Jerusalem: Lights, Action, Camera

Jerusalem. Israel. In August.

When the evening temperatures cool and the sun is setting, and people venture outside.

Jerusalem Israel Jaffa Gate at sunset from Bet Shmuel;

As the setting sun reflects off the Old City walls, it lights up a ‘Jerusalem of Gold.’

Inside Beit Shmuel, at the MassChallenge Finale, ten start-up winners were announced to go to Boston to present their business ideas with the hope of obtaining funding.

Mass Challenge Finale Mayor NIr Barkat receiving award Israel Ganot

But first on stage was Mayor Nir Barkat to receive a special award from MC director Israel Ganot. Barkat co-founded a very successful early cyber-tech startup called CheckPoint.

Nir Barkat at Mass Challenge Finale

Having attended one of Barkat’s early meetings where he shared his vision for Jerusalem to be a bio-technology world center, as I stood in the international crowd of hundreds of startup initiators, mentors and eager funders,  I marveled how far the Jerusalem biotech and startup scene has grown.

Jerusalem is no Tel Aviv, but watch out. To come so far in 10 years is amazing.

Hebrew Jerusalem Israel street sign for children in summer

During the summer in Jerusalem, what is on many minds is keeping their children busy.

Puppet Festival in Perusal Israel Hebrew sign

I love that there is an annual International Puppet Festival.

Summer programs for children in Jerusalem Israel

The Nature Museum has musical programs for children and special Shabbat programs.

The concerts in the Sultan’s Pool giant outdoor stage are too many to list.

First Station has free musical entertainment most nights.

This summer public parks not only have music, but some are encouraging families to camp out in tents.

International Arts Festival in Jerusalem end of summer

The annual end of summer biggie, the International Arts and Crafts Festival, is on.  Construction of the booths for dozens of countries to showcase their wares has been going on for over a week.

A line-up of various popular Israel performers are to be on the giant stage each night.

JTown Free to Be you and me at AACI Jerusalem Israel

The small JTown Theater stage at AACI in Talpiot has a new production.

“Free to Be You and Me” is performed and scheduled for children, with shows in the afternoon and Friday mornings in August.

This production of Marlo Thomas’ gender-bias-breaking work is very timely.

On other stages and screens, the Jerusalem Film Festival has announced its awards.

Founding of Shas political party film UnOrthodox opened Jerusalem Film Festival

“The Unorthodox” did not win a prize, though it was selected to be featured on the Jerusalem Film Festival opening night at Sultan’s Pool.

Director of The UnOrthodox Eliran Malka at Lev Smadar after showing of his movie

I saw the movie at Lev Smadar on Monday, with director Eliran Malka answering questions from audience after the screening.

All movies in the film festival have English subtitles. This trailer is in Hebrew, but I am sharing, that even if you do not understand the language, you can get a feel for the intensity of Shuli Rand’s performance. Rand plays a father whose daughter was expelled from school for being Sephardi, and goes on to initiate the Shas political party.

The docudrama keeps the audience on edge as it unfolds, even though we already know that Shas went on to be successful beyond every early projection.

Malka is a graduate of Maaleh. In case you are not familiar with this Jerusalem school, here is a link, as Maaleh’s film library is available to the public on the Maaleh website.

In honor of Israel@70, Maaleh has opened a special YouTube channel, where viewers have access to 70 Maaleh short films for free, and susan@maale.co.il is happy to email you the link.

Jerusalem culture festival MekudeshetAfter months of preparation and advertising Mekudeshet is running from August 8- 28.

How does one describe this out-of-box culture festival, where some events are free and in the middle of the night?

One performance is at the YMCA pool, and the audience is to come in bathing suits and participate.

Never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets, or in the Y, or yes, up on the roof tops too.

Another week with so much happening in Jerusalem.

There is more, but I will leave you with part of a song from the versatile, talented Shuli Rand.

Rand performed in June, at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence.

 

 

Barkan, What’s Happening over Green Line

Barkan, What’s Happening over Green Line

Summer time. Israelis travel.  It is reported that half the population goes overseas.

Having traveled plenty, especially when we lived in Australia and circled the globe numerous times, I am staying closer to home.

However, I gladly accepted another chance to go see more of the Shomron.

View of Shomron from bus

There are vast expanses of land, with magnificent views as seen from the bus.

Arab building in YESHA construction

This is all new Arab construction, and many are empty summer homes for people living overseas.

Leshem new houses

Leshem, the future home of hundreds of young Israeli families, is growing.

Near Ariel, only an hour drive from Jerusalem, our destination was the Twitoplast factory in the Barkan Industrial Park.

Barkan Industrial park Israeli business hiring Arab workers

In the Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks, Israelis and Arabs come together and work together.

Arab workers in Israeli factory in Barkan Industrial Park

I was in the factory on a previous visit and saw some of the plastic pieces being made,

Palestinian workers in Barkan Industrial Parl

plastic components which are sent around the world.

Palestinian workers in Israel

This is where Arab workers, many second generation, get a decent wage and benefits.

Cars in Shomron industrial area with Palestinian license plates

Last time I noticed their cars parked outside.

Barkan Industrial Park near Ariel Israeli business new green house for education of Arab workers' children

This visit, however, the green house constructed in the parking lot was our point of interest.

Moshe Lev Ran, VP of International Sales, spoke for the owner, Yisrael Twito.

Twito has built and maintained a successful business, in spite of BDS activists trying to shut him and other businesses down.

I decided to let you hear Moshe, an individual too hard to describe in one caption.

Twito not only employs and supports hundreds of families, but in this greenhouse he is teaching their children the importance of education. The children are learning about agriculture and animals, and more importantly, about innovation and motivation.

Israelis traveling in Europe have noted it is hard to find kosher food. European labeling laws and BDS initiatives have affected some “Over the Green Line” businesses.

Arab woman working in Israeli business

Twitoplast is only one business. There are dozens more. From over two years ago:

What the Main Stream Media is Not Reporting: The Arab Jobs at Risk 

West Bank view from bus

Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks, carved out of hills, have been developed over the past 30 years.

BDS does not “help Palestinians,” rather they are ones hurt most if companies like TwitoPlast and SodaStream are forced to move.

West Bank Winery in Shomron

One small, growing business in the Shomron is the Kabir Winery in Elon Moreh.

Elon Moreh Kabir Winery

The Kabir Winery is one of several wineries with tastings and food options.

New vineyards are being planted. Listen to the wind on the mountain top looking down on Shehem, or Nablus.

If you miss the annual Wine Festival at the Israel Museum, take a trip and see these boutique wineries. The quality of the kosher wine and food options might surprise you.

View in YESHA, West Bank

While I marvel how much Israel has accomplished under difficult circumstances, in 70 years, in 50 years Israelis in Judea and Samaria have many accomplishments of which to be proud.

I only regret that it took me so long to go and see for myself what was really happening over the “Green Line.”

If you want to see for yourself, let me know and I will connect you.

Finally, if you missed my other recent trip to Shomron, those 7 stops: HERE.