Jerusalem Celebrates in July

The Jerusalem streets are back to normal!

After more than two years under the corona cloud and closings, the tourists and their tour buses are back clogging the Jerusalem streets. Family and Birthright tours and so many more are in Jerusalem this summer.

One day I had to pick from three things happening at the same time.

Sunday evening the sky was pure gold as the sunset. The weather has been fabulous for the new burst of tourist activity.

Machane Yehuda Market, shuk, is filled with colors of summer produce.

The variety and colors and flavors are always photo-worthy.

We had a photo walk thru the shuk, and it was fantastic to see it again.

Even better from the lens of fresh and young eyes.

Always something new to see in the shuk and on the Jerusalem streets.

Some of the images really pop out at you.

And the building! As the construction goes up and up, the skyline changes.

The huge Midtown Jerusalem project next to the old Shaare Zedek Hospital is going down and down, now that the plot has been cleared.

Even the citadel at the Tower of David is getting a makeover/repair.

Nearby in the valley, the Auto Food Festival is back until the end of August.

The Liberty Bell Garden was the scene of a youth festival. I was not allowed to enter, so no photos from that event.

However, with the music coming from the Shalom Hartman outdoor stage, it was hard not to stop on the way home.

Signs are up for summer in the neighborhood parks for July and August.

This summer Jerusalem celebrates Sport in July!

First, the Israeli Sports Championships were held last week.

The European Under 18 Championships were held at Givat Ram Stadium, morning and evening, and were open to the public. It was a big success according to those who attended, but there was no closing mega event due to concerns about the rising corona numbers.

The 21st Maccabiah is opening on July 14, with thousands of international Jewish athletes to compete. One Jerusalem event is a Night Run on July 18, registration for that race is open.

What’s bigger news than sports?

The signs are up on the Jerusalem streets -no parking near Beit Hanasi. The Israeli President’s Residence is to host President Joe Biden. He was last here as US Vice-President five years ago.

This visit has already produced an official logo and a 30-siren blasting motorcade late-night rehearsal thru the Jerusalem streets.

One topic said to be on the discussion agenda is the status of E 1.

E1 (short for East 1) includes the land area east of Jerusalem French Hill to Ma’ale Adumim.

Ma’ale Adumim is home to 30,000 Israelis.

From a lookout in Ma’ale Adumim, we went to see the contested area.

E1 covers an area of 12 square kilometers (4.6 sq mi).

From Ma’ale Adumim you can see across the wadi to Al-Eizariya or al-Azariya, familiar to Christian tourists as Bethany.

Also, there is the Israeli police station in E1.

And this lake – not what one expects to see.

Al-Eizariya is part of the story with its unregulated growth, the disposal of trash down the side of the mountain is easily visible.

But the bigger current issue is the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin site.

Repeatedly the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled this illegal encampment to be removed and at the last minute, governments have not followed thru.

The people living here were offered other options and refused.

On land outside of Ma’ale Adumim, the encampment has grown. The people who would want to move and improve their living conditions are forced to stay because of the politics of those who want Israel not to connect Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem.

The red warning sign in to Al-Eizariya warns Israelis of danger but does not say forbidden, we drove up to another lookout spot.

We could see one of the checkpoints back to Jerusalem was backed up and used another one to return. It will be interesting to see what the Biden visit stirs up in this already sensitive E1 area.

I felt it more important to go and see what the situation looked like than attend yet another session on antisemitism at Hebrew University with Deborah Lipstadt which was at the same time as the E1 media tour.

Remember she spoke in Jerusalem three years ago?

Deborah Lipstadt speaking on antisemitism at the Begin Center for the B’nai Brith Awards in 2019..

Back on the Jerusalem streets, the Sultan’s Pool is ready for those huge summer musical nighttime concerts again.

When the sun sets in Jerusalem the colors are not just Jerusalem of Gold. Look at this view over the Dead Sea to Jordan.

This is why I love to do the Jerusalem photo walks in the Yemin Moshe area. Hope you will be able to appreciate the view also and soon.

Jerusalem: Busy in July

People are indeed out again on the Jerusalem streets.

Tourist groups are back in Israel.

Some are calling it “revenge travel” – after not being able to move freely for so long during the pandemic, millions of people are now on the move – or trying to if their flights are not canceled. International airport photos show delayed passengers and piles of luggage.

In Jerusalem, in the Machane Yehudah Market, the tourists have returned. Excited to have a photo walk scheduled there for tomorrow with visitors from Australia!

The Jerusalem Design Week “FOR NOW” held at the Hansen House appeared to be a huge success.

The old grounds were filled with activities and people on opening night.

Crowds lingered at night, after eating and touring, and drinking beer.

Some could find a few less crowded spots on the restored grounds.

But it was so crowded I did not even try to get inside to see.

I did go back inside though, as the inner area was set for the final night production “For Now – Time, duration, objects, and material memory.”

The building was full of visitors, so I took just a quick glimpse into one of the many rooms filled with interesting and creative designs.

There was even a pop-up store as one of the exhibits, and so much more.

“Israel’s present persists in constant motion, and the idea of “long-term” is all but non-existent,” a quote from the “FOR NOW” program book, which was in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.

And this week’s events certainly supported that comment.

Only last week in the Jerusalem Orient Hotel at the economic conference,

Yair Lapid was the Foreign Minister of Israel.

And then, in one of the fastest and most peaceful changes of power, Yair Lapid was Prime Minister of Israel and walked in the Beit Hanasi gardens with President Isaac Herzog.

Bennett was still Prime Minister of Israel at the start of the Cyber Week International Conference held in Tel Aviv. He was interviewed by Michal Braverman Blumenstyk, CTO of Microsoft. At the conference, he implied he might go back to the high-tech world and leave politics.

At this conference, the Israel concept of ‘Cyber Dome’ was announced. As physical security has increased with the Iron Dome, international cooperation and the use of governments sharing information were promoted as the way of the future to prevent cyber attacks.

In Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center, however, the International Press Freedom Conference was also held this week.

Here the journalists discussed the difficulties of covering events during war times. The spying on journalists by the governments as in Hungary was highlighted by an interview with Szabolcs Panyi who was one of the journalists targeted and spied on in the Pegasus Affair.

Dan Meridor, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Jerusalem Press Club has Menachem Begin looking over his shoulder here in the lobby area.

Executive Editor of US Associated Press Julie Pace was a featured speaker in the afternoon and had her photos taken after her presentation.

Conferences were not the only events happening in and around Jerusalem.

The Israel Sports Championships were last week, and now the International Europe Under18 Championships are being held in Givat Ram.

Next week the major international Jewish sporting event, the ‘Maccabiah Games,’ comes to Jerusalem with thousands of athletes and teams.

New buildings still seemed to pop up along the Jerusalem streets.

While older ones are celebrating longevity, the Ohel Rivka Synagogue held a 90th-year celebration last week.

The big news for the new month seemed to be ice cream. But note, not so sweet B&J in English will be removed and only Hebrew and Arabic for us, as those “social issues” are still an issue for B&J.

Cyber, economy, sports, and politics are not your things, how about music?

The Jerusalem Jazz Festival is back from July 5-7 with the Art of Jazz.

Paul Anka (yes – he is 80 years young), with a new generation knowing him from the American comedy-drama television series ‘Gilmore Girls’ from 20 years ago, is to perform live on the Jerusalem Sultan’s Pool huge stage on July 19.

Cat under Israeli and Canadian flags for Prime Minister Stephen Harper visit

Hoping Paul Anka and other Canadians had a good Canada Day on July 1st.

And in the US, July 4th, with or without fireworks, hope it’s a good one.

And here’s to hoping your flights to Israel do not get canceled so we will see you soon on the Jerusalem streets, no “revenge” necessary, there’s plenty to do for everyone.