Jerusalem Getting Back to Normal

People are slowly coming back onto the Jerusalem streets, like bears emerging slowly from hibernation, lumbering up from deep in their caves.

Recognizing friends you have not seen in over a year (or was it two?) whose faces are hidden behind a mask is not so easy. But what a pleasure it is to reunite and speak to people in real life, rather than via a computer screen.

Weddings with bubbles and brides! What could be better this week? Albeit with caution and held outside, but celebrations are back, better than last year and with anticipation and enthusiasm.

Organized tour groups have returned to the Jerusalem streets.

The Kotel (Western Wall) train is back in business.

Not your usual train tunnel

or usual train track,

but the Kotel train, love it or hate it, is back on the Jerusalem streets.

Inside and even outside the walls of the Old City, photoshoots for bar mitzvahs and other celebrations are common again.

Shopping at Mamilla Mall? Masks are needed inside stores, but not outside.

The cats are not back, they never left the Jerusalem streets. Need at least one cat photo, here in the new parking lot in the Armenian Quarter.

Parking in Jerusalem has never been easy, but these workers found a convenient spot on the sidewalk near the construction area at the Paris Fountain.

Remember the parking lot at Shaare Zedek hospital that opened up and swallowed cars? Repair work has progressed, but the area is still not back to normal.

Construction outside the hospital parking area is only part of the story.

The work on the new Route 16 nearby is extensive.

Mountains of dirt are being moved, and

tunnels are emerging from underground.

On the other side of Shmuel Bait Street, there is more huge equipment.

Part of the mountain is gone to make room for new lanes of traffic.

A whole new scene awaits when you return to these Jerusalem streets.

As mentioned last week the Jerusalem Marathon is back!

The Sports Expo returns for two days, October 26-28, at a new venue in the Jerusalem Cinema City, before the Friday marathon races.

Will the new children’s playground at Sacher Park be ready in time?

Participants will see new buildings in the city center as they run by.

The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference is to be held at the new The Museum of Tolerance building. Last year it was held online.

Israeli President House lunch for German delegation in Jerusalem Israel

Andrea Merkel is back again. Three years ago this was the table set for the German Chancellor at a special lunch at Beit Hanasi, with then-President Reuven Rivlin and Israeli Nobel Prize winners. This time no media, private lunch for two, but I did see her motorcade leave.

The First Station parking lot has been full at night. People are back in large numbers. But, the winter igloos have popped up for those who still need more time in a cave and are not ready to party in crowds.

Here’s to celebrating, coming back, and enjoying life.

Hope to see you soon on the Jerusalem streets!

Jerusalem under Corona Going Up

For months I stayed close to home, so when I ventured out it was a shock.

In Jerusalem, Israel, walking in the park and nature areas had been a daily relief from COVID-19 limitations. But seeing what had been done to the Jerusalem streets in my absence was amazing.

Israel Park with people

Some locations recently renovated have become popular out door spaces.

With the announcement of the renovation, expansion, and renaming of the Jerusalem International Conference Center for Shimon Peres, it was time to go again see what was happening.

It was exciting to see new stairs leading up to where the old parking lot was located. The past years access has been difficult with so many changes in the infrastructure. Every time you came for an event, there was a new traffic pattern and the old stairs were gone.

Jerusalem of old is going and the new is going down and up and up.

The old Kraft Stadium has gone down, just down as seen from the street.

But the housing across the road has gone up and up.

This new Abba Eban Street was one of the first in the neighborhood.

The old Foreign Ministry campus is now a luxury housing project going up.

The bollards are up on the new sidewalk in front the Netanyahu house.

But business in the area is down. This red antique van, parked near Balfour Street for a very long time, was in front of a closed restaurant.

The restaurants and bars are closed, but the bakery is open with patrons waiting outside at a distance, and many food places are selling take out.

Not so easy for a tailor to social distance and survive financially.

But walk up the street and there are new traffic lights and construction.

First time I saw a worker cutting stones on the spot.

The street by the Ohel Nechama Synagogue on the way to the Jerusalem Theater is being redone.

The Jerusalem Theater looks the same, however, it is closed. I just missed a dance class which took place on the plaza outside in front.

This is the new footpath and view from the Jerusalem Theater plaza.

The footpath leads to the new parking lot for the theatre. Seems the builders added a couple of extra floors and now construction has stopped and the action has moved to the court room.

The area around the Jerusalem Theater is very different. Be warned the first time you go to give yourself extra time to figure out which direction is up or down or around.

The Museum of Islamic Art, as are the other museums, is closed and in financial trouble with no visitors. An auction of 200 items from the private museum’s storerooms was halted due to negative publicity.

But there should be more concern for the small business owner who can’t legally open their doors.

Walking around the Jerusalem streets, building after building is going up.

Bus stops have been moved, streets were redone with commercial parking.

The construction fence is gone, and now there’s a new theater in Liberty Bell Park near the rollerblading skating rink and new parking lot.

New seating areas with wooden benches and shade grace more Jerusalem streets since the novel coronavirus crippled the tourism industry.

New paths with fancy wood garbage bins have been installed in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, along with lots of new landscaping.

But walking around Jerusalem, it was good to see some of the familiar sites.

The stairs in Yemin Moshe look the same as before the novel coronavirus.

And the Lion Fountain was back on! No children were splashing and cooling in the water as in past years, but the big lion had the same one drop drip from his chin as before.

So much had changed on the Jerusalem streets over the spring and summer.

The Tower of David is closed to the public for a major renovation. I will share that big project next time. Meanwhile, I will end with a clip from the King David Night and Light Show. Can’t wait to see what they do next!

Hope to be able to share the real Jerusalem streets with you in person soon.

Jerusalem Building Up and Out of Sight

Jerusalem Building Up and Out of Sight

I am a Stephen Harper fan.

When he was the Prime Minister of Canada, I admired his strong support for Israel.

Jerusalem, Israel visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife

In 2014, when he paid an official visit to Jerusalem, Israel, with his wife Laureen,

Cat under Israeli and Canadian flags for Prime Minister Stephen Harper visit

I arrived so early that only a cat was wandering around with me.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu at official reception ceremony for Stephen Harper of Canada

I don’t remember what Harper’s remark was that got the Israeli Prime Minister laughing.

But thanks to Stephen Harper’s inspiring pro-Israel speech at the Shurat Hadin conference, I now have a great quote to share along with these photos I have been saving.

Near the conclusion of his speech which came out strongly against BDS, Harper said of Israel, “Built from nothing to be one of the most successful countries on earth.”

While not many people are attending all the multiple conferences and various leadership meetings this week, it is hard to avoid the building going on in Jerusalem, Israel.

Building site in Jerusalem Israel

Construction sites around Jerusalem are similar to this one. First, earth-moving equipment digs down, down into the ground.

Jerusalem man on crane

Look up and you will see a crane.

Building crane in Jerusalem Israel

Cranes tower high above Jerusalem buildings.

New building for Jerusalem hospital under construction

This huge hole in the ground is to be the new Shaare Zedek Hospital building.

Photo of planned hospital at Shaare Zedek

An underground radiotherapy specialty unit is to rise on this site.

Jerusalem Israel National Library construction

These cranes, a lovely sight at night, are busy all day and late into the night, working on the National Library.

Jerusalem Israel construction new National Library

Earth moving equipment is now shoveling the huge pile of stones. The Knesset across the road is seen clearly in this image.

Sign with Jerusalem National Library on construction fence

A photo of the new library is on the construction fence.

Jerusalem Israel construction site of new national library

It is finally up to ground level and looks like this.

Old hotel in Jerusalem valuable property derelict

While there are still some of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world in disrepair,

Shneller new buildings on property day man fell

other locations have buildings going up to new proportions. This housing complex is being built on the old Shneller grounds in Geula.

On the day this was taken a worker fell and was transported to hospital by ambulance. Building safety is a serious issue.

Construction site in Jerusalem Israel

The old Moment Cafe was hit by a suicide bomber in 2002 and the memorial is visible in this construction fence. In its last restaurant life, it was the site of Cafe de Paris.

Truck in building site former Moment Cafe

Now construction has begun on luxury apartment units.

Old Moment Cafe, Cafe de Paris new building as seen from street promotion

In one peephole was the image of the future building.

Old photo of Ben Maimon Street Jerusalem Israel

This is an image of how that corner looked in the past, an empty lot in old Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Israel First Station - Takana Rishona

And the old Jerusalem train station has been fixed up as a tourist attraction.

Jerusalem Takana Rishona

It is now called, Takhana Rishona, or First Station, note this piece of land and the tree.

Image cable car from First Station to Old City

The Jerusalem cable car line is to be located at First Station.

Jerusalem cable car

This cable car line is proposed to take thousands of visitors to the Old City.

No more sitting on buses in traffic? We will see if and when.

Talpiot Jerusalem Israel location to ear outside

In the shopping area of Talpiot, these red shelters were built for passers-by to have a bite to eat,

Jerusalem Israel Talpiot red structure

or perhaps to hang out while someone else shops.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti in Talpiot

Graffiti has been added in multiple locations to brighten up Talpiot.

Jerusalem Israel Getaway building project

But with all the building around Jerusalem, it is the Jerusalem Gateway project which is designed to bring the biggest change.

Jerusalem new entrance to city sign

Roads are closed and traffic has been redirected at the entrance to Jerusalem.

Construction in Jerusalem Israel

Construction is ongoing and the area looks different every time I see it.

new Jerusalem court building

The municipality published images of the new court buildings to be built along Jaffa Road.

Jerusalem new court building

With the housing and new business district to be built at the entrance to Jerusalem, the skyline of Jerusalem in the future will look very different than in the past.

Colorful umbrellas over Kikar HaMusica

At least the colorful umbrellas are again a familiar sight over Kikar HaMusica, Music Square.

Jerusalem lit on String Bridge at night

The Jerusalem Chord Bridge glows with lights at night.

Hi rise building in Jerusalem

Lights or flags, Jerusalem is going up and up and out of sight.

I heart Jerusalem sign

Even the Old City walls have a new-age ‘I Love Jerusalem’ sign.

As he ended his speech Stephen Harper said he admired the building and what had been accomplished in Israel in seven decades.

It is a wonder with all the outside and inside forces working against Israel, that so much has been built.

So much is happening on these Jerusalem streets.

Look down. Look up.

Building for the future while preserving the past.