From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

On Friday, July 14, 2017, two Israeli policemen

were shot and killed while on duty at the Lion’s Gate entrance

to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.

The international media already seems to have forgotten.

International headlines are blasting

about the fact that Israel installed metal detectors

while ignoring the reason for them.

The guns to shoot the policeman in the back

were hidden in their supposedly holy sanctuary.

On Wednesday, July 19, I joined a group

organized by OneFamily to visit the grieving families.

New roads outside Jerusalem Israel

We left the hills of Jerusalem,

Israel outside of Jerusalem, flat and green

went past green fields,Israeli countryside bales of hay

 many filled with bales of hay,

View from bus driving north in Israel

and row after row of banana trees.

Driving to northern Israel

Israeli supermarket named Texas

we passed a Texas supermarket and traveled

Galil road on way to Druze village

 on roads that reminded me of the hills of West Virginia.

Along the way we passed the town of Maalot-Tarshiha

Israel Monument Maalot

and this sign which made me think of the

 Maalot Massacre and terrorists killing Jews in their homes,

then murdering 22 more children on a school trip.

Finally,

Israel Memorl at entrance to Norfeish

we arrived at the entrance of Horfeish,

with its large Israeli and Druze flags.

Two black memorial ribbons on photos of two Druze policemen killed by terrorist at Lion's Gate Jerusalem

Next to them were posters with black memorial ribbons

around the faces of the two murdered policemen.

Men mourning Kamil Shnaan in Horfeish who was murdered by terrorist near Temple Mount

On the wall over the male mourners

was a photo of Kamil Shnaan,

Female members of Kamil Shnaan family mourning his murder in Jerusalem Temple Mount

while his mother in the women’s section

clutched her murdered son’s photo.

The Druze women were dressed in black with white scarves,

Family of Kamil Shnaan look at his photo during memorial visit by Jews and others in Horfeish

and received hundreds who came to pay their condolences.

Among the visitors were a group

Zion Riders come to pay respects to family of police officer Kamil Shnaan who was murdered

of senior bikers, the Zion Riders.

Zion Rider came to pay respects to family of Kamil Shnaan

Not sure what the young boys were thinking,

when one of them revved up his Harley-Davidson to leave.

Druze female mourners dressed in black with white scarves

Little was spoken, for what is there to say

to a woman who has just lost her youngest son?

Then back in the bus,

Kinneret view from bus on trip to Sitawe Family

as we drove down the winding road

there was a majestic view of the Kinneret.

Israel has so many beautiful spots,

but we were on our way to next grieving family.

Father of murdered policeman with white mourning scarf

The father of murdered policeman, Haiel Sitawe,

was upstairs with the men and stood to receive his visitors.

The women downstairs wanted no photos taken.

Large wedding portraits of Haiel were placed

along the wall behind the row of grieving women.

His widow was beautiful as any model, though so pale and sad.

Haiel will not get to see his baby son grow up,

Picture of Haiel Sitawe from women's mourning room, one of several located behind where they sat

who will only know his father’s smile from photos.

The world may have a short memory,

but Jewish people have a long memory and will not forget.

Before I could get this blog posted,

we have moved on to a new tragedy.

 Friday night in Halamish,

a terrorist knocked on the door of the Salomon family

who were expecting guests for their Shalom Zachor,

a special party to celebrate the birth of a new baby boy.

Instead the door was opened to a knife-wielding murderer.

No, it has nothing to do with metal detectors,

there were none for Muslims (or most of rest of us)

back in 1974, for Maalot Massacre,

or for the Fogel Family Massacre six years ago.

These are not clashes, but cold-blooded murderers,

mostly young men incited by the hateful, lying Arab media

and egged on in their echo-chamber of hate

to strike and kill innocents.

I hope to share “nice days” from now on,

but do not count on it,

Hamas and Abbas are counting on terror in order to

to distract from their problems,

and so far it is working for them.

The Jerusalem streets are quieter than usual,

it is summer and people are away,

hoping it stays that way. Quiet. but not too quiet.

Shabbat Shalom – Let it Stay Calm

Shabbat Shalom – Let it Stay Calm

On Thursday, smoked filled the air as fire
raged, dangerously near Jerusalem homes.
Today, it is another hot and tense day.
Instead of calling for calm,
Muslim leaders called for rage.
Shouts of death to Jews were heard after mid-day prayers.
The rage is orchestrated.
Trouble in Gaza and loss of control by Abaas,
yelling about Al-Aqsa unites masses,
it has happened repeatedly over the decades.
Jerusalem Old City Walls
We have said it before,
but will repeat, in 1965 this was as close as Jews could get
to the Old City.  Where was rage then?
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said:
“The decision of Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount is a courageous decision, because at this time last week two policemen were murdered at the site. This decision is a responsible one that will help to ensure that such incidents do not repeat themselves.
We will not succumb to threats and allow terror to win. Even if we face security challenges, today and in the future, this is the right decision, and we must stand with the police and support them. I commend the Jerusalem District Police Commander for his leadership in leading the decision and the Cabinet for their backing.
This is not a political matter; it is a professional, security issue. No one is challenging the status quo on the Temple Mount and I call on all Muslim residents to help maintain the calm, not to act violently and to obey the police’s orders. Those who come to pray in peace are welcome. Those who come to engage in terror and provocation will be dealt with harshly. “
We are still here.
I have heard only the usual  number of sirens.
A very good sign,
though reports of rioting are coming in,
Jerusalem streets are erev Shabbat quiet
and pomegranates are in bloom.
rimon shabbos
Time for Shabbat Shalom.
שבת שלום
Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

In the first six months of this year,

Israel saw a record number of tourists.

That confirms my saying there have been

so many tour buses on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

This week also felt like a new record in the making.

No sooner had the Prime Minister of India left,

that the President of Rwanda arrived,

followed by the Irish Foreign Minister.

I thought someone made a mistake in the official guest book,

Israel President's official gust book

but the calligraphy was ready and waiting for the next guest.

I feel sorry for the person in charge of flags,

trying to keep the correct ones up for each official delegation.

But not just tourists and international delegations

have arrived in record numbers.

The World Maccabiah sports competitions are being held

from July 4- July 17, 2017.

10,000 athletes, from 80 countries,

compete for medals in Jerusalem and around the country.

Maccabiah flags were displayed outside of Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s official residence

 for a meeting of World Maccabiah delegates with

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Flags for Maccabiah outside Beit Hanasi in gardens with man representing South Korea sitting on ground

South Korea was represented by this man competing in Judo.

Most people were wearing regular clothing

Australia at Maccabiah at Beir Hanasi

but these Australians wore Maccabi shirts,

and stopped long enough to pose for a photo.

Children choir from Beer Sheva at Beit Hanasi for Maccabiah

The beautiful voices of a children’s choir group

from Beer Sheva provided entertainment,

between the effusive and positive speeches.

Attention was given to break of protocol when

 President Rivlin hugged the Indian Prime Minister.

But after the official photo with leaders of World Maccabiah,

the President again broke protocol

and walked to the back of the room

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin meets with Maccabiah

to take selfies with members of the Maccabiah group.

The affection and excitement was impressive.

US Olympic swimmers Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg for Maccabiah at Israeli President House

Also impressive were

Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg,

USA gold Olympic medalists.

And much less familiar swimmers,

Maccabiah swimmer from Suriname at Israeli president residence for Maccabiah

like Yigal Kopinsky of Suriname.

I could go on and on with the interesting countries

and delegates from Puerto Rico, Barbados, and more.

But I want to share what happened on the Jerusalem streets

with tens of thousands participating,

not just a few special individuals.

For the Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run,

runners in Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run Emek Refaim Street

streets were closed as tens of thousands of runners,

took 5 or 10-K or half-marathon routes.

Hundreds were taking photos and selfies with phones,

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run runner with a camera

but this was first time I have seen a runner

participating in a race with such a serious camera.

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

Near the end of the routes

which went back toward the starting line,

Jerusalem Israel Maccabiah Night Run

runners turned toward the Old City.

runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night run

A  friend waved on her way back to Jaffa Gate.

Runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run shower near end of route

A cool shower was waiting near the finish line.

For Jerusalem, it was a hot night.

Street closed due to Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The final stretch was past the Old City Walls

where spectators waited to cheer runners on,

Light projection on Walls of Old City

with the 50-years unification of Jerusalem light show

playing in the background.

People taking a selfie photo at end of Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The smiles at the finish line next to Mamilla Mall –

were priceless.

The Maccabiah sports range from golf, with one male playing,

to ice hockey in new Jerusalem rink,

to bridge, and of course tennis and swimming.

And chess,

where Natan Sharansky played 20 opponents,

at the same time.

He won 17 games and tied 3 others.

Some make light of these “Jewish Olympics”

but Jason Lezack representing the athletes, spoke beautifully.

I think his words are important enough to share:

 

For additional photos:

Maccabiah 2017   HERE

and   Night Run    HERE