Only Some Israelis Vote for Knesset 19

Today is Election Day in Israel for the 19th Knesset

and some are calling it a celebration of democracy.

photo Israeli election box

For a hi-tech country voting is decidedly low-tech,

photo Israeli election

with a cardboard ballot box and voting booth in a school classroom.

Israeli election photo

 Inside the booth, write-in votes are possible with a pen on white paper.

Israeli election photo

The nice workers in our polling place were happy to pose for a photo.

Israeli election photo

Across the hall the scene was similar,

Israeli election photo

and though the turnout is described as heavy,

the lines were short at midday.

BUT,

stairs photo

in order to get to the voting place you had to climb stairs, lots of stairs.

While I was trying to get a good angle to show a serious problem,

Israeli election photo

a friend who had moved to Haifa came up the stairs to vote.

However, for the disabled and many elderly in the neighborhood,

there was nothing to smile about.

Israeli election photo

Outside, to get in the building there were more stairs,

Israeli election photo

and for some getting down could be as hard as going up to vote.

Israeli election photo

As I left, this woman with two walking sticks tried to vote, 

 and I do not know how long it took her to do all those stairs.

The situation for access of the disabled and elderly  

is terrible in many of the old buildings in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem election day photo

One thing no one could complain about was the weather.

blocked sidewalks

Even though many sidewalks are still blocked by trees downed by the snow,

photo from Israeli election day

today was a day to get outside and enjoy the spring-like weather.

The temperatures certainly added to a party atmosphere, 

but access for disabled must become a priority.

I still think it is outrageous that someone in a wheel chair

has a hard time to vote in a democracy.

There are  locations for wheel chair access,

but isn’t it time to make public buildings accessible?

Komen Israel Race for the Cure

The second Komen Race for the Cure was held in Jerusalem today.

"photo Komen March","picture March for Cure", "image sign"

Thousands gathered in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

"picture Arab girls", "image Arab girls", "photo Arab girls"

to help raise money for breast cancer research. 

"Arab women photo","picture Arab women", "image Arab women"

People came from all over Israel and all over the world to take part,

"Arab women photo","picture Arabh women","image Arab women"

including hundreds of Arab women

"image Arab girls","photo Arab girls", "picture Arab girls"

and Arab girls.

"photo stage", "picture Arab girl", "image sign"

From a large stage after warm up and exercise music played,

 US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro spoke to the crowd in Hebrew.

"photo Mayor Nir Barkat", "picture Jerusalem mayor","image Nir Barkat"

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and his wife Beverly

led the crowd out of the park

"staring line photo","image Jerusalem march", "picture security"

to the starting line.

"picture starting line","photo balloons","image balloons at starting line"

Balloons were released after the mayor spoke

"picture Arab girls", "Palestinian photo","image Palestinian women"

and the march began

"picture Arab girls", "photo Arab women", Image Arab crowd"

going up Bezalel Street toward the center of town 

"picture Arab women", "photo Arab women", "image Arab women"

to King George Street.

"picture Arab women", "photo Palestinian", "image Palestinian"

The March then proceeded through the Ben Yehuda Mall

and to Yoel Salomon Street,

which was a great improvement over the previous route.

"picture Joe Lieberman","photo Dan Shapiro", 'image ambassador"

US Senator Joe and Hadassah Lieberman and Ambassador Shapiro

seemed to be really enjoying themselves. 

The mid-day weather was much cooler than the last march

"photo Palestinian", image Old City","picture East Jerusalem"

and there was plenty of water for everyone.

"picture Old City Walls" "photo Al Quds", "image Al-Quds"

Walking along the Walls of the Old City was perfect way to end the march.

"picture Arab girls", "photo Arab girl", "image yoga"

In the park after the finish line,

a yoga session was led by a breast cancer survivor.

"picture sign","image Eden Wellness","banner photo"

Sadly, not everyone survives breast cancer and

many people walked in memory of a friend or relative.

"picture toilet", "photo Palestinian woman", "image Palestinian"

Komen organizers should also be complimented for providing

toilets for the disabled at the beginning and end of the route.

"photo Old City" "image Old City"

For an event that received so little advance publicity,

it was bigger and better than last time.

"photo Arab woman", "image Palestinian", "picture woman"

It is not clear yet how much money was raised for cancer research,

but as people we passed on the way kept saying,

“Ayza yofi, ayza yofi“… this is beautiful, so beautiful.”

 There was no violence, 

 certainly no sign of apartheid on the Jerusalem streets today,

but there were a lot of pink banners and pink balloons.

Additional photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Also see:

Arab Women Raced Through Jerusalem with Weapons