Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel, for the Yoms 

as usual was overloaded with events,

 many this year influenced in anticipation of

Celebrating 50 years liberation of Jerusalem

50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

Israeli flags are draped down the sides of buildings.

Israeli flags Israel Museum for memorial and Independence day

These are at the Israel Museum entrance

where the dome of the Shrine of the Book can be seen.

Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Remembrance Day

for fallen soldiers and victims of terror,

began Sunday night with memorials throughout Israel,

and were accompanied by prayers, speeches and memorial flames.

The official state ceremony seen live on television,

was held at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

where President Reuven Rivlin lit the memorial light.

Ammunition Hill on Israel Memorial Day

Sponsored by the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

a memorial service was held at Givat HaTachmoshet, Ammunition Hill,

the site of deadly fighting to defend Jerusalem in 1967.

The program in English was live-streamed

and seen by over 16,000 people around the world.

All day Monday, tens of thousands of Israelis visited cemeteries.

Cemetery Jerusalem 1948-49

This cemetery has many graves from 1948-1950,

 the first years that Jews could not get to

the Mount of Olives due to the Jordanian occupation

and had to find new places to bury their dead.

One man standing by old grave in Jerusalem cemetery on Yom Hazikaron

On Yom HaZikaron, a man prayed by a grave.

Israeli military grave on Yom HaZikaron

A small Israeli flag with a black ribbon attached,

and small bunch of flowers, yizkor, remembers

Flowers, Israeli flag and black yizkor ribbon on 1948 grave

those much too young who died in war.

The cemetery is next to Harel Garden

Memorial wreath at Harel Garden Memotial

and Memorial wall, where this lone wreath was placed.

Walk around the memorial and you can see

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

that Gush Etzion is 16 kilometers from Cinema City and

the Israeli Supreme Court and government offices.

Israel Yom HaZikaron at Har Herzel end of day

Tens of thousands came to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

during the day, to place flowers and to mourn,

remembering those lost to war and terror.

Woman sitting near graves of Har Herzl military cemetery Yom Hazikron

The crowds thinned at end of day,

Two soldiers walking on Har Herzl Cemetery

and all headed home from the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

But as the sun set,

on another part of Har Herzl,

Stage ready for Yom Haaztmaut official televised program

the lights went on this huge stage,

celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

This year for the first time two non-Israelis were selected

with the honor of lighting one of the 12 memorial flames,

Rabbi Marvin Hier and Michael Steinhardt,

Two US honorees in Israeli ceremony

seen here before the official program began.

The show is telecast live and seen by thousands,

Show for Yom Haatmaut ceremony

but watching on TV you could not see them remove

the circle of fire used in one production number.

It is an extravaganza with set rituals,

Israel Independence day starts with lighting of ceremony torch

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat broke with tradition

when he joined with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein

to light the official flame of Israel’s Independence Day.

waving flags and cheering

Seats were at a premium, the flag waving,

 cheering crowd did not need a lot of encouragement.

One of 12 torch lighters Chana Henkin

Besides the two Americans, I wanted to see Rabbanit Chana Henkin

 who was honored as one of the twelve torch lighters,

one for each tribe of Israel.

Dr Ahmad Eid speaks at Yom Haatzmaut ceremony

Dr. Ahmed Eid, an Arab doctor, was another honoree.

Military with flags at ceremony on Yom Haatzmaut on Har Herzl

The program featured songs and military colors.

Soldiers form a Jewish star during official ceremony for Yom Haatzmaut

For this shot, no seat in the stands would work,

Sunset at Har Herzl camera over head

only this overhead camera would do.

Afterwards celebrations went all night,

in too many locations to list, with prayers, songs and dancing.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

The next day at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

 120 outstanding soldiers were honored in the morning

Front row Beit Hanasi on Yom Haatzmaut

and in the afternoon rows of diplomats came,

Yom Haatazmaut at Beit Hanasi

along with one young Presidential grandson,

to pay their respects to Israel and hear the Prime Minister

and President speak on theme,”next year in Jerusalem.”

While the heads of consuls and foreign military were at Beit Hanasi,

Gan Sacher Yom Haatzmaut

thousands of Israelis were in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

Lone Soldier Center mangal Yom Haatzmaut

Most of the green spaces all over the country were full of Israelis.

On the radio were announcements of crowded roads to JNF parks.

Couch brought to Gan Sacher

This family brought a couch to Gan Sacher,

which is one way to make your holiday mangal, BBQ, feel like home.

I know this is getting way too long,

but there was so much more,

like the Bible Competition, free museums, and performances.

festive meals, and those IDF flyovers and stunts.

Israel, after 69 years

as President Rivlin said, is young for a country,

 under constant threat and repeated attacks,

yet has accomplished so much.

So it was,

Flowers at Beit Hanasi 69

from memorials to celebrating independence,

so much happening in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem: Good, Bad and Ugly Week

Jerusalem: Good, Bad and Ugly Week

Jerusalem, Israel,

what a week!

Heavy rains fell over Shabbat,

Washed away ads from heavy rain in Jerusalem, Israel

strong enough to wash away layers of ad posters.

Effects of a municipal strike were being felt,

but I went looking for something good.

After the winter rains,

Branches on tree budding in spring in Jerusalem Israel

buds were popping out on branches.

In the Valley of the Cross there were

Valley of Cross turns green after heavy rains Israel Jerusalem

signs of new growth and small pools of water,

and a favorite sight,

Rakefet growing in stones after winter rain Jerusalem Israel

rakefet, cyclamen, growing in rock structures.

After heavy rain Gan Sacher has puddles and grass turning green Jerusalem Israel park

 Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, had puddles and

 unattended, uncollected garbage bins.

The Old City was not affected,

 as the municipal strike went on for another day,

Garbage strike and bins over full of rubbish Jerusalem Israel mess

but in most neighborhood bins were overflowing.

Cat on top of garbage not collected after strike

Only the street cats and birds were happy.

Overflowing trash on the streets

Near Machane Yehuda market women try to cross Agrippas Street filled with garbage

near Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk,

was not only an ugly sight,

Litter filling Agrippas Road during garbage strike

but unhealthy and dangerous as well.

A friend saw these photos and

thought it was the aftermath of a terror attack.

On Agrippas Street, people waited for buses that did not come,

since buses could only pass through the ugly mess in one direction.

In addition, the mess by the shuk which overflowed on to the streets

Jerusalem light rail track and no trains due to municipal strike

caused the light-rail trains to stop running.

Jaffa Road became a pedestrian mall,

Yafo with no light rain trains on tracks, but one skateboarder in center of road garbage stirke

perfect for the occasional skate boarder.

Thousands trudged along to find transportation.

However, by walking along Agrippas Street,

Graffiti seen from near Machane Yehuda market Jerusalem Israel

I did find a new and colorful piece of graffiti,

and poorly translated signs

are always good for a smile or laugh,

Warning sign with incorrect English written on sign near construction

like this one posted across from Cinema City

near the Supreme Court Building.

near scene of protest police tape after event near Rose Garden Jerusalem

The strike is finally over.

It will take awhile to clear the mountains of trash accumulated

  while the mayor and finance minister feuded.

But at least children are back in school,

so parents can go back to work.

Now back to normal?

It has rained again, and the sun has come out again.

It’s that time of year when the water from the tap

is colder than the water in the refrigerator.

Hope we can go back to complaining about the cold.

Large Hebrew poster for movie at Bet Avi Chai

But if reality gets too ugly again,

 we can go to Beit Avi Chai to see a movie.

It’s free.

Back to "Normal" in Jerusalem

It is after the chagim,

the holidays are over.

Our prayers for rain were answered quickly.

“Don’t you love walking in the rain?”

asked an elegantly-dressed British woman

I passed walking Thursday night.

No, not really, since my umbrella was at home.

But we all know rain is good and needed.

After a  few days of this wet weather,

Valley of Cross trees end of summer

the Valley of Cross will have green covering the ground,

Olives against blue sky and white clouds

and olives on those trees will be over-ripe to pick.

Winter comes and Jerusalem, Israel,

turns colors, mostly turns to green.

On my way to Knesset yesterday,

Protest signs near Knesset entrance

 a small demonstration was going on,

in a regular protest location.

Today thousands of bus drivers were protesting.

I sure hope they work out a deal before November 7,

which is the date set for general bus drivers strike.

With the holidays over,

the universities, except for the Hebrew University,

are finally back in session.

Youth organizations are back to “normal”

and as always I love to see

Israeli Scouts building with wood

what the Israeli Scouts are building.

The winter session of Knesset began,

and on the second day,

Second day third session of 20th Israeli Knesset

you can see for yourself how many MKs were in the building.

Chagall Hall Israel Knesset PM speaking to international delegation Jewish Agency

PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Board of Governors

of the Jewish Agency on his usual topics, such as BDS.

“Israel is home to all Jews.”

“Jews never quarrel among themselves, ask Moses,”

quipped the Prime Minister who stressed patience and tolerance,

and woke up this morning to some of those same delegates protesting

at the Kotel, the Western Wall, carrying Torah scrolls.

When I walked to the Knesset,

it was hot,

but when I left a short time later,

Israeli Knesset in rain

it had poured and was still raining.

Gan Sacher park empty on rainy day

Good for the grass at Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

but not so great for people who want to play or picnic.

Butterfly shaped flower display on Rupin Road near Knesset and Gan Sacher

These new butterfly shaped floral planters

appreciate the sudden downpours

much more than I do.

This time, however, I had my umbrella,

now to go find my boots also.

After perfect weather for holiday tourists,

it feels like winter has arrived in Jerusalem.

With changed clocks and clouds,

3:00 pm and street lights are on

3:00 pm,

and street lights were on.

Cars are to have their headlights on, even during the day,

until end of February,

getting dark early, the new “normal.”