Jerusalem Covered in White

Jerusalem Covered in White

Jerusalem, Israel, covered in white.

Why is it? What is it?

The world loves to see photos of snow in Jerusalem!

This past week Jerusalem awaited the arrival of nearly fifty world leaders.

Knesset covered in snow in February 2015 storm

Five years ago the snow made for impressive images.

Valley of Cross in Jerusalem Israel covered in snow

The Valley of the Cross looked like a scene from Europe rather than the Middle East.

This week temperatures dropped as the rain pounded down for days, seemingly without end.

However, though forecast, no snow fell to cover the Jerusalem streets.

Interval of sun during rainy days in Jerusalem Israel

A few white clouds occasionally let the sun peak through on Tuesday at Beit Hanasi while awaiting the first of the international world leaders to meet with President Rivlin.

Australia Governor General David Hurley meets Israel President Reuven Rivlin

Governor-General David Hurley was the second of twenty-seven world leaders the President hosted in private meetings at his official residence, over the few days before and after the Fifth World Holocaust Forum (WHF). Close to fifty world leaders converged on the Jerusalem streets for the WHF, which met for the first time in Jerusalem, Israel.

Preparations for tent outside of Beit Hanasi for world leaders to pose for photograph

High-level delegations could not use the main entrance on Tuesday. A white tent covered the entire outside area. The ground was wet from a day of heavy rain. On Wednesday night at the dinner hosted by the President, the official photo was taken here.

Jerusalem Israel Nasi Street ready to host world leader dinner

Outside on Wednesday evening, white security tents and screens covered the length of Rechov HaNasi.  There was no snow in Jerusalem, but a white security screen covered many streets.

What a difference two years made!

Two years ago for the UN initiated Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Prime Minister spoke to Ambassadors in the synagogue at Yad Vashem.

This year, marking the 75th year since the liberation of Auschwitz and the 5th WHF, royals and presidents and world leaders converged on the Jerusalem streets.

Sun set in Jerusalem Israel

At least as the sun set there was a bit of color in the grey sky.

Lights along path into Zedekiah Cave for press event

Zedekiah’s Cave was lit up with a thousand candles for a Wednesday night event for the  media.

From the cave on a large screen, the main event dinner at Beit Hanasi was projected.

View of dinner hosted by President Rivlin for 40 international world leaders

White linen and beautiful white flower arrangements were on the tables as the President spoke.

Jerusalem Israel Old City walls with a projection

Walking home I went past the Old City walls near Jaffa Gate. Special lights and special colorful projections lit up the night.

Jerusalem streets closed for world leaders staying at Jerusalem hotels near old City

Great idea to walk home, as major streets near hotels were closed to the public.

Jerusalem street without traffic near Har Herzl

The next morning on Har Herzl this street was open, but the public was scared away.

Jerusalem Israel security preparing

Security units were deployed on Jerusalem streets early on routes to the main Thursday events.

White security tents in Yad Vashem parking lot

The closed parking lot at Yad Vashem also had white security areas.

Inside Yad Vashem buildings white security barriers were erected.

Jerusalem Israel view from Yad Vashem

International television crews had panoramic views of the Judean Hills from Yad Vashem.

Fog covering the view of Jerusalem as TV reporter speaks from Yad Vashem

But reporting in the afternoon, the fog on the hilltop made for a white background.

Interview of Rena Quint a Holocaust child survivor

Holocaust survivors were at Yad Vashem to speak to international media.

Walter Bingham at Yad Vashem telling his story of survival and success

German-born Walter Bingham attended as both a child survivor and a working member of the media. Bingham, 96-years young, is proud of his status as world’s oldest working journalist.

Main ceremony of Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem Israel at Yad Vashem

The main live-streamed event was held in a tent constructed on Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Plaza.

View of Yad Vashem at sun set day of World Holocaust Forum

White security tents and barriers could still be seen at the entrance to Yad Vashem as the sun was setting.

Jerusalem Israel Yad Vashem

With so many world leaders attending, the official Israeli black diplomatic vehicles were called in to use, as were dozens of white cars, lined up to take participants away at the conclusion of the ceremony.

But that was not all!

There was much more of the white security tenting.

Gan Sacher for Leningrad Memorial dedication

At Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, covering what had been the dog park, were white tents.

Already on Monday night Gan Sacher was preparing for Thursday afternoon’s dedication of the Leningrad Memorial with Russian President Vladimir Putin attending along with Jerusalem and Israeli leaders.

Roller blade park in Gan Sacher painted white before Leningrad Memorial dedication

The Roller Park looked like a swimming pool from rain, but the graffiti had been painted over, all nice and white.

Inside of white security tent in Gan Sacher for Leningrad Memorial dedication with Putin attending

Inside the main tent at Gan Sacher was the dedication ceremony held before the WHF.

What a week it was! Then the rain stopped.

First flowers in Gan Sacher park in Jerusalem

The white flowers popped out of rocks in the midday sun.

Construction worker in Jerusalem Israel Gan Sacher Park

Construction workers were back in the park and smiling.

Gan Sacher Park in Jerusalem preservation of trees

Trees near the Leningrad Memorial site were still in their protected white coverings.

Jerusalem Israel park white security tent for Leningrad Memorial dedication

The main white tent was still covering the area of the dedication.

Metal security barriers taken down

Metal security barriers were being removed from the park.

Jerusalem Israel roller blade park open

The Roller Park was open, but empty with fences still white.

Jerusalem Israel dog park moved for Leningrad Memorial dedication

This is the Gan Sacher temporary Dog Park.

White security tent for Leningrad dedication in Jerusalem Sacher Park

The levels and layers of white security tents for Leningrad Memorial were still being removed.

I tried to get inside and failed.

publicity image for Leningrad Memorial in Jerusalem park

So for now here is the publicity photo posted, but it shows only part of the tall monument.

Jerusalem Israel walking and biking path near Gan Sacher

Walking home it was good to see a wisp of white cloud and blue sky.

Israeli flags on Jerusalem Israel street

Blue and white flags being displayed to line some major streets, was one of many things that held up traffic this past week.

Now back to normal!?

Gan Sacher will have barriers up again.

The Jerusalem streets will soon be closed again.

Jerusalem Marathon training man and young children

Runners of all ages are out training – and getting ready.

March 20, 2020, as 40,000 runners will fill the Jerusalem streets.

The Jerusalem Marathon launch was also last week.

Official tee shirt for the 2020 Jerusalem Marathon

Tens of thousands of these white shirts will be seen as runners race through the Jerusalem streets for the 10th Jerusalem Winner Marathon.

Of course, there was much more happening this past week, but that will have to wait for next time.

Old City Walls Alive with Sounds of Jerusalem

Old City Walls Alive with Sounds of Jerusalem

It’s raining in Jerusalem, Israel, a cold and grey Friday winter day.

But when the weather cleared on Wednesday evening, before all the world leaders arrived for the World Holocaust Forum on Thursday, I decided to walk home from Jaffa Gate.

Here for you to enjoy, two video projections on the Old City Wall opposite Mamilla Mall.

These scenes of Jerusalem were enhanced by the inclusion of music.

This flags video with welcome greetings is longer. See how many languages you know!

Good thing I decided to walk home that night.

Jerusalem Israel street closed at night

The main streets were already closed near popular hotels.

What a week it was in Jerusalem with royalty and presidents and international heads of governments gathering to commemorate the Allies victory over the Nazis and 75th year of liberation of Auschwitz.

We remember. Never again.

A Hebrew blessing from the President of Germany to begin and end his speech!

Who could have imagined such scenes in Jerusalem 80 years ago when the British turned European Jews seeking refuge away from the shores of Mandate Palestine?

More next time, so much happened this week on the Jerusalem streets,

but now its time to start the challah and chicken soup for Shabbat.

    שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom

Israel’s Northern Exposure

Israel’s Northern Exposure

Lebanon formed a new government with Hezbollah approved Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

A quarter of a million residents live within five miles of the northern Israeli border with Lebanon. According to the Confrontation Forum, nearly 70,000 residents have no home security solutions and many more have no easily accessible public shelters. Five billion shekels were allocated for a protection program, but the program has yet to begin.

The killing of Iran Quds Force Commander, Qasem Soleimani, could bring Iran to seek revenge by targeting Israel, through its proxy, Hezbollah, along the northern border. A staggering number of residents within the targeted communities will have no shelters to run to and nowhere to take cover.

Some times you have to get up and get going and see what’s happening in other areas of the country.

Train in Israel ready to go on overpass

On the road north from Jerusalem the train passed going south toward Jerusalem.

Israeli town in Galilee

Arab villages line the main highway Route #6 as one travels north to the Galilee.  

This is a photo summary of a full day of activities, which included meeting Mateh Asher Regional Council (Arab al-Aramshe) Moshe Davidovich, Chairman of the Confrontation Line Forum and Head of the regional council; from Ma’ale Yosef Regional Council (Shtula) Shimon Guetta, Head of the Ma’ale Yosef Regional Council; and  Col. (ret) – Luchy Yossef – Former Commander of the north district of the home front command and CEO of Shlomi.

Water in Israeli field after heavy ran and flooding

After the heavy rains, pools of water remained in some fields even on a clear day.

Cat eating food left over on a table

A Jerusalem cat found its way to the rest stop on Route 6? It is a long trip to the Upper Galilee.

Israel Route 6 Highway Habad House sign

At the rest stop, we saw a sign for the Habad House on Route #6.

Israel Lebanon border fence

At the border fence between Israel and Lebanon, there were few cars.

Bus waiting for sheep to cross the road near Israel border with Lebanon

However, our driver had to wait for a herd of sheep to get off the road.

Israel Lebanon border fences

At the border, there is both new fencing and a bit of the old.

UN Blue Line marker near Israel Lebanon border

A close up of the UN Blue Line, this is the DO NOT TRESPASS marker which marks the Lebanon border.

Israel side of border to take photos of Lebanon

Photographers were lucky to have a perfect weather day on the border for views.

Lebanese village near Israel border

This was the view of Lebanon from the Israeli lookout point over Lebanon.

Buildings near Lebanon border Blue LIne

On a close-up of the view, I wondered how many of those buildings are really residential homes?

Where are the windows? Water tanks? People? Only one satellite dish?

How many missiles and rockets could be fired at us from those open windows?

Hezbollah in Lebanon as seen from Israel

There was Lebanon, with a Hezbollah watchtower and a black-draped ladder against the fence, a close distance just to the left of that “village.”

Israel Lebanon border bus stop for view and food

Israeli-style, a table appeared out of nowhere with cake and fruit and drinks

Upper Galil Israel near Lebanon

along the Blue Line border fence.

Upper Galilee village near Lebanon border

These Jewish, Arab Christian, Muslim and Druze villages are so close, residents have no seconds to run for shelter from a Hezbollah missile or rocket.

Green Galilee in winter in northern Israel

The Upper Galilee scenes from the bus were magnificent, green and lush from the winter rains.

Winter green hills of Upper Galilee as seen from backyard in a moshav

This backyard view from a private Israeli home was one of dozens of impressive landscapes.

Separation wall near Lebanon Israel border

This was what was in the distance, the border with a more serious wall. Israeli forces on the right and Lebanon on the left.

Warning sign near Lebanese Israeli border for IDF army area

This old IDF sign was by an opening in the wall warning of a restricted military zone.

Lebanon as seen from Israeli side of border

Repeated attempts to explain the red and black flag failed. The experts were not sure of its exact meaning.

The posters were said to be of psychological warfare significance. Under the flag was a man in uniform shooting – shooting photographs of us photographing him.

But what I only noticed when trying to get hundreds of images down to this one piece, the photographer was not alone. There is another man dressed in black on the left side of this photo.

They saw us approaching on the Israeli side near the border. Within a few minutes, they appeared to watch us, though we could not see their base.

Shelter in Israel small village near the northern border

After two stops at border locations, we came to meet Israeli residents. The older members of this community are upset. This community shelter is not accessible. There are too many steps and the distance too great for their security needs.  Warfare has changed in the past 14 years of quiet. These old shelters have not been updated.

Northern Galilee view in Israel

Another view from the bus of the Upper Galilee.

Northern Galilee road near Lebanese border

Driving this far up north you can forget about modern highways. We entered this one-lane road with a cement barrier at the side ready to block it, just in case.

Oops, our bus took a wrong turn and met military vehicles going the other way.

iDF vehicle and bus on narrow road

While our driver backed up slowly for quite a distance, to a spot wide enough for the IDF vehicles to pass, I had time to take a photo.

Shlomi municipal center in northern Israel

Shlomi – where nature and city coexist-was the last stop of the day.

Map of upper Galilee Israel near Lebanon border

This map was in the security center of growing area with a population of 7000 residents.

Photo of Habad Rebbe in Shlomi command center security room

After a long day of hi-tech security projections, I was amused to see a photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the wall.

Farms covering looking like water in northern Israel

We emerged from a Shlomi bomb shelter in drastic need of modernization to meet today’s needs. In the distance there appeared to be a large body of water.

No, we were not near any sea or a lake. Those were covers over agricultural fields glistening in the late afternoon light.

Shlomi sunset in winter northern Israel

As the sun was setting, we headed back to Jerusalem. A beautiful day trip to the most northern and a gorgeous part of Israel.

Quiet for fourteen years. But the IDF must constantly stay on guard.  Hezbollah is just over the Blue Line. UNIFIL is supposed to be watching. However, under their watch, terror tunnels were dug down and into Israeli territory. The known terror tunnels were recently destroyed.

What will happen next? We will have to wait and see Iran’s next moves.

A few hours drive, so near, yet so different from the Jerusalem streets.