Jerusalem Special Visitors

The world seems upside down like Chelm these days,

and if it was not so serious, it would be funny.

This week saw a large delegation from Japan,

led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting Jerusalem, Israel.

image Canada and Israel together

Foreign Minister John Baird of Canada signed the official guest book

at Beit HaNasi, the Israeli President’s residence, while Reuven Rivlin watched.

image US senators visit Jerusalem, israel

Then in the afternoon a group of US Senators led by John McCain,

dropped by for a photo op and to chat with the President.

So much for isolation and BDS, all affirmed their support for Israel.

But government officials and their noisy motorcades

were not the only ones who filled the streets this week.

kossel on Friday am

Extended families gathered to celebrate,

Kossle plaza

and thousands have come daily to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Kossel plaza

Birthright tour groups

Kosel plaza photo

from around the world posed for group photos.

Mount of Olives cemetery view

Tour buses lined up along the road to Har Hazaytim,

the Mount of Olives cemetery.

And at the same time as rabbis in Belgium

were being notified that their synagogues should be closed on Shabbat

for the first time since World War II,

because their safety could not be guaranteed by the police,

Palestinian kids

these Muslim boys were walking through the Jewish Quarter

in the Old City to go to Friday prayers.

Muslim going to prayer

Any doubts? Notice the prayer rug in hand,

so much for apartheid and oppression.

Muslim family going to prayers on Friday

These boys may have taken a second look,

but the man was wearing a long skirt,

as this Muslim family proceeded to prayers on Temple Mount.

And while Muslims of all ages attend regularly on Friday,

(as long as there are no calls for violence)

this group we passed did stand out,

tour group from Turkey

their bags had the name of a Turkish tour company.

Seems not everyone in Turkey is boycotting Israel.

Hope they get to see the real Jerusalem streets,

and take back the truth,

what is really happening.

Jerusalem Day: Israeli Flags and Parade

Thousands of people are marching down 5th Avenue  in New York City

for the annual Israel Day Parade #TogetherOnFifth,

after months of intense organization and planning.

On Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, we also had a parade.

DSC_5248b  large Israeli flags

Overnight all the yellow and white Vatican flags were gone,

DSC_5430b Streets with flags for Jerusalem day celebrations

replaced with blue & white Israeli and Jerusalem flags.

image flag day on Jerusalem streets

The streets were crowded with tens of thousands of people,

carrying thousands of flags,

image Jerusalem DAy

for the annual Rikudegalim, Dance with the Flags

or Flag Parade.

Streets that were closed for the Pope were shut down again.

wheel chairs image

 But this time people did not stay away,

Aleh students came in their wheelchairs.

DSC_5289b  Jerusalem Day girls dancing

Thousand of  girls with Israeli flags

image crowd of girls

had their own place to sing and dance.

DSC_5281b Jerusalem Day

And these two guys were trying awfully hard to see them.

DSC_5330b Israeli flags on Jerusalem Day on King George Street

In the crowd it was hard to see, so sitting on shoulders provided a better view.

DSC_5399b King George Street blocked  to traffic

The buses blocked traffic so the parade could pass,

as the streets were filled with people long before the official start time.

image Jerusalem Day

The hotel balcony gave people a great vantage point.

image Jerusalem Day

Outside Heichal Shlomo, men and boys were packed in,

image Jerusalem Day street crowd

ready to march to the Western Wall,

to enter by same gate as the paratroopers did in 1967

when they liberated the Old City from Jordanian control.

With people coming in all directions all afternoon,

this parade may not have been as carefully organized

as the one in New York City,

image Israeli flags at parade

but it was the ultimate blue & white photo-op.

 I heard of girls who needed a police escort out of the Old City,

as glass bottles were thrown at them.

But though Yom Yerushalayim is not yet a national holiday,

image family with flags on Jerusalem day

people  from all over the world came together to celebrate.

And on King George Street where the masses were having fun,

there was no violence, so it did not make the news.

Jerusalem: Parades, Runners and New High Flyers

Many were worried that the three-day (Saturday night through Monday)

Lag B’Omer celebrations with their smoky medurot, large bonfires,

would cause worse air quality than the usual holiday pollution.

But thanks to Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv 

 playing in the Euroleague Championship basketball final,

photo Israel basketball winners

so many people came inside to watch the exciting game

that there seemed to be a lot less smoke this year.

Maccabi Tel Aviv won in overtime!

The team has already been to the Prime Minister’s office 

and is invited for a special reception today in the President’s House.

Lag B’Omer and International Museum Day were celebrated on Monday.

Thousands of school children on school holiday filled museums

which had no entrance fees in honor of Museum Day.

image Palestinian, photo Israel occupation, picture Israel oppresion

We had a great time in the Bloomfield Science Museum as always,

with lots of new exhibits and activities.

image large torah, man dressed in costume,

 Lag B’Omer gatherings and parades Sunday in the Rechavia neighborhood

image old city, view Teddy Park on Lag BOmer, photo people in park

and Monday in Teddy Park near the Old City were just two of many events.

There was one unique event on Monday afternoon.

In a first-ever Run for Peace, 

image Pat Farmer, photo runners near Jaffa Gate,

Australian ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer (in the blue shirt)

and a few of his supporters arrived at the end of his 1500-kilometer run from Lebanon.

image Pat Farmer, photo old city, image Pat Farmer Peace Runner

After running around 80 kilometers a day,

athlete Pat Farmer’s advice was to “put one foot in front of the other.”

Following a small press conference at Jaffa Gate,

image Australian ambassador,

Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma told another gathering in honor

of Farmer at the King David Hotel how proud Australia is

to support sports and all efforts for peace.

All was not sports and parades.

image Jerusalem Writers festival

The week-long International Writers Festival opened in Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

But the real action was found outside,

just down the road from these two venues.

image skate boarder, new skate park in Israel photo, picture Jerusalem skate park

People were in the air, flying high

image Jerusalem skate park opening,

after Mayor Nir Barkat cut the ribbon of the new Skate Park Jerusalem.

image new skate park, photo large skate board rink,  jJrusalem skate park

The large rink is located in a section of the Liberty Bell Park.

Though some may not think of this as popular sport,

hundreds of people from all over Israel came for the opening,

image skate park, photo children watching skaters, skate park at night

children with skate boards tucked under their arms,

image Jerusalem skate park

and others watched as the best riders from all over Israeli showed their moves.

While the runners raced along the Jerusalem streets without getting a second glance,

and the parades stopped traffic for a bit,

 this Skate Rink is really something!

Additional photos: Peace Run and Skate Park