Welcome to Palestine

It is hot…

ok…we are spoiled, the rest of the country is hotter,

and it is dry, putting the public and the fire department on high alert.

 Smoke billowed from this apartment building, two fire engines arrived to

  find that smoke was from a man starting his BBQ grill on an outside porch.

Last week’s loud music and voices coming from open windows 

have been replaced by the sounds of summer:

the whirl of air conditioning units.

In the center of Jerusalem, usually busy Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

was quiet on Friday afternoon,

 everyone seemed to be moving a bit slower…

even the soccer players.

It was a  good day to sit in the shade and read

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

and perfect to select a choice picnic spot.

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

Children are out of school, keeping them busy, happy, safe and cool

have been the real streets main concerns…

and as always a good parking spot. 

Day and night, the Renewed Israel Museum is a popular choice for many

and also this week the cool theaters of the Jerusalem Film Festival,

as many of the summer holiday visitors have discovered.

Had the flytilla activists arrived as the millions of regular visitors,

they would have passed these posters 

on a wall in the new Ben Gurion terminal.

"Palestine poster", "Picture  build Palestine", "image Palestine"

The irony of a United Palestine Appeal poster

"picture Palestine appeal", "photo Palestine uniform", "image Palestine"

 to build a Jewish future would probably have been wasted on them.

These activists must not know that

 cities under Palestinian Authority control have been safer of late,

and people holding US passports have visited them regularly.

Instead of sitting in jail or being deported, these activists could

"Palestinians in Jerusalem photo", "picture Arabs", "Palestinian family"

have joined the many Arab families

who frequent Gan Sacher in the evening to picnic

and bring plenty of food.

Some call stopping the flotilla and the flytilla an over-reaction.

Today a suspicious package brought downtown Jerusalem

to a standstill.  Another over-reaction?

Possibly… except for the one time it blows up in your face.

The Greek flag is flying with the Israeli and Jerusalem flags

lining the route to welcome the Greek President to Jerusalem.

The Greeks played an important part in stopping the flotilla,

and deserve a big thank you.

In case one needs to be reminded about smuggling weapons to Hamas,

three rockets from Gaza landed in southern Israel yesterday.

Thank you, President Karolos Papoulias…

the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ activists just don’t get it,

but fortunately…you got it!

Hot and Busy

While it is hard to avoid the Flotilla and Dubai-related news headlines,

the real Jerusalem streets are hot and busy.

Across the city, proud families pack in hot,

crowded rooms to watch end-of-year school performances,

and graduations from all levels of education crowd the calendar.

School is out soon, and parents are busy organizing the children for summer activities.

  Want to forget the heat at the beach?

A new beach opened

in Jerusalem in the Liberty Bell Park.

Beach is hof yam in Hebrew, this volleyball court may have sand,

but there is no water in sight.  To get away from the heat,

 these kids seem to have found a better solution.

The streets are filled with kids out of school

and tourists and visitors.

 A regular scene at the Kotel, the Western Wall, but especially this season

is a bride and groom coming for photos

where total strangers normally join in the celebration.

Traditional Jewish weddings include the breaking of a glass

to remember Jerusalem.

Monday morning a police officer was killed by terrorists in an ambush

not far from Jerusalem. He was to be married in September.

Instead of wedding arrangements, the family had to arrange a funeral.

The international media may have been too busy to pay much attention,

 but Shuki Sofer will be remembered,

in Jerusalem strangers come together in celebration and in mourning.

Demonstrations in the News

Someone is always demonstrating in  Jerusalem,


with a banner displaying their cause by day,

or at night,



or in a large gathering.

Some displays are colorful

and up for a day or two,

while the tent for the return of Gilad Shalit

has been up a very long time, as seen by the number of days of captivity displayed on top.

Paris Square is a favorite scene for protests


and for news broadcasts to around the world.

Most people walk past and try to ignore the small group of people dressed in black

in Paris Square who regularly protest  “the occupation” on Friday afternoons,

but this week there was a pro-Israel counter demonstration.

After the hour-long protest ended,

police removed the barricades and a few young people waved flags.

The helicopter and extra police left, everyone seemed relaxed,

even the ladies in black.

But then a woman got up and started shouting at the boys with flags,

and one peacenik was heard telling a young high school boy that she hoped

he would return from his future army service  in a coffin.

Cameras started rolling as the yelling got louder,


   “Go back to America!” she screamed,

 an Israeli “peace” demonstration.

 The media is on the spot for any conflict, confrontation or violence, no matter how small.

Late Monday night saw a demonstration of a far different type and scale,

 100,000 or more people came together

 to pay their last respects to former chief Sephardi Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu,

may he rest in peace,

 but this demonstration may not have made your local news.