Jerusalem After Holidays Now What?

Jerusalem After Holidays Now What?

What’s new in Jerusalem after the holidays?

Looking back at last year it seems much is the same. 

The universities are back in session.

A rocket from Gaza hit a home in Sderot.

Again, thankfully, the family was able to get to shelter and was not physically hurt.

View of Old City Jerusalem from other side of Yemin Moshe

Winter clouds hover over Jerusalem and the Old City as seen from Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

View from Yemin Moshe of Old City and road to Zion Gate

Holidays are over but tour buses line busy streets, coming and going from Zion Gate.

Houses Within in Jerusalem at Hansen House

The annual Jerusalem ‘Houses From Within’ was held at the end of October.

The sign was up for entry to the old leper hospital grounds, one of 200 sites open to the public.

But it is so different now, unlike the first tour nine years ago when it was in ruin.

Nine years ago the price of tomatoes made headlines, this year it is the scarcity of butter.

Jupiter and Moon in sky over Jerusalem Israel

Jupiter was in line with the moon. Crazy–this photo received hundreds of likes on Facebook.

Amazing. It is so fascinating what gets attention on social media.

The new moon and conferences galore begin as the holidays end.

The Herzl Conference on Contemporary Zionism ‘From Vision to Reality’ was a first-time event.

Jerusalem Har Herzl grave at night

The opening was held at night on Har Herzl close to Herzl’s final resting place, with the gravestone illuminated.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Former US Senator and Vice-Presidential Candidate Joe Lieberman was on the opening program, mentioning proudly that he has children and grandchildren who made aliyah.

Stanley Fischer at Herzl Conference in Jerusalem
Dr. Stanley Fischer was another featured speaker on the program, along with President Reuven Rivlin.

Leaders of Jewish Agency Board of Governors after showing of video remembering Pittsburgh

The annual Jewish Agency Board of Governors opened on a somber note with a powerful video remembering those murdered in Pittsburgh one year ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu at Begin Center for Jewish Agency Board of Governors

PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors at the Begin Center.

Begin Center security for Jewish Agency Board of Governors

There was security for the Prime Minister, this time I got a photo as they were taking it away.

Stephen Harper in Jerusalem for gala dedication for Hula Lake Park Visitor Center

Security was at a high level at the Waldorf Astoria. But, unlike most events, security let guests at the KKL-JNF Gala get close enough to photograph former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper seated next to the Netanyahus. The new KKL-JNF visitor center in Hula Lake Park is dedicated in Harper’s honor.

Though busy with government and election drama, President Rivlin hosted a special meeting on antisemitism at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence.

Elan Carr and President Rivlin at Beit Hanasi

US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr attended.

Panel on antisemitism at Beit Hanasi

The panel also included the UK – Lord Eric Pickles, France – Frederic Potier, Germany – Dr. Felix Klein, and European Commission – Katharina von Schurbein. The consensus was that education is the key to combating antisemitism. Opinions once considered fringe are becoming mainstream on campuses and they are spreading. The problem is not a Jewish one, but one for all humanity.

BLMJ Glorious Martyr exhibit

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem shared important finds from an excavation in Beit Shemesh. Though no one knows exactly who the ‘Glorious Martyr’ was, the dig exposed a large Byzantine church, filled with hundreds of glass pieces and stone lamps.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem opening of Glorious Martyr

On opening night invited guests arrived to see the exhibition and hear from experts.

Seat of donor or high church official from Glorious martyr exhibit in BLMJ

A favorite object was this marble piece, probably the ‘seat’ of a high church official or donor.

Who knew hundreds of years ago donors had names on plaques in churches?

International Science Centers and Science Museum Day is November 11.

Jerusalem Science Museum play area

Look for free admission to the Bloomberg Science Museum and again the end of November.

The annual Piano Festival at the Jerusalem Theater is from November 13-16.

AniNation in Jerusalem street poster

But first will be the annual international Animation festival in Jerusalem – AniNation.

Science and tech and start-up conferences–always more happening on Jerusalem streets!

In honor of Aliyah Day, celebrated this week, time to share an old favorite.

Sign about learning to speak Hebrew

No government and elections looming.

Years of rockets from Gaza.

Serious threats from Lebanon and Iran.

Jordan, a very cold peace partner.

Rush hour traffic reaching nightmare levels.

Miracle in our times,

Am Yisrael Chai. 

 

Jerusalem: Aventures to the Moon and Back to Earth

Jerusalem: Aventures to the Moon and Back to Earth

The Israeli Prime Minister is on his way to Moscow.

The Israeli President hosts visitors from Greece and Cyprus.

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet is on its seven-week journey to the moon.

Beresheet capsule ready for launch to moon
SpaceIL

The privately-funded Israeli space capsule was launched from Florida.

If successful, Israel will be the fourth country to land on moon.

Mamilla mall art blue man on ball

Back here on earth, in Jerusalem, in Israel, life is a balancing act.

Highway in Israel

On the one hand, new modern roads stretch for miles over former donkey paths and barren sand.

Jerusalem Israel new hostel

New lodgings in Jerusalem are too many to list now.

Near Jerusalem main bus station man sleeping in tunnel pass under street

But on the first really cold night in awhile, this homeless man was sleeping in the underground passageway to the new Navon fast train station and Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

Opening event at Jerusalem Urban Place cowork space

At the same time, on the fourth floor of the bus station, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was speaking at the launch of Urban Place, a new co-sharing work space for nearly 100 businesses.

Jerusalem Council Hall at Kikar Safra

Also this week, Lion hosted mayors from around the world at a conference which opened in Kikar Safra, Jerusalem’s City Council Chambers.

Jerusalem Israel construction fence with graffiti

Around Jerusalem, construction fences surround building projects, which descend many stories down into the ground, and are covered with graffiti.

Construction site in Jerusalem Israel

It is always exciting to see when these projects finally reach street level.

Jerusalem street market

Nearby a market on Agrippas Street is busy when weather permits.

Muslim women walking in downtown Jerusalem

But rain or shine people come to the city center to shop.

I was on my way to hear about Arab voting patterns in the upcoming elections.

Israeli elections Arab vote

My only comment on elections, these two men from Abraham Initiatives were well prepared and extremely impressive in their presentation in English.

Elan Carr in Jerusalem Israel speaking at confernce

Also that afternoon, Elan Carr, gave his first major address after being appointed the US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem.

Jewish Agency in Jerusalem

The Jewish Agency Board of Directors also met in Jerusalem this week.

Isaac Herzog speaking about anitsemitism

New head Isaac Herzog also spoke on countering antisemitism.

View near Hansen House in Jerusalem Israel

Meanwhile, a new synagogue building nearby is approaching completion.

When the sun came out after rain, so did the wild flowers in fields of green.

Rechavia view of green and trees Jerusalem Israel

Around Jerusalem, the nature areas are lovely.

Shabbat shalom poster with flowers

But I am not sure these petals will outlast the hard winds blowing up now.

Night view of art work in plaza in Jerusalem Israel across from Mamilla Hotel

At night for the Shaon Horef  I was not sure what this was.

Jerusalem Israel street art piece

The many new street art installations are better appreciated by day.

Art work in Mamilla Mall

Mamilla Mall has some new out-of-the-box, out of this world, art on display.

Mamilla Mall art work with figure reading

At least the sculpture figures are still reading books.

Jerusalem art work on Mamilla Mall at night young woman sitting on art piece

Real people seem to interact more with their phones these days.

The world, politics, and weather seem so uncertain one minute to next.

Jerusalem Israel view toward Jordan from a city office building

But, on a clear day from Jerusalem, you can see still Jordan not so far away.

Urban Place in Jerusalem where adventure begins..

I liked this poster at the end of hall of offices at Urban Place.

“Adventure begins at the end of the road you know.”

Beresheet may or not get to the moon.

But it is still a wonder.

With all the problems, from near and far, amazing what tiny Israel has been able accomplish.

Elan Carr gave such a powerful speech, I thought I would share a few minutes of it.

And to end on a high note, these young Israeli dancers with so much energy are hope for good things in the adventures ahead.

Hard to believe, but much more was happening on the Jerusalem streets this week.

Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: Inside and Outside

Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: Inside and Outside

Antisemitism is not a thing of the past.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, here in Jerusalem,  said “I would really like to make it clear that the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism is important to me.”

Also this week French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian while in Jerusalem said, “There is a friendship between France and Israel that is deep and enduring, and expresses itself in many, many ways. I wish to send through you my best regards to President Macron.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs hosted The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem, Israel, from March 19-21.

Global Forum against antisemitism in Jerusalem opening plenary

Together we can fight online hate speech was the opening plenary of the first day. The night before a large gathering listened to US Ambassador David Friedman.

Man from Australia wearing kippa with Aboriginal designs

People came from around the world, with 87 countries represented. This friend as you might guess came from Australia, but I also met a man from Trinidad, and several people from South African countries.

Global Forum Justice Ministers Israel, Germany, Greece and Italy

Ministers of Justice from Germany, Greece, and Italy joined Israel Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked in signing a joint statement confronting online hate.

Facebook regional director of policy at Global Forum in Jerusalem, Israel

Delphine Reyre, Facebook regional director of policy in southern Europe, told of Facebook efforts to curb terror sites.

This week it was reported that Facebook closed down a Hamas page.

However, Twitter has not closed even one hate site.

Former Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls speaking at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel for Combating Antisemitism

Near the end of the Global Forum, the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, speaking in French, received applause for stating anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

Bulgarians with Presidential visit to Jerusalem Israel

The Israeli Foreign Ministry spent plenty of shekels on this event. Here the delegation with the President of Bulgaria arrived and waited politely to be seated at lunch.

Abe Foxman introducing President of Bulgaria at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel

Abe Foxman was given the honor of introducing Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

Radev remarks were in English. Not only is his English excellent, he showed amazing patience while being stopped for selfies during his visit.

Bulgarian Ambassador, President Rumen Radev, and Ron Yaakoby

Here Radev (center) posed with the Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel on the left and Ran Yaakoby,  Chairman of the Global Forum (right) of MFA.

Dessert tray at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel

With lavish food and desserts, oh how very sweet the Global Forum was. Facebook photos HERE

But will it make a global difference to curb antisemitism?

Celebrity guests like Mayim Bialik got media coverage. Anti-Zionism, manifested in Israel Apartheid Week, has spread to India for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, for most locals what was happening to the streets was of more immediate concern.

Jerusalem new center under construction

Outside the International Convention Center where the Global Forum was held the streets change daily due to construction.

New roads in Jerusalem, Israel

This road expansion was open after weeks, or months, of work.

Jerusalem street construction fixing crossings.

I had to wait to cross until this small earth mover moved out of my way.

Jerusalem Israel new housing near future fast train to Tel Aviv

This is one of the new neighborhoods near those streets reaching completion.

Bridge for Tel Aviv to Jerusalem fast train outside of Jerusalem as seen from highway

The fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv will not open this month.

Train station in Jerusalem for fast train to Tell Aviv

But when it does, those apartment dwellers are near the fast train station, and can be in Tel Aviv in half an hour.

Coming soon Gan Sacher

Coming soon?

Whatever they are doing in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is to be completed soon.

Gan Sacher trees in bloom on spring day with blue sky

Meanwhile, as I walked along Gan Sacher on my way home from the Global Forum, I saw something which all can appreciate now.

With spring weather and trees in bloom, we can appreciate what we have today and hope for a better future.

Spring is in the air. This year all Easter celebrations coincide with Passover, so tens of thousands of visitors are arriving daily.

Street sign Happy spring holiday

Happy Holiday of Spring in Jerusalem.

חג שמח

Chag Sameach.