What’s happening on the Jerusalem Streets?

What a busy week, with so much happening!

On Sunday night the Menachem Begin Heritage Center had a long list of impressive speakers.

Over 2,000 people attended the second annual Pulse of Israel Conference, “What’s Next For Israel” in person and via livestream – to learn about key issues in the future for Israel.

Actor Michael Rapaport was recognized with the Pulse of Israel Brave Leadership of Zion Award for his outspoken pro-Israel activism on social media.  “This is my fourth time in Israel since November 2023 – before that trip, I had never been here. There has been so much suffering since October 7…”

Indeed, we wonder daily what’s next.

The next night, I was back again for a special memorial tribute event to Senator Joe Lieberman z”l moderated by Paul Gross, Senior Fellow at the Center.

Representing the family, Hani Lowenstein spoke eloquently of her father,

US Ambassador Jack Lew had a long and special relationship. They were two Democratic, Shabbat observant Jews serving together in the US government over many years.

Gil Troy knows how to speak to the audience during an interview and to keep them engaged.

I was complimenting him after the event outside, and this family passed by leaving Liberty Bell Park.

The Knesset was a busy place the day I attended a special event there.

Too often getting by the security to enter is a headache when your name is not on the computer list.

But once inside the Chagall Hall was impressive as usual.

Finding the Knesset Library was simple enough to arrive on time for the announcement.

Israeli Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana announced for the first time in the history of US–Israel relations the establishment of the Knesset–House Parliamentary Friendship Group. He said it was planned for July 3rd purposely before the US Independence Day.

In progress since 2023, before October 7, Ohana was well prepared with a media presentation.

US Chair of the House–Knesset Parliamentary Friendship Group Congressman David Kustoff was in Jerusalem, Israel for the event.

Ambassador Lew also spoke. I was glad for a chance to compliment his remarks about Joe Liberman z”l before the formal program began. People like to complain. I prefer to compliment when possible.

July 4th is also Entebbe Day, the time to remember the hostage rescue and Yoni Netanyahu, its fallen leader.

The King David Hotel was ready in red, white, and blue for the Newsmax July 4th celebration.

The food was abundant, it was great to see some people again and speak with people in person and not on a screen. It was hard to leave, but I had a previous commitment.

Photos of a few friends are on Facebook

A Counterpoint reunion had been planned at the Yeshiva University Israel Campus.

As with most celebrations in Jerusalem, prayers for hostages and soldiers began the program.

Again too many friends to mention, a few photos also on Facebook. so many friends, so many years.

Back on the Jerusalem streets, SUMMER in the neighborhoods. It’s the long summer school holiday time.

The Jerusalem Street Orchestra if you missed them last week at the Montefiore Windmill, is planning a performance for July 22 in the garden of the National Library.

So what’s next for Israel?

You never know.

But slowly the sounds of music and life are returning to the Jerusalem streets.

See the Official Knesset Welcome for US Congressmen in Jerusalem

When the Knesset wants to grant special visitors a special welcome, it is something impressive and colorful to see. This past week a US Congressional bipartisan delegation arrived in Jerusalem, Israel.

An IDF band was out before the event rehearsing the Star Bangled Banner and other musical pieces.

The honor guard was lined up and getting ready.

Inside the Knesset building the hallways were quieter than usual for an opening summer session of the plenary.

These two quietly watched the Knesset corridor near the entrance as usual.

Outside on the entrance plaza, a memorial wreath was prepared for the US House of Representatives to place near the memorial flame.

A special area was marked off for the visiting Congressmen and women.

Photographers moved to get to the best locations for the best images.

The Israeli Speaker Amir Ohana welcomed US Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the red carpet. Notice in the background a group of young children was also invited also to welcome the Congressmen.

After the national anthems and honor guard, McCarthy stood by the memorial flame before entering the building.

Here is a brief video of the ceremonial arrival, given to special guests.

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There was a brief signing of the guest book and short welcome speeches.

Invited guests, including Ambassadors to Israel, were offered an elaborate buffet, but the US delegation was not there but in another location.

To my surprise, long-time serving Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer who I had been looking for and I met in the elevator.

His aide offered to take a photo, so how could I refuse, but sharing the original with you here. He is quite tall and I did the best I could to stand on my toes – I guess that explains the position of my hands.

The main event took place in the Knesset Plenary Opening Summer Session, where US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was given the honor to speak.

Followed by a press conference, with Israel and US, signing an agreement.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog and US Deputy Chief of Mission Stephanie L. Hallett sat in the front row, as the 17 members of Congress who arrived with the Speaker as part of a bipartisan delegation stood behind McCarthy for questions.

International news sources picked up the firm responses to the Russian journalist’s question. But as usual, there was more to the story that did not get the same coverage. The bipartisan comradery, the honor McCarthy gave to Hoyer to speak first before questions began, and which I recorded.

And the fact the Knesset both inside and out was on its best behavior for a really feel-good day dominated by mutual respect and binational affection.

It was a glorious day on the Jerusalem streets, with just enough wind for great blue and white and red-white-and-blue photos.