Winter and Holiday Lights in Jerusalem

Winter and Holiday Lights in Jerusalem

Oh, what a week in Jerusalem, Israel!

A new survey stated that 57% of the Israeli public is unhappy with their existing work-life balance.

However, in response to various initiatives to shorten the workweek in Israel, 62% of the employees prefer leaving the situation as is – vacation on Friday and working on Sunday.

Wonder what the results of a survey asking about having three elections in a year would be?

Israeli Knesset at night with lights on

The lights of the Knesset were burning brightly Wednesday after midnight, as another government fell. Or did never get started?

Photo on King George Street in Jerusalem of future Knesset Museum

The only thing taking more time is the future Knesset Museum. Though it appears little is happening inside, the outside got a new construction fence.

Road work on Jerusalem Israel street

Construction seems to be everywhere, with streets and sidewalks closed.

One never knows when traffic will come to a stop or when you will have to walk in the street.

Road work and street closings seem to pop up as often as pre-holiday sales.

Winter morning on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem Israel

It is winter. Even Jaffa Road starts slowly on cold mornings.

New building in Jerusalem across from the Jerusalem Theater

With the short winter days, construction goes on as the sun sets.

Jerusalem is getting a new look.

Jerusalem rubbish truck

New signs for a pretty Jerusalem are displayed on the garbage trucks.

Water for fire emergency

Fire hydrants got a fresh coat of paint.

Lion of Jerusalem near Montefiore Windmill

The Lion of Jerusalem looked freshly painted and regal over the empty flower bed across from Liberty Bell Park near the Montefiore Windmill.

Cleaning the notes from Kotel in Jerusalem Old City

Record numbers of tourists in Jerusalem and visitors to Kotel, the Western Wall, means more notes to remove before the holiday crowds next week.

Jerusalem Education Week

It’s Jerusalem Education Week from December 15 -20. The opening event was held at the Jerusalem Cinematheque with the Mayor and Education Minister attending.

However, though I planned to go, I skipped that one.

Jerusalem Israel final of Talmud Israeli Hiddon participants

The same evening, in the Jerusalem Theater, Rebecca Crown Auditorium the first International Israeli Talmud competition was held.

Talmud Israeli international competition at Jerusalem Theater

From over 1000 participants, the final round winners posed with Education Minister Rav Rafi Peretz.

Mayor Moshe Lion and the Education Minister went from the Jerusalem Theater to the Jerusalem Cinematheque for the Education Week event. I decided to go home for some hot soup.

Winter festivals and events included a sports morning at First Station.

Ethiopian music festival at First Station and other Jerusalem locations

The 10th Hullegeb Festival Jerusalem is at the Jerusalem Theater and other locations from December 19-24. Ethiopian Music from the “golden age” to hip hop is to be featured.

Van Leer Institute sign for winter programs in Jerusalem Israel

The Jerusalem Van Leer Institute has a full program for December.

The 21st Jewish Film Festival is on from Dec 19-26 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

The International Chess championships are at the Notre Dame Center.

Chanukiah on Jerusalem street

It’s official. The winter holiday season has begun – the first Habad Hanukia popped up on a street corner.

Haunkka in Jerusalem Israel Old City

It’s almost Hanukkah – however you want to spell it this year.

Fruit in Jerusalem shuk, Makane Yehuda Market

Fruits in the Machane Yehudah Market, the shuk are plentiful and colorful.

Hanuka donuts in shuck in Jerusalem

American style donuts are out along with traditional Israeli ones

Chanuka donute Roladin

and more exotic sufganiyot.

One way to burn off some of the holiday food calories is the Jerusalem Crossroads 6th annual Night Run, which is set for December 26.

Shuk fresh strawberries in winter Jerusalem

And a favorite in Jerusalem for winter – strawberries are piled up in the shuk.

Jerusalem Snowman

This snowman was looking rather sad and worn.

Jerusalem Christmas decorations at YMCA

But the YMCA is decorated for a month of holidays.

Holiday lights in Jerusalem Armenian Quarter

In an Old City Armenian Quarter restaurant, the lights burn brightly all day.

And holiday lights will line the Jerusalem streets.

The list of events, tours and Hanukkah holiday lights of the nights – too long for now.

Jerusalem Holiday of Lights

Jerusalem Happy Holiday of Lights.

4 Stops in Shomron: See Old and New

4 Stops in Shomron: See Old and New

At first, I said no.

I had been on trips to the Shomron (Samaria) in the past.

The schedule seemed similar to previous visits to the Shomron and Barkan.

However, on Sunday morning, as the Jerusalem, Israel skies turned grey,

String Bridge in Jerusalem Israel on a cloudy winter morning

I was on a bus on my way out of town before the rain started to come down…

and come down long and hard on the very dry Jerusalem streets.

Arab village with nice and new houses in West Bank

As we drove away from Jerusalem, the morning sky was blue and clear.

Clouds gathered as we neared the Barkan Industrial Park in the Shomron.

Ariel Industrial zone from Shomron road

The view from the road to Barkan of Ariel Industrial Park was as impressive as ever.   The development and growth in the once-barren hills is amazing.

Israel Allies Foundation meeting in Shomron with Yossi Dagan and David Haivri

Stop #1 in the Barkan included greetings from the Shomron Council officials to the Israel Allies international parliamentarians.  These supporters of Israel had come from around the world.

Sierra Leone Thomas Coker and US SC Alan Clemmons take a selfie on Israel Allies tour to Shomron

I have an entire album of selfies.  Dr. Thomas Coker of Sierre Leone taking a photo with Alan Clemmons of South Carolina has to be the new favorite.

Full disclosure – one of the main reasons I decided to go was to meet Facebook friend Rep. Alan Clemmons who initiated the first US anti-BDS legislation in South Carolina. Over half the US states now have similar laws against Israeli boycotts.

 "Never Again will nations stand silent in the face of boycotts against the Jewish people," parliamentarians and sign

“Never Again will nations stand silent in the face of boycotts against the Jewish people,” stated this declaration signed by the international group of 25 ministers and parliamentarians.

MK Miki Zohar at Barkan Industrial zone for IAF lawmakers

MK Miki Zohar held up a photo of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel z”l  and Ziv Hajbi z”l as he addressed the delegation. The signing and speeches were held in the parking lot of the Twitoplast factory.

In October last year, this workplace of coexistence, that I had written about more than once, was the shocking scene of terror when the two young parents were murdered.

IAF Josh Reinstein, parents of terror victims and MK Miki Zohar at Barkan Industrial Park one year after murder

Ziv’s mother spoke as did Kim’s father (seated in center). Both asked the international lawmakers to get their governments to stop funding terror. Standing is IAF President Josh Reinstein, and sitting next to the podium is Yossi Dagan of Shomron Council.

No trip to the Barkan is complete without Moshe Lev Ran, who spoke to the international visitors in the Twitoplast factory.

Moshe’s smile and message were not new.

As I have shared in the past, these factories in the Shomron employ thousands of Arab workers. Work in these Jewish businesses means higher salaries and benefits than under PA.   If an Israel business is forced to close from the EU labeling restrictions and boycott, those hurt most are the families of the Arab employees.

Factory in Barkan Industrial Park

Each time I go to the factory there seem to be more products.

Israel Twito, the creative genius behind Twitoplast, has over 100 patents.

This graphic makes the areas A, B, C, clearer than if I tried to explain the complex situation of governance in Yehudah and Shomron.

Red signs forbidding Israeli citizens entry to Arab village

Roads in the Shomron in area “A” have red signs not allowing Israelis to enter.

As you can see the weather had changed by the time we left Barkan.

West Bank scene where person was killed by terrorist and memorial set up

The memorials of terror victims are along the road near intersections.

West Bank Israel scene from road of small village and rolling hills

Villages in the valley sit between the rolling hills that line the road.

New housing on the hilltops gets more impressive with each visit.

Stop #2 was also a repeat and as expected the Kabir Winery lunch was excellent.

The second reason I decided to go was that Leah Goldin, mother of Hadar Goldin z”l, was to speak after lunch.  For 5 years and 4 months, she has tried to get her son’s remains, held captive in Gaza by Hamas, returned to Israel for burial.

I was on a bus returning to Jerusalem from Soroka Hosptial in Beer Sheva after the supposed 2014 ceasefire. Rockets were still being fired, and we could see the Iron Dome at work.

Hamas killed and captured Hadar two hours after the “cease-fire” began- a war crime and against humanitarian rules of conduct. Goldin wanted to make the legislators aware and urged them to help in their home countries.

Stop #3 was in Shiloh.

Israeli Allies leaders at Shilon

This was done very quickly as the sun was setting soon.

Shiloh Alan Clemmons at Israel Allies IAF

Minutes after this it started to rain.

Shiloh with international IAD parliamentarians

Very quickly the group posed for a photo next to the new colorful display of the Twelve Tribes.

I went prepared for the day with an umbrella and plastic bags, however, they were on the bus.

Ancient tabernacle of Shiloh and Jewish holy ark in new hologram movie

We ran up the hill in the dark and rain to shelter in the Shiloh hologram show of ancient Shiloh, and movie reenactment with actors.

For 369 years ancient Shiloh was the site of the Tabernacle before King Solomon built his temple in Jerusalem. You will have to come to see for yourself, as rainy nights are not the best conditions for photography.

Stop #4 was the Psagot Winery.

Psagot Winery restaurant

Another ride up a winding, narrow road to a mountain top, to the warmth of a fine restaurant.

Psagot Wine bottles at Winery

And wine. Good wine. Psagot owners went to the ICC international court to try and reverse the EU labeling against Jewish businesses in the Shomron. They lost, but they plan to keep trying. With 200 disputed territories in the world, they ask why only Jewish Israelis have to be singled out with special labeling?

Having been in the Shomron, it was good to see and hear the old and new.

Plenty was happening on the Jerusalem streets, besides heavy rain.

UN Ambassadors at Israeli President's house on tour led by Danny Danon

A tour of Ambassadors to the UN, led by Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon was at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s House.

For most of the international diplomats, it was their first trip to Israel.

In Jerusalem a group of Arab high school students going to Islamic Museum

While they were in private discussions with President Rivlin, across the street, a group of Arab students was on their way to the Islamic Museum

More from Leah Goldin speaking about humanitarian and legal issues.

More Facebook Shomron photos of the trip HERE 

More from what’s happening in Jerusalem, Israel next time.

As November Ends in Jerusalem Photos of 9 Happenings

As November Ends in Jerusalem Photos of 9 Happenings

Jerusalem, Israel, was warmer than usual this fall.

The usual complaints of bone-chilling cold winter weather have been missing.

Rose in full bloom in Jerusalem Israel garden

My third growth of roses was impressive enough to share.

Hebrew welcome to Knesset sign

The Knesset entrance looked nicely kept with green landscaped welcome.

What’s happening–or not happening–inside appears to be a mess.

Sign and new sidewalk area near the entrance to Israel Museum

But, across the street from the Knesset, the Israel Museum entrance has a clean new look.

Do you think this time of year, from “after the holidays” until Hanukkah, it’s quiet on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets?

Not at all, some evenings there are multiple events at the same time!

Israeli President hosts press conference for January Antisemitism conference at Yad Vashem

  1. At Beit Hanasi, President Rivlin hosted a press conference to launch an international conference on antisemitism at Yad Vashem at the end of January.

Ben Moor and Steve LInde BDS and Antisemitism at Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference

2. At the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference,  Chief strategist and Foreign Ministry PMO spokesperson Ben Moore, during an interview with Steve Linde, pointed to recently published antisemitic cartoons.

Unmasking BDS at Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference

The results of his research have confirmed that the BDS movement has succeeded in mainstreaming and desensitizing the West to antisemitism in the Israel context.

J Post diplomatic conference panel on world antisemitism

Another international panel discussed antisemitism. Paul Packer from the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad expressed US support for Israel.

J Post Mario Bucoro Ambassador from Guatemala to Israel at J Post Diplomatic Conference

Ambassador Mario Bucaro of Guatemala (third from left) was one of the foreign dignitaries attending.

Tourism Ilanti Melchior sustainable at J Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem

There was more than antisemitism, politicians, and journalists.  Tourism was the topic of Ilanit Melchior’s TEDTalk.

Ilanit Melchior with tourism sustainable slide of world cities.

With 2.5 million visitors to Jerusalem over the holiday season, sustainability and accessibility are important topics. The traffic from tourist buses and rental cars can be felt on the streets.

A very different conference that did not receive as much media attention was held in the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

ICC Temech Conference 2019

3. The tenth Temech Conference for Israeli businesswomen and female entrepreneurs attracted 1000 women from the north and south to Jerusalem.

Tenth Temech Conference networking area in Binynei Hauma

Networking is a very important feature of this event run by women for women.

The English track was smaller than in the past, but the Hebrew-speaking program has grown.

Temech Conference at Jerusalem International Conference Center

The theme ‘Unlock the Wealth’ had panels and speakers appreciated by women aspiring to grow their various endeavors.

Elimination of violence against women rape crisis report in Israel

4. The 2019 Elimination of Violence against Women’s Day was marked at Beit Hanasi.

It’s 50 days after Yom Kippur when the national holiday of Sigd is celebrated.

Woman praying at Sigd event in Jerusalem Israel

5. Sigd was a holiday in Ethiopia when prayers were offered for the return to Zion and Jerusalem.

Ethiopian women praying on Sigd holiday in Jerusalem Israel

Sigd means ‘prostration’ and marks a reaffirmation to Jewish heritage.

Ethiopian religious leaders Kessim in Jerusalem for Sigd

Here the religious leaders called Kessim in their white robes led services in Jerusalem.

Sigd in Jerusalem Israel

Tens of thousands annually gather on the Tayelet with its view of the Old City.

Jerusalem Street Art Festival graffiti at First Station

6. Jerusalem Biennale ‘For Heaven’s Sake!‘ 2019 ends November 28, but the Street Art Festival pieces will be up longer at First Station, adding color to the tourist area.

כט November street sign in Jerusalem for 29 November

7. Time to remember Kaf Tet November, the date the UN accepted the partition plan to establish the State of Israel.

Machane Yehuda Market strawberries

8. With Rosh Chodesh Kislev, strawberry season is approaching.

With sufganiyot, donuts of all sizes, shapes, and flavors – everywhere –

Happy Hanukkah from Real Jerusalem Streets

9. Hannukkah or Hanuka or Chanukah will be here before we know it.

No. No downtime, something is always happening on these Jerusalem streets.