Yitzhak Navon: Israeli President Remembered

Yitzhak Navon: Israeli President Remembered

On November 20, 1977, Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem to speak in the Israeli Knesset.

Remembering that historic moment spurs another November remembrance.

Yitzhak Navon

Yitzhak Navon lived from April 9, 1921 – November 6, 2015, and came from a long line of renowned Sephardic rabbis.

Yitzhak Navon in Beit Hanasi

An Israeli politician, diplomat, and author, he served as the fifth President of Israel between 1978 and 1983.

Yitzhak Navon’s image is in the garden at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s House, along with the rest of Israel’s past Presidents.

Yitzhak Navon is Beit Hanasi with flower on day of funeral

On the day of the Funeral of Yitzhak Navon  a single red flower was placed on the marble stand.

In 1978, at the age of 57, Yitzhak Navon was elected President of the State of Israel.

The first thing to come up in an internet search for Yitzhak Navon, is the Yitzhak Navon train station.

Sign for Yitzhak Navon Train Station in Jerusalem - fast train to Tel Aviv.

Navon was the first Israeli president of Sephardic heritage. Born in Jerusalem into a family who had lived in Jerusalem for over 300 years, they traced their ancestry back to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

He was noticeably younger than his predecessors, bringing to the President’s residence his wife and two relatively young children, which changed the atmosphere of the Presidential home.

Day of Yitzhak Navon funeral his children in garden look at stature

Navon was the father of a daughter, Na’ama, and a son, Erez. His wife, Ofira, died of cancer in 1993, and was a clinical psychologist. He later was remarried to Miri Shafir.

President Reuven Rivlin and Navon children day of funeral at Beit Hanasi

During his Presidency, Navon strove to act as a bridge between all of Israel’s ethnic groups, working to help those on the periphery enter into the mainstream of Israeli life.

At his funeral, this woman had to share a memory with his family and President Rivlin.

Military escort for Yitzhak Navon arrival at Beit Hanasi

In the critical years 1946-1948, Navon served as head of the Arab section of the Haganah in Jerusalem.

In 1951, he began a decade-long career in senior administrative posts in the offices of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and of its first Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moshe Sharett.

Navon served as deputy speaker of the Knesset, and chairman of the Knesset Committee on Foreign and Defense Affairs.

In 1983, Navon turned down the opportunity to run for a second term of office. Instead he returned to politics, the only Israeli ex-president to do so, and served as Minister of Education and Culture, remaining in the Knesset until 1992.

Israeli President Yitzhak Navon funeral at Beit Hanasi

When the polls showed that Navon was more popular than Labor chairman Shimon Peres, Peres was pressured to step aside and allow Navon to take over the party leadership.

Navon’s fluency in Arabic made him especially popular among Arab and Mizrahi voters. However, at his funeral, which was open to the public at Beit Hanasi, few came early to pay respects, though more were reported attending later.

Navon was fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, Ladino, French and English. In October 1980, he visited Egypt, the first official visit by an Israeli president to an Arab state at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat. Navon impressed his hosts with his eloquent Arabic, breaking the ice and demolishing stereotypes of Israelis and Jews as a “foreign element” to the region.

He also paid a state visit to the United States at the invitation of President Reagan.

Former home of Israeli President Yitahak Navon gets blue tourist sign

November 6, came and went with little notice, three years since he died, but new signs are seen on Jerusalem streets.

Yitzhak Navon 5th president of Israel home becomes historical location

A blue historical information sign shows where Yitzhak Navon lived in his last years.

Yitzhak Navon train station in Jerusalem Israel

The new Jerusalem Train Station has opened.

New Jerusalem fast train station

As more people ride the new fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv,

Fast train station Jerusalem Israel

more will see the name Yitzhak Navon, a former President of Israel who lived a long life, and excelled in more areas of arts and language than listed here.

From chasing Nazi war criminals in South America, to attending events close to the end of his long and full life, Yitzhak Navon is truly a name to remember.

We can only wonder if Navon had led the negotiations with Egypt on Sinai, would the fate of Yamit and Gaza have been the same?

 

SIGD Celebrated in Jerusalem

SIGD Celebrated in Jerusalem

Sigd is one of the most photo worthy, special annual events held in Jerusalem, Israel.

Tens of thousands Ethiopian-Israelis and others gathered at the Tayelet, Armon Hanatziv promenade, for the annual Sigd Festival gathering today. Prayers went from early morning through to breaking a fast at 2:00 pm.

Sigd in Jerusalem Israel

Crowds lined the path and filled gardens of the Tayelet with the Old City in view.

Men around Ethiopian holy book at Sigd in tayelet

Besides the main ceremony, men were gathered around their holy books.

View on Old City on Sigd with figures dressed as in time to Beit Hamikdash

These cutout figures were dressed as in Temple times.

Ethiopian Israeli man and woman with view of Jerusalem in background

Generations of Ethiopian-Israelis come together on Sigd.

Sigd Ethiopian festival in Jerusalem Israel

For thousands of years in Ethiopia, they dreamed of returning to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Israel women in costume for Sigd

For Sigd, smiles and colorful costumes were abundant.

Ethiopian Sigd holiday and women praying.

White clothing was worn by women dressed in old traditional outfits prayering.

Sigd prayers in Jerusalem Israel

These women were probably all born in Ethiopia, each must have a story of how they and families arrived in Israel.

Crowds were huge. Security was especially tight.

Jerusalem Israel Ethiopian Israeli rabbi Rav Shaul

But at least I got to see Rav Shaul and others arrive and enter, as I impatiently waited entry.

Kessim on stage for Sigd at Haas Promenade

Once in the very restricted area, this was view of the main stage with the Kessim under colorful umbrellas.

Ethiopian religious leaders Kessim in Jerusalem for Sigd

The prayers were still being chanted around noon.

Kessim at Sigd Jerusalem Israel

One man near the stage raised his hands in prayer.

Kessim shaking hands with President Rivlin at Sigd

President Rivlin reached up to shake hands with the Kessim as he proceeded to the stage to speak.

Ethiopian Israeli women walking to find bus home from Sigd

So many buses, from all over Israel were lined up, it was a long walk for these women to find their bus home. One was complaining in Hebrew about the distance, but I thought how much longer and difficult was the journey from Ethiopia to Israel.

Sigd was celebrated 50 days after Yom Kippur by Ethiopian Jews going to the mountains yearning to return to Zion. On the top of the mountain, the faithful would pray and fast. At the conclusion of the prayers, the Kessim would break bread known as Dabu which symbolized the bread served in the Temple. Today in Jerusalem, Israel, Sigd was remembered looking toward the Old City and site of the Temple.

Here is a short video near the end of the prayer service.

More Sigd photos on Facebook HERE 

What’s New in Jerusalem After Holidays?

What’s New in Jerusalem After Holidays?

The holidays are over.

It is time to get “back to normal.”

The Knesset winter season has opened, and universities are back in session.

A rocket from Gaza destroyed a home in Beer Sheva overnight.

Thankfully the mother was able to run with her 3 sleeping children to a safe room.

In Beer Sheva schools are closed, as students are home for a “rocket day.”

Happy New Year sign up way after new year in Jerusalem Israel

On one Jerusalem, Israel, street, the Happy New Year signs were still up.

Jerusalem Israel building cranes

And building cranes were also up, way up, and back to the business of building.

Jerusalem Israel Montefiore Windmill shield of arms over door

The Montefiore Windmill is now open as a winery and tourist spot.

The missing Monefiore coat of arms seems to be back over the door.

Bride and groom in Inbal lobby Jerusalem Israel

After the holidays, weddings galore filled the days and nights.

Ben Gurion actor in Jerusalem Israel at Christian Media Summit

Conferences and Israel 70-year missions are too many to list, enough to surprise Ben Gurion.

Jerusalem Israel conference with US Ambassador Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu on stage

Two hundred international Christian media professionals came for a media summit.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and US Ambassador Friedman were featured at the opening event.

I met a woman from Canada, a radio team from Estonia, and sat next to a working couple from The Hague, all supporters of Israel.

These visitors were all excited and happy to be here.

Security at First Station at end of day

Check out the security, still partially visible as I left the event at First Station.

Har Hazaytim tour buses in Jerusalem Israel

After the holidays tourist buses were still lining the road on Har Hazeitim, the Mount of Olives.

Record numbers of tourists arrived this past year in Israel.

Ido Aharoni diagram at ITSS

Ido Aharoni told the International Tourism Security Summit (ITSS) that Israel’s Main Value is its creativity. He used as an example actors in a theater group who bake bread on stage as part of the show. All the actors are blind and deaf, and use 1500 physical cues to perform perfectly every night in the theater.

which kills more people sharks or coconuts?

Summit seems to be the new term for conference. Some of the slides at the ITSS were great.

This one I really appreciated. Who knew how many people are killed by falling coconuts a year?

Night on porch of Inbal Hotel Jerusalem Israel

The Inbal has been renovating, and the patio was lovely at night,

View from Inbal balcony at night Jerusalem

as was the view over the Liberty Bell Park with the Dan Boutique Hotel lit up in the distance.

German Chancellor and Israeli President in Jerusalem Israel

As soon as the holidays were over, Angela Merkel arrived in Israel.

Israeli President House lunch for German delegation in Jerusalem Israel

The German Chancellor, her delegation, and Israeli guests were served lunch at Beit Hanasi.

Prof Aumann talks with Andrea Merkel at Beit Hanasi lunch

I wondered what Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Aumann said to Merkel as she entered the room with the Israeli President.

Jerusalem Israeli President House reception for Andrea Merkel and delegates

Other Nobel Prize winners were invited, and the only female Israeli winner sat next to Merkel.

Jerusalem street blocked to traffic during visit of German chancellor

Most people only paid attention to the German delegation in Jerusalem when streets were closed.

After the holidays, and traffic was back to normal, filling the streets.

Rabbinic Judges Swearing in at Israeli President House

Twenty-four new rabbinical court judges were sworn in this week at Beit Hanasi.

New Rabbinical judges with Israeli President

This photo of the President, Chief Rabbis and the head of selection committee has received attention for being all male.

Rabbi Amar and Rabbi Yosef at Israeli President House

But have you seen this photo? I am looking for good caption, open to suggestions.

This is only a fraction of what has been happening, and so much more is scheduled for after the holidays.

A Jerusalem favorite starts tomorrow.

Over 120 varied locations are open for free in the annual  100 Houses from Within 

Jerusalem Israel Zeev Elkin office

Municipal elections are at the end of October.

Signs were popping up everywhere.

This pop-up store front became a campaign location.

Holidays may be over, but much is still happening on the Jerusalem streets.