Have you also been getting reminders it’s been an entire year since the last- event, gathering, conference, meal out, or whatever?
Slowly signs of life are returning to the Jerusalem streets. Today a new list of restrictions went into effect, with new openings and relaxed regulations.
A tour group was outside the walls of the Old City ready to enter Jaffa Gate.
Though inside Jaffa Gate, there were still more birds than people.
Four special international visitors made headlines this past week. On Monday morning, the airport was open for the arrival of the first United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Al Khaja.
In the afternoon, he arrived at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.
The flag of the United Arab Emirates was flying on the Israeli official limousine as Mohammed Al Khaja came to present his credentials.
The motorcycles did not use sirens, but led the limo into the open gates.
You will note the Purim monster from last week was no longer over the gates!
A full red carpet was rolled out, though the IDF band and honor guard were limited in size due to corona restrictions. The fancy red UAE folder to be presented to the Israeli President can be seen here, on the far right.
Surprise! I ended up on Dubai TV news. Yes, that’s me across the street lurking by the white van. Very glad I did not wear my red hoodie.
Inside the Beit Hanasi main hall, both President Rivlin and Mohammed Al Khaja spoke. The new Ambassador presented his credentials and signed the official guest book. No months-long wait as for some other ambassadors.
When it was over President Rivlin walked his guest outside as music played.
The UAE and IDF military honor guard stood as the newest Ambassador to Israel entered the limousine to go to the King David Hotel.
King David Street in front of the hotel is closed, but officials usually use a side entrance. There was almost no one around, but I decided to go home instead of trying to get inside.
Also this week the King David Hotel hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu, Austrian Chancellor Kurz, and Danish PM Frederiksen.
Around the corner the Dan Panorama Hotel was busy, but with a very different group of international arrivals. Returning Israelis were required to quarantine in assigned hotels.
On Friday afternoon, people were dropping off packages before Shabbat. One man was let free after his isolation. If you want to see long emotional hugs, this is the place. No photo though, after travel ordeals and delays, I decided to let you use your imagination when she was finally able to greet him.
The requirement to quarantine in designated hotels is canceled as of today and will be replaced by increased enforcement by the Israel Police regarding those returning from abroad who are quarantining at home.
The night I went by the Panorama Hotel, and I saw that the YMCA was lit for the “Follow the Lights” which because of the Purim restrictions were short-changed.
Even the signs were not posted until late. Millions of shekels and hundreds of hours went into the “social distanced” event and half of the nights, sad to say, most of the lights were out during the curfew.
Back were the Flea Market and Bezalel Arts and Crafts Fair. Shots for shots, vaccinations in Machane Yehudah Market on Thursday night were given at a bar.
The fourth election in two years is set for March 23rd, and signs that go up are then taken down if they are posted in illegal locations. Jerusalem street cleaners are at work, day, and much of the night.
Anti-Bibi people are not happy even though there is another election. They come out daily, rain or shine, with umbrellas to scarves matching their signs of protest. And of course, they are loud at night too. I will spare you those photos and videos here.
Instead, I want to share the newest tourism campaign to ‘return to nature’ this spring in Jerusalem.
From March 3-20, 2021, Jerusalem invites a return to exploring nature locations.
Winter rains may have been cold and bone-chilling, but the fields are green.
My quiet walking paths will be much busier soon.
There were new signs posted along the way in the Valley of the Cross.
Will be nice though to see visitors returning to the Jerusalem streets, and off the streets in these nature locations as restrictions are now lifted.
Oh, and the One visitor above the Jerusalem streets?
Pope Francis flew over Israel on his way to Iraq and sent greetings to President Reuven Rivlin from the airplane. President Rivlin was so pleased he tweeted a reply as soon as Shabbat was over.
Interested in seeing more of Jerusalem for yourself? Take a Jerusalem Photo Walk. Check details out HERE