

have been the real streets main concerns…

and as always a good parking spot. 

Day and night, the Renewed Israel Museum is a popular choice for many

and also this week the cool theaters of the Jerusalem Film Festival,

as many of the summer holiday visitors have discovered.

Had the flytilla activists arrived as the millions of regular visitors,

they would have passed these posters 

on a wall in the new Ben Gurion terminal.

"Palestine poster", "Picture  build Palestine", "image Palestine"

The irony of a United Palestine Appeal poster

"picture Palestine appeal", "photo Palestine uniform", "image Palestine"

 to build a Jewish future would probably have been wasted on them.

These activists must not know that

 cities under Palestinian Authority control have been safer of late,

and people holding US passports have visited them regularly.

Instead of sitting in jail or being deported, these activists could

"Palestinians in Jerusalem photo", "picture Arabs", "Palestinian family"

have joined the many Arab families

who frequent Gan Sacher in the evening to picnic

and bring plenty of food.

Some call stopping the flotilla and the flytilla an over-reaction.

Today a suspicious package brought downtown Jerusalem

to a standstill.  Another over-reaction?

Possibly… except for the one time it blows up in your face.

The Greek flag is flying with the Israeli and Jerusalem flags

lining the route to welcome the Greek President to Jerusalem.

The Greeks played an important part in stopping the flotilla,

and deserve a big thank you.

In case one needs to be reminded about smuggling weapons to Hamas,

three rockets from Gaza landed in southern Israel yesterday.

Thank you, President Karolos Papoulias…

the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ activists just don’t get it,

but fortunately…you got it!

Back on the Streets

After hours at the computer sending out information on the “Free Palestine” people

who are waiting in Greece to pay us a visit,

a severe case of the flotilla fatigue required a long walk.

Jerusalem temperatures in June were unusually cool

and it was time to get out again and see what was really happening.

Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park, often a scene of demonstrations,

was quiet enough for an afternoon nap.

  There is not much chance of a flotilla coming to these Jerusalem waters.

On Yoel Salomon Street there was a little sign of  stress.

On Jaffa Street one man held his own silent demonstration, but then

Dance Studio 6 started the music

and the breakdancing performances began.

A large crowd gathered quickly,

some took only a glance,

while many passers-by stopped to watch for a few minutes.

As the crowd grew it was harder to see the various dancers,

but there was a good view from the steps.

Most people in the diverse crowd were satisfied to watch

the dancers,

but this dancing baby

really got into the act.

Also nearby on Jaffa Street a band was playing,

   people were smiling again on Jaffa Street, some moving to the music.

The regular violinist was performing on King George Street,

while various other musicians were playing

every few meters along Ben Yehuda Street

and one young man was reciting lines from Dr Seuss.

As the sun was setting, the light rail car could be seen in the distance,

 many are filled with sandbags, not people.

  Meanwhile buses are packed to the gills with summer passengers.

The sound of music and people are returning to the city center once again.

 As last summer, Mamilla Mall will have live music every Thursday night.

 Machane Yehuda market, the shuk, will have live music on Monday nights,

but with protest demonstrations planned at the Supreme Court,

you probably will not hear many news reports about the Balabusta Festival.

There is one consumer protest that has seen quick and positive results,

as the price of cottage (cheese) has gone down.

Now if someone could just do something about the price of yogurt…

Happy Fourth of July to everyone in the USA.

 35 years since Entebbe.

Now back to the flotilla folks, this time not by sea,

but they are threatening to come by air…