I am leaving politics and protests for others to discuss and debate.
Check out what else was happening this past week on the Jerusalem streets.
Let’s start on Monday at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.
When the sun finally comes out after heavy rain, the sky is bright blue with white puffy clouds. The scene over the pond in the Botanical Gardens was serene with ducks resting under the trees in the distance.
Members of our group for lunch, lecture, and tour had trouble finding a place to park their cars. The public lot was filled early because of protesters parking and walking toward the Knesset.
I wondered how many of those flag-carrying protesters paid attention to Arab students who were in the Gardens and on their way out.
Highlights of the tour included the tropical conservatory which opened in 1986, with banana and other trees soaring above.
Gorgeous orchids in many colors and sizes are growing on the trees.
Our guide explained the impressive growth and varieties.
And the 2000-year-old columbarium, where the Romans housed pigeons, was discovered and exposed as the Botanical Gardens was developed.
The aloe flowers this time of year are always a favorite sight.
The cherry trees near the site of the future Japanese Pagoda were in bloom. Hard to believe they arrived as seeds in a packet from Japan eight years ago. Our guide said that the plantings in the gardens all arrived as seeds.
As our tour was ending and we went to leave, the traffic chaos caused by the protesters leaving was compounded by the traffic lights not working, which added to the streets blocked by protesters on the light rail tracks and buses not getting through on their usual routes.
On Wednesday, after three years, the OurCrowd Global Investors Summit was back at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
Booths with startups lined the walls and halls of the convention center.
Under the theme of “Saving the Planet” the over 8,000-person mega event was back bigger and better than before the pandemic.
President Isaac Herzog opened the morning plenary.
It was impossible to see and do everything with so much happening at once.
However, it was good to see Amit Goffer “standing” upright. I remember the first time he was at OurCrowd and I saw him rise to get food during the morning break. For those not familiar, he is the chief technology officer and president of UPnRIDE Robotics Ltd.
This year brought together over 8,000 people from over 81 countries, but the most noticeable new ones were from UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco.
The line to meet with representatives from Abu Dhabi was long at times.
On the main stage, there were speakers, startups, media stars, and vegan lamb chops. Yes, as they were grilled on stage and it smelled like lamb cooking. The bone is made of wood for those concerned.
There were AI, VR, and science fiction-sounding technologies.
But the longest line in the Agriculture technology hall was for fake meat burgers – again as I remembered from last time. One person said they were better this year. Another said they tasted like meat and yet another was not impressed.
You could even find a toilet with flashing lights when the crowd thinned enough in the entry-level halls.
The steps up to the main auditorium for OurCrowd Investor Summit – Artificial intelligence – human tasks without humans. But the humans I met were thrilled to be back live at the conference in Jerusalem.
The next day a tour took off to Tel Aviv for more tech treasures.
The innovation tour will have to wait for next time, too much for now.
But I will share one photo of a new farm-Tel Aviv style – miles and years away from those rolling green fields we passed along the road from Jerusalem.
On Friday morning, the Michael Levin Lone Soldier Base opened in a larger location near the Machane Yehuda Market.
The mezuzah was posted on the front door.
And the new Israel Police Spokesperson Dean Elsdunne spoke movingly about his service as a lone soldier in the Border Patrol. The artwork of fallen lone soldier Alex Singer z”l was displayed on the wall behind him. In the distance, a photo memorial of other fallen lone soldiers is exhibited on the wall near the entrance.
Friday, Michael Levin z”l would have had a 39th birthday.
The renovated space has a kitchen facility and washing machines,
a study and interview room,
and storage space with necessities for lone soldiers to purchase at discount.
Plus an outside area, where these two lone bnot sherut, young women who come from overseas to do volunteer service posed. The Base serves both lone soldiers and lone bnot sherut and MORE.
Walking home the irises were bursting with color in the midday sun.
The sod was down as Gan Sacher, Sacher Park in preparation for the Jerusalem Marathon next month.
And more of the almonds trees are in bloom.
Much more happening on the Jerusalem streets, and another busy week ahead. Hope you will come soon and see us as we enter the month of Adar, a perfect time of year for a Jerusalem photo walk.