Time again for those Jerusalem, Israel streets,
in honor of the birthdays of President George Washington
and President Abraham Lincoln.
Happy Presidents Day from Jerusalem.
The sun was shining.
The weather unseasonably warm.
So I went off to see what was happening in the Old City.
Police vehicles lined the area outside of the Western Wall Plaza.
Thousands of people were out in the warm midday sun.
Outdoor cafes were popular, it was a perfect day to sit and enjoy. As I strolled sipping an ice coffee, I noticed all the people eating ice cream, young and not so young.
On the way home I witnessed one of the nicest acts of kindness.
This young woman stopped to chat with one of the people lining the stairs collecting money. I wondered how many ever tried to speak to this woman?
Mamilla Mall was busy. People coming and going, shopping and eating.
Pleasant sights and sounds to end another busy week.
As always there is much happening
on these Jerusalem, Israel streets.
However, local news was overshadowed by
the arrival of US Vice-President Mike Pence.
Flags on main streets,
while large flags, lined his motorcade route.
The visit was for two days.
Video cameras were ready at the official welcome
by the Prime Minister’s Office early Monday morning.
An honor guard was getting ready for red carpet
greeting of the Tourist of Week.
The Vice-Presidential vehicle pulled in
and Vice-President Pence lined up with
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
Head of State Protocol Meron Reuben,
surrounded by the watchful eyes of security.
After the White House press entered,
this was best photo I could get over the crowd.
The entire event took minutes,
and everyone went home.
Then in afternoon,
the Vice-Presidential motorcade arrived at the Knesset.
Before the Vice-President’s Knesset speech,
supporters with thank you welcome banners lined the road.
Security seemed a bit confused,
but did not complain about a positive demonstration.
Tuesday morning as I was walking near Mamilla Mall,
I finally got my photo, not only of the Trump bus,
but also one of the Welcome Pence buses.
Slow going from blocked streets and security,
was theme over the time of Pence visit.
But waiting in security line for the
Kotel, Western Wall,
I was able to see these two display boxes,
for the Pences’ visit, carried by security,
also go through security checks.
It is hard to describe the layers of security.
Routes to he Kotel Plaza were draped in white,
to block all views.
The entire area was closed to the public for hours.
Since the weather forecast was for rain,
tents and covers were constructed.
A small platform was constructed for media.
I took advantage of higher and closer spot to admire the birds.
However, the main event was eclipsed,
by female journalists who did not like being behind the men.
Once it was evident it would not be raining,
the white covering was removed.
As a short female photographer who is often blocked,
I was satisfied to stand on a chair supported by the barrier,
but others around me were furious.
More upsetting to me, was to see security blocking
the official White House press travelling with the VP.
They only had a few minutes to get in position,
we had been waiting for over two hours already.
Vice-President and Karen Pence stopped to watch a video
about the Western Wall, giving
security and White House cameras time to get in place.
Pence looked at a large book of Tehilim, Psalms,
with the two rabbis from the Western Wall.
Blocking my shot (only can use the word now,
with so much insane security all around,
who knows how much trouble I would be in)
was a tall security guy in purple shirt!
I got the photo, plus
another 400, if you are interested,
but turned my attention to Karen Pence.
She was accompanied first to the display case,
then to another large Tehilim book,
by the two rabbis’ wives and Western Wall spokeswoman.
Karen Pence stood alone,
and spent a much longer time
with her hand on the stones of the Wall.
The entire time from when motorcade entered the plaza
until they raced away was 30 minutes.
to the roads leading to the Old City,
vehicles and pedestrians were stopped.
A crowd gathered near Jaffa Gate as
Karen Pence stopped to do a bit of shopping,
before heading back home.
As I finally headed home,
the road to the King David Hotel was still blocked.
Oh, so different from Vice-President Biden’s 2010 visit.
After the motorcade passed on the way to the airport,
it was getting dark on wet Jerusalem streets.
Some roads were still empty
while others were filled with blocked traffic.
The predicted rain waited and began to fall,
but did not spoil the visit.
Lots of waiting for events lasting minutes,
the significance of which we can only guess,
not your usual week in Jerusalem,
or maybe it really was.