17 Years Southern Israel Under Attack from Gaza

17 Years Southern Israel Under Attack from Gaza

The last Israelis in the Gaza Strip were forced from their homes 13 years ago.

Since 2001, 25,000 rockets and missiles have hit southern Israel from Gaza.

Eighty-one communities are under fire, on the front line of a war zone.

Seven months ago a new terror method by the Sons of Zawari in Gaza began in the form of fire kites and balloons.

Damage from fire balloons and kites along highway in southern Israel

These blackened areas show the result of this assault on the environment.

One of the southern border cities most under attack is Sderot.

New train station in Sderot is bomb shelter

The new Sderot train station has a cement bomb shelter cover.

Sderot train station is bomb shelter Israel

From the highway the train station appears inconspicuous.

Caterpillar Park in Sderot Israel for protection of children from rockets

Because of missile and rocket attacks, in 2008, the ‘Caterpillar’ park was established as a safe haven for children on playground when an alarm is sounded.

Inside caterpillar cement structure for child to run in Sderot Israel playgournd

The Legacy Heritage “Park of Good Wishes” has grown over the years.

More cement pipes have been added as missiles continue to fall.

Bomb shelters in school in Ashkelon Israel

Not only in Sderot, but in Ashkelon as well, all new school buildings have cement roofs.

Half a billion dollars has been spent to provide bomb shelters in southern Israel.

This month a bomb shelter “safe room” saved a mother and her three children when a rocket made a direct hit on her house in Beer Sheva.

Sderot school with bomb shelters on field where children play

Not only safe rooms, but these decorated free standing bomb shelters have been erected in this new school playground next to the garden that the children are tending.

Sdeort AMIT high school southern Israel

Bomb shelters stand near bus stop for the local AMIT high school. Solar panels are visible over the cement roof that was added to protect students.

Israel bomb shelter near road

A street crossing, a bomb shelter; seconds to run to safety has become a way of life.

new building in Sderot Israel seen from view on Hesder Yeshiva roof

In spite of all, Sderot is growing and it is hard to keep up with the building demand.

Sderot view from top of yeshiva

In all directions, construction and cranes are a regular feature in Sderot.

Display in Sderot police station of rockets from Gaza

Meanwhile, the missiles, rockets, qassams collected and displayed in the Sderot police station have multiplied.

View of northern Gaza from Israel border

Near the Israel border Gaza and the sea are in full view.

Northern Gaza near Israel border

With a zoom lens from this Israeli vantage point Gaza looked peaceful.

Gaza as seen from Israel border

Northern Gaza has expanses of open land.

Northern Gaza view from Israel border

I will not flood you with all the photos like this I took of Gaza.

Ashelon power plant which supplies electricity to Gaza

But here is the Ashkelon power plant which supplies Gaza with power, even when Isarel is under attack.

Under the white balloon is the security camera operating over the the Erez Crossing.

Security wall in southern Israel

Behind this security wall 81 Israeli communities are growing, but weary of being under fire.

This wall decorated with the way to Shalom, Peace, looks much the same as it did my last visit.

Here is photo of the second wall in 2016.

Thousands of visitors have come through, and added their ceramic pieces to the wall.

Today the path to peace only appears further away.

Netiv Ha'Asarah entrance moshav near Gaza border

Netiv Ha’Asharah is a lovely, growing moshav on the border.

Israel near Gaza border art piece decoration

Thousands of residents of the south go about their daily lives under constant threat.

Netiv Ha'Asara new house olive tree as sunset.

Building new homes, planting new olive trees, working, trying to protect and provide for their families.

However, tired of being on front line of war zone, after years of feeling they are ignored, the “backyard” of the country, residents are speaking up.

Walking home on a recent Friday night after dinner, Miri’s family was in the open, not near a shelter when missiles from Gaza fell on Sderot without warning. There was nothing to do but cover their children with their bodies. This is not a way to live, she and others are demanding action.

A group of students who have grown up under threat from Gaza terror are marching, on their way to Jerusalem.

One hundred high school students are on a five-day walk from Sderot to Jerusalem, Israel to the Knesset.

Quiet for 17 years, but no longer, residents of south want to live in peace and have their anguished voices heard.

For more information: check Sderot Heritage Center: HERE 

Tuesday or Sunday, Election and Harvest Week in Jerusalem, Israel

Tuesday or Sunday, Election and Harvest Week in Jerusalem, Israel

Sunday.

One thing people mention they miss most living in Israeli is Sunday.

In Israel it is a regular week day, with school and work beginning bright and early Sunday morning.

No more Monday morning blues in Israel, by Monday evening the week feels half over.

View of Kotel and Har Habayit from Rova Jerusalem Israel

In Jerusalem on a Sunday we can enjoy special scenes like this one in Old City, but it’s not a day off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, was a national holiday, Election Day.

Elections for local governance and municipalities in Israel are held every 5 years.

Many olim joked that having this Tuesday off from work made it feel like Sunday.

Sadly in Jerusalem even though it was not a work day, the turnout was low.

Apathy with only a 30% voter turnout?

Ofer Berkovitch for Jerusalem Mayor

A runoff election is to be held in two weeks between Ofer Berkovitch and Moshe Lion.

Meanwhile, the future leadership of Jerusalem, Israel, is an unknown.

Line of tourists going into Jewish Quarter Old City Jerusalem Israel

Nevertheless, tourists keep coming by the tens of thousands. One part of a group in this photo was heading into the Old City near the Jewish Quarter.

Har Hazetim and view from Old City Jerusalem Israel

Seeing the grave stones on Har Hazetim, the Mount of Olives, with the Arab buildings up next to, and even on top of ancient Jewish graves, is another visual tourist experience.

Soldiers and tourist near Zion Gate in Jerusalem Israel entrance to Old City

Entering the Old City through Zion Gate, with its bullet-marked stone walls, is often the route for tourists and new IDF soldiers to learn history first hand.

The symbol of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a sword wrapped by an olive branch.

Olives and olive oil have connection to Eretz Yisrael going back thousands of years.

While elections are every five years, harvesting olives has been an annual event for centuries.

Jerusalem Israel President House Olive tree in back ground

There are 60 olive trees on the grounds of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Among other things I learned this week, olive trees can live 2,000 years.

So important is the harvesting of olives there is a special word for it in Hebrew, מסיק, masik.

Jerusalem Israel olive harvest

So this week after the first winter rain, President Rivlin invited olive growers to help him harvest the presidential olives.

Israel President at Biet Hanasi

President Rivlin and his wife Nechama came out to greet the invited guests, Arab, Jewish, religious, secular, of all ages, some seventh-generation farmers.

Those little orange rakes were good for official photographs.

But the serious harvesting was done by large electric tools.

Cat in garden of Israeli President in Jerusalem Israel

And as usual in the Presidential gardens, the Presidential Cat was on guard supervising.

The fall season is not just for harvesting olives.

post for annual Oud Festival in Jerusalem Israel

The annual Oud Festival is coming up soon.

Sugganiot ready for Hanukah

And suffganiot, those Hanukkah donuts, are appearing and disappearing from bakery shelves.

Jerusalem Israel message of support with Pittsburgh on walls of Old City

And with all this happening, a shadow over this past week was cast by the unthinkable events in Pittsburgh which we learned about after Shabbat here in Jerusalem. As young people gathered Sunday night to sing Hebrew sad songs in Zion Square, this message of support was shown on the walls of the Old City.

Up-down, another roller coaster week, but if you want to end on a positive note, meet one of Israel’s proud olive growers.

Not everyone in Israel wants to go into hi-tech, some still believe in value of agriculture.

The sun is shining, the weather cooling, and it’s a great time to get out and walk around to see what else is happening in Jerusalem, but watch out for those black overripe olives that have fallen on sidewalks.

Jerusalem Open Houses and Busy Streets

You can tell the seasons are changing in these old stone Jerusalem, Israel, buildings when the inside temperatures are lower than the outside temperatures.

Late Monday night it rained briefly and it was truly a big deal around here.

Yemin Moshe garden

In Yemin Moshe the grass is green, the flowers are in bloom, and the olives are ready to harvest.

As temperatures cool, it is so much more pleasant to walk around Jerusalem.

Batim MaBefnim, Houses from Within, are free open houses, with over 100 options in all parts of the city.

Volunteer in tee shirt for open house

Tens of thousands participate, and volunteers receive these special tee shirts.

Sign for Open House on King George Street for museum in Heichel Shlomo

The Art Museum in Heichal Shlomo was open without charge.

UN met in this building to work on partition plan in 1947

Beit Kedima had the yellow sign in front and tours inside.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

One walking tour offered was Mamilla graffiti art.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

Above the Miffal was one colorful example of Jerusalem graffiti.

Entrance to Miffal open house Jerusalem Israel

Great place, but I had already been to Miffal last year, when it was called HaMiffal.

Villa Mamilla open house door on Jerusalem street

I was going to just walk around, until more than one person pointed me to this door.

Villa Mamilla interior in Jerusalem Israel

They were correct, inside Villa Mamilla was a special experience.

Jerusalem Israel Villa Mamilla tree in courtyard

A tree was in the courtyard and stone stairway enticed visitors to go up.

Open house Villa Mamilla bedroom Jerusalem Israel

The redesigned home has 3 bedrooms that host 7-9 guests.

Jerusalem Israel villa Mamilla bedroom

While we were talking here a man passed by and told us that we should see the bathroom

Bathroom in Villa Mamilla

The tiles in the shower are so well placed we had to look again to find the drain.

Upstairs, visitors rested in the roof garden.

Jerusalem Israel courtyard in house

No way to tell how many people passed through and viewed this house.

Lounge room of Villa Mamilla open for HouseWithin Jerusalem Israel annual festival

On my way out a woman was taking a photo of herself in the first floor salon.

Door open with workers redoing house in Jerusalem

The building next door was under construction, not open for visitors, at least not this year.

Jerusalem Israel scene in a house

But down the alleyway, another door was open so I strolled in to find this scene.

Like something from an old Israeli movie with people sitting around and talking on a Friday morning.

Jerusalem Israel old house has 5 cent Coke Cola vending machine

As I turned to leave, this old Coke vending machine was in the passageway.

I’m so glad I was drawn into these open doors. You never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets, and off the streets as well.

Jerusalem Israel annual creative art festival Manofim

The open houses were last weekend, but I remember my first visit to Hansen House eight years ago, when it was old, abandoned, and run down.

Now Hansen House is home to many events including the celebration of 10 years of the Manofim Contemporary Art Festival. See the details HERE

Pianos at Jerusalem theatre

The Piano Festival at Jerusalem Theater is back for the sixth year.

International Animation Festival sign in Jerusalem Israsel

Plus another Animation Festival this week!

No way to do it all.

Campaign signs for Elkin and Lion on side of Jerusalem Israel bus

Meanwhile signs for the municipal elections are hard to miss on Jerusalem buses.

I will not try to predict who will be the new the mayor, but we are down to a final 4 candidates.

Nor will I try to keep try to keep up with all the conferences this week.

Besides the Jewish Federations of North American General Assembly in Tel Aviv,

the fourth Israel-China Innovation Conference is at the Jerusalem Orient hotel.

Did you know Friday October 26 is International Walking Day?

So – tired or not, it is time to get out and walk again to see what is happening!