From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

On Friday, July 14, 2017, two Israeli policemen

were shot and killed while on duty at the Lion’s Gate entrance

to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.

The international media already seems to have forgotten.

International headlines are blasting

about the fact that Israel installed metal detectors

while ignoring the reason for them.

The guns to shoot the policeman in the back

were hidden in their supposedly holy sanctuary.

On Wednesday, July 19, I joined a group

organized by OneFamily to visit the grieving families.

New roads outside Jerusalem Israel

We left the hills of Jerusalem,

Israel outside of Jerusalem, flat and green

went past green fields,Israeli countryside bales of hay

 many filled with bales of hay,

View from bus driving north in Israel

and row after row of banana trees.

Driving to northern Israel

Israeli supermarket named Texas

we passed a Texas supermarket and traveled

Galil road on way to Druze village

 on roads that reminded me of the hills of West Virginia.

Along the way we passed the town of Maalot-Tarshiha

Israel Monument Maalot

and this sign which made me think of the

 Maalot Massacre and terrorists killing Jews in their homes,

then murdering 22 more children on a school trip.

Finally,

Israel Memorl at entrance to Norfeish

we arrived at the entrance of Horfeish,

with its large Israeli and Druze flags.

Two black memorial ribbons on photos of two Druze policemen killed by terrorist at Lion's Gate Jerusalem

Next to them were posters with black memorial ribbons

around the faces of the two murdered policemen.

Men mourning Kamil Shnaan in Horfeish who was murdered by terrorist near Temple Mount

On the wall over the male mourners

was a photo of Kamil Shnaan,

Female members of Kamil Shnaan family mourning his murder in Jerusalem Temple Mount

while his mother in the women’s section

clutched her murdered son’s photo.

The Druze women were dressed in black with white scarves,

Family of Kamil Shnaan look at his photo during memorial visit by Jews and others in Horfeish

and received hundreds who came to pay their condolences.

Among the visitors were a group

Zion Riders come to pay respects to family of police officer Kamil Shnaan who was murdered

of senior bikers, the Zion Riders.

Zion Rider came to pay respects to family of Kamil Shnaan

Not sure what the young boys were thinking,

when one of them revved up his Harley-Davidson to leave.

Druze female mourners dressed in black with white scarves

Little was spoken, for what is there to say

to a woman who has just lost her youngest son?

Then back in the bus,

Kinneret view from bus on trip to Sitawe Family

as we drove down the winding road

there was a majestic view of the Kinneret.

Israel has so many beautiful spots,

but we were on our way to next grieving family.

Father of murdered policeman with white mourning scarf

The father of murdered policeman, Haiel Sitawe,

was upstairs with the men and stood to receive his visitors.

The women downstairs wanted no photos taken.

Large wedding portraits of Haiel were placed

along the wall behind the row of grieving women.

His widow was beautiful as any model, though so pale and sad.

Haiel will not get to see his baby son grow up,

Picture of Haiel Sitawe from women's mourning room, one of several located behind where they sat

who will only know his father’s smile from photos.

The world may have a short memory,

but Jewish people have a long memory and will not forget.

Before I could get this blog posted,

we have moved on to a new tragedy.

 Friday night in Halamish,

a terrorist knocked on the door of the Salomon family

who were expecting guests for their Shalom Zachor,

a special party to celebrate the birth of a new baby boy.

Instead the door was opened to a knife-wielding murderer.

No, it has nothing to do with metal detectors,

there were none for Muslims (or most of rest of us)

back in 1974, for Maalot Massacre,

or for the Fogel Family Massacre six years ago.

These are not clashes, but cold-blooded murderers,

mostly young men incited by the hateful, lying Arab media

and egged on in their echo-chamber of hate

to strike and kill innocents.

I hope to share “nice days” from now on,

but do not count on it,

Hamas and Abbas are counting on terror in order to

to distract from their problems,

and so far it is working for them.

The Jerusalem streets are quieter than usual,

it is summer and people are away,

hoping it stays that way. Quiet. but not too quiet.

3 Creative Jerusalem Initiatives: Ultimate Urban Recycling

3 Creative Jerusalem Initiatives: Ultimate Urban Recycling

The Jewish Agency Board of Governors met in Jerusalem

with the unification of Jerusalem as its theme, but

their annual meetings and agendas were overshadowed by

the controversies over the Kotel, Western Wall, and the conversion bill.

However, tours were organized

 by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

for interested international delegates to see ‘Jerusalem Up-Close’.

Hi-Tech, Haredim, and East Jerusalem were offered,

but ‘Jerusalem Civic Society’ captured my attention,

with not one, but three locations I wanted to see.

First stop HaMiffal.

Sign for new Jerusalem Israel art hub

Walk across King David Street,

from the David Citadel Hotel,

and make a quick left past the Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria,

the there in the courtyard,

Urban development Jerusalem

is this simple sculpture and building.

Jerusalem had many old abandoned buildings.

Artists work area in HaMiffal

So members of the Jerusalem artistic community,

started taking over these sites,

and instead of drug havens, they became workshops.

HaMiffal has flourished.

Culture space for New Spirit Jerusalem Israel

Now working with the municipality,

Room in HaMiffal Jerusalem Israel abandoned building became artists hub

 multiple rooms inside,

Jerusalem art and culture space Ha Miffal

and hallways, display various expressions of art.

The old, new and creative coming together,

Fire, security system at HaMIffal

and now, insured and protected by modern security systems.

Next stop was the Clal Building,

located near Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

 MUSLALA

Roof top agriculture in Binyun Clal

the Terrace, is a rooftop for new urbanism,

The Clal Building was envisioned to be an urban mall.

However,

Elevator in Binyun Clal Jerusalem Israel white elephant

it felt like a giant sauna as we climbed the spiral stair case.

But up on the roof,

Roof top agriculture and space urbanization

we found Gag-Eden, a center for urban agriculture and sustainable living,

Mirpeset top of Binyun clal roof garden

has added vegetation and community meeting areas,

Mirspeset roof garden Binyun Clal

promoting green technology for urban dwellers.

While inside,

Workspace for artists top of Binyun Clal at Mirpeset

there is workshop space for handicrafts of earth materials.

Thanks to our guide Lior Schillat,

the director general of the Jerusalem Institute,

this was first time I did not get lost in the building.

There are over 300 shops in the building,

each privately owned, not rented,

and most are empty these days.

Best eye glass repair shop in Jerusalem Israel

 My favorite eyeglass repair shop was still in business.

Where else in world do you get a warranty that is good

“Until Moshiach comes.”

Still waiting for the arrival of the Messiah,

and the glasses did not break after his repair.

For the third stop on the tour,

we crossed Ki”akh Street,

the street everyone knows, but not by name,

 to Beit Alliance.

The first time I tried to find the building was at night.

I walked back and forth, finally someone had to come out

and show me how to enter.

Beit Alliance Building in Jerusalem Israel near Machane Yehuda Market

This old building is in the midst of a construction area.

All around, and in the shuk, you will see re-gentrification.

The first floor of Beit Alliance hosts new hi-tech start-ups,

while upstairs there is also a center for civic issues,

Kitchen in Beit Alliance Building in Jerusalem Israel

with a kitchen as a communal meeting spot,

Beit Alliance new office in old building

 and offices and meeting rooms.

Newest of all is the space developing downstairs.

Jerusalem, Israel, has been known for many things,

but not for fashion design.

Design center in lower floor BEit Alliance Building Jerusalem

With new opportunities, this jewelry designer,

Beit Alliance new fashion center Jerusalem Israel

is one of four designers sharing this space,

Beit Alliance will be a new must see, stop and shop spot.

There you have it,

three old and abandoned locations

are now active cultural and creative spaces.

It’s time for you to come and see

what is really happening in Jerusalem.

More photos of the tour are published on Facebook

can be seen HERE

Jerusalem More Than Dream

Jerusalem More Than Dream

“Next year in Jerusalem”

has been for centuries,

the mantra of the Jewish people.

At the conclusion of the Passover seder

and at end of weddings by breaking a glass,

 the destruction of Jerusalem was remembered.

From May 1948 to June 1967,

the years under Jordanian occupation,

Jerusalem Old City Walls

reaching the Kotel, Western Wall or

walking near the Temple Mount,

was only for the imagination or in a dream.

A view from a look out at Notre Dame,

over a dangerous No Man’s Land,

was as close as a Jew could get.

For those under the age of 60,

the drama and trauma of the Six-Day War,

and the resulting victory are taken for granted.

The rush of feelings, of a miraculous deliverance

against giant Arab armies attacking on all sides is lost.

The significance of

Jerusalem 50 and its many celebrations are shrugged off,

Birhat Kohanim at Kotel on Pesach 5777

for today tens of thousands can reach the Kotel Plaza to pray.

However, the Six-Day War,

also saw the return to Gush Etzion,

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

a distance 16 kilometers south of the Knesset.

And in the north,

Kinerret at Sunrise

 the beautiful Kineret, Sea of Galilee,

Golan, Kinneret

had Syrians in those Golan Heights towering above.

 Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus

was closed after a convoy of medical staff was ambushed

and 73 people were murdered in April 1948.

Memorial at Hadassah hospital to the convoy which was attacked and murdered in 1948

This memorial wall in the Mt. Scopus memorial garden

was backdrop for a reenactment of Hadassah getting its keys back

from Mayor Teddy Kollek, in June of 1967.

And the West Bank,

which was for centuries known as Judea and Samaria,

Benyamin region of Judea and Samaria

 the land of Benjamin,

West Bank land of Bemyamin

stretches as far as the eye can see,

Tel Shiloh in Judea and Samaria

and includes Tel Shilo,

which for 369 years was location of the Holy Ark,

before the time of King David and the Temple in Jerusalem.

50 years.

Half a century.

This is a wondrous time to be in Jerusalem, Israel.

The days of choking polluted air

from vehicles stuck in heavy traffic on Yaffa Road,

Jerusalem light rain train Israel Yerushalayim

are vanishing memories, as the light rail trains run by.

50 years,

things are far from perfect,

but I would not want to go back to 51 years ago.