The Secret of Israel’s Success

The Secret of Israel’s Success

Another Passover has passed over.

Burnt chometz in Yerushalayim

In one week we went from burnt bread on the streets,

Matzah crumbs on Jerusalem street end of Passover in Israel

to pieces of crushed matzah.

Passover in Jerusalem Park

Tens of thousands celebrated with outings to Jerusalem parks. Hopefully, each year more and more visitors will clean up after themselves.

Botanical Gardens Jerusalem on Pesach

The best of Passover included the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. Parking a car was a problem, as it was such a popular site.

Kosher for Pesach pizza in First Station in Jerusalem Israel

Fresh pizza made out of potato flour, instead of wheat, was available in First Station and at many other locations over Passover. Now it is back to regular flour.

Moment Cafe, Cafe de Paris location

Over the holiday week, the furniture, dishes, and equipment were removed. Now even the sign is gone from what was recently Cafe de Paris. This was the site of the Moment Cafe and a tragic suicide bombing in 2002. It also was one of our favorite kosher pizza places as tourists years ago. Now we hear that this corner location across from the Prime Minister’s Residence, where US secret service agents would hang out on breaks from duty guarding presidents, is to become an apartment building.

Free Avera Mengistu shirts and signs in Jerusalem Israel

Have you heard the name Avera Mengistu? Do you know where Avera is?

Next to the Prime Minister’s Residence, where the Shalit family set up their encampment, is a new protest tent.

Protest tent for release of Avera Mengistu from Gaza held by Hamas

Avera has been held captive in Gaza for over 3 years, over 1308 days. His family and friends are trying to raise awareness and get Avera, who suffers from mental disorder and was a civilian who somehow wandered over the border, home safely.

In the rain yesterday, there were people still under that shelter and there were protest marches in a number of cities. Today for first time I heard his brother interviewed on the radio.

Congrats well done, almost at finish line in Jerusalem Israel leftover from marathon

“WELL DONE, you’re almost at the finish line” was a sign I saw on my way to Gan Sacher on Passover. It was for the full marathon runners as they came near the end of their run. Now that the Passover things are put away and the cleanup is almost over, it feels like I reached the finish line.

However, there is no down time in Jerusalem, Israel,

#Israel70 flags hung on building of Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, Israel

and the large Israeli flags are up on the Jewish Agency Building.

#Israel70 new flags for Beit Hanasi, President's House Jerusalem, Israel

New flags are flying near Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

The upcoming Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, Israel at 70 celebrations are meant to be bigger than ever.

Har Herzl Yom Ha'atzmaut rehearsal female soldiers

Rehearsals for the opening ceremony at Har Herzl have begun.

Har Herzl Ceremony rehearsal soldiers in uniform with flags

Soldiers with flags practice to march for perfection for the live television broadcast.

Opening ceremony of Israel 70 year Independence Day on Har Herzl in Jerusalem , Israel

The huge staging area is under construction.

Israeli soldiers practice for Yom Ha'atzmaut Israel 70 celebration

These are the young men and women proudly serving in the security services to defend the State of Israel.

Israeli soldiers in uniform pose for photo

The secret of Israel’s success?

According to expert strategist Yaakov Amidror, Israelis have a “bad habit” by living life and not stopping with every tension, until the first ammunition is used on other side. The secret is to continue to act as if nothing is happening around us, to live and work and enjoy regular life, to plan and celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. 

But when force is needed, as in past wars, to count on the IDF to be prepared and defend us, and to make wars as short as we can.

Light rail train and people out in Jerusalem on Jaffa Street near Zion Square

Israel at 70, going forward and strong.

 

Best of Passover in Jerusalem

Best of Passover in Jerusalem

The Passover holiday in Jerusalem, Israel, is always a busy time with so much to do.

After days of cleaning and shopping, and a late night seder, what next?

This year I decided not to spend hours in the car along with millions of other Israelis going to lush camping sights and sandy beaches, but rather to stay home and explore what Jerusalem has to offer.

Now to share with you some of the best of Jerusalem for Passover this year 5778.

Where else to start, but with food.

Jerusalem Israel humus shop closed for Pesach

Some restaurants like this new humus place were closed tight for Passover.

Kosher for Pesach Holy Bagel and Shwarma in Old City for Pesach

But not to worry, in Jerusalem, there was an abundance of kosher for Passover places to eat. This Holy Bagel in the Old City is not only mehadrin kosher, but “KOSHER without fear of legumes!”

Pesach pizza and matza in Mamilla Mall for Pesach

With baskets of matza on the table, this potato crust pizza looked good enough to eat. People were standing in lines for seats to taste for themselves.

Pesach in Jerusalem food displayed in window for Pesach

Pizza, rolls, sandwiches, pies, cakes and more…one of the best places for Passover food is in Jerusalem, Israel.

Pesach crowd in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem, Israel, with two Muslim women walking through the mall

Mamilla Mall was busy and crowded with local shoppers and international tourists, plus entertainment and performances for children.

Pesach in Jerusalem, people dressed in varied clothing

Another favorite was seeing the clothing in the Old City, with many dressed in their holiday finest, wearing every type of outfit imaginable.

View of Tower of David inside Citadel on spring day of Passover

With so many activities for families, it was hard to decide what to do first, as dozens of museums and sites were free for children. The Tower of David had families walking, touring, and climbing.

Ramparts walk in Jerusalem on Pesach

From the Tower of David you could see the Old City ramparts walk with tourists going along the top of the walls of the Old City.

Volunteers pouring water to give away to visitors to Old City on Pesach

Days were warm and the sun beat down midday. But volunteers were in several locations in Old City offering cups of water, free to all who walked by.

Menorah in Rova in front of Hurva Shul for construction of new elevator to Western Wall Kotel

The Golden Menorah was moved near the Hurva Synagogue, where tourists were busy taking photos.

Construction fence at site of new elevator for access to Kotel near steps where menorah had been before in Jewish Quarter

This menorah is a photo posted near where the gold one was located. The Western Wall elevator is to be constructed here.

Remember I said every type of clothing imaginable? How about a Betar uniform from the 1920’s?

Pesach crowd in Kotel plaza after Birkat Kohanim on Pesach

It was reported 100,000 people were at Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, Monday morning.

Afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach at Kotel

In the afternoon and for most of the week, the Western Wall Plaza was still filled with families.

Visitors to Western Wall Plaza from Rova on afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach

All day long tens of thousands of people came and went from the Old City.

Visitors line up to go to Temple Mount on Passover afternoon

This line was not at the security entrance leading to the women’s section, but just a long line of tourists waiting to access the Temple Mount.

Pesach afternoon and egalitarian space at Western Wall was empty

The egalitarian section, however, was almost empty. On the right of this photo, if you look very closely, you can see children playing near the stones from the Second Temple.

While so many were in the Old City, other Jerusalem locations were also holiday destinations.

Gan Sacher on Pesach with people grilling and lounging

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, smoke filled the air with dozens of extended families grilling meat for large meals, with boxes of matza on the tables.

Passover in Jerusalem, Israel, in Gan Sacher

Children were playing as family members and friends were sitting and talking or playing sports.

Another extremely popular destination was the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens pond on Passover

Thousands of people wandered the grounds over Passover.

Pond lily in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

I was fascinated by these flowers in the pond. There is so much beauty in what was formerly a garbage dump.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens children's activity on Passover

There were planned and supervised activities for children,

Boy and girl looking at flowers in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

as well as colorful flowers to capture their attention.

Jerusalem park on Pesach with people eating and grilling

Nayot Park was one of dozens of Jerusalem parks where grills were going, smoke was rising, and matza was on the table.

One parking spot is worth standing until your car arrives in Jerusalem on Passover

Driving in many locations took much longer than usual. Finding parking was not always easy. A free parking spot in a good location was worth saving.

There were varied musical events at night, too numerous to list.

Old places like Hansen House were full of activity.

So much was happening in Jerusalem this Passover week.

More photos: Old City HERE    Gan Sacher HERE   Botanical Gardens  HERE

I will end with a video of the Birkat Kohanim,

Pesach in Gan Sacher two little boys palying

and one of my favorite photos, of these young cousins getting to know each other at a Gan Sacher picnic.

Wishing all a good holiday and Shabbat Shalom

 

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.