What’s happening on the Jerusalem Streets?

What a busy week, with so much happening!

On Sunday night the Menachem Begin Heritage Center had a long list of impressive speakers.

Over 2,000 people attended the second annual Pulse of Israel Conference, “What’s Next For Israel” in person and via livestream – to learn about key issues in the future for Israel.

Actor Michael Rapaport was recognized with the Pulse of Israel Brave Leadership of Zion Award for his outspoken pro-Israel activism on social media.  “This is my fourth time in Israel since November 2023 – before that trip, I had never been here. There has been so much suffering since October 7…”

Indeed, we wonder daily what’s next.

The next night, I was back again for a special memorial tribute event to Senator Joe Lieberman z”l moderated by Paul Gross, Senior Fellow at the Center.

Representing the family, Hani Lowenstein spoke eloquently of her father,

US Ambassador Jack Lew had a long and special relationship. They were two Democratic, Shabbat observant Jews serving together in the US government over many years.

Gil Troy knows how to speak to the audience during an interview and to keep them engaged.

I was complimenting him after the event outside, and this family passed by leaving Liberty Bell Park.

The Knesset was a busy place the day I attended a special event there.

Too often getting by the security to enter is a headache when your name is not on the computer list.

But once inside the Chagall Hall was impressive as usual.

Finding the Knesset Library was simple enough to arrive on time for the announcement.

Israeli Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana announced for the first time in the history of US–Israel relations the establishment of the Knesset–House Parliamentary Friendship Group. He said it was planned for July 3rd purposely before the US Independence Day.

In progress since 2023, before October 7, Ohana was well prepared with a media presentation.

US Chair of the House–Knesset Parliamentary Friendship Group Congressman David Kustoff was in Jerusalem, Israel for the event.

Ambassador Lew also spoke. I was glad for a chance to compliment his remarks about Joe Liberman z”l before the formal program began. People like to complain. I prefer to compliment when possible.

July 4th is also Entebbe Day, the time to remember the hostage rescue and Yoni Netanyahu, its fallen leader.

The King David Hotel was ready in red, white, and blue for the Newsmax July 4th celebration.

The food was abundant, it was great to see some people again and speak with people in person and not on a screen. It was hard to leave, but I had a previous commitment.

Photos of a few friends are on Facebook

A Counterpoint reunion had been planned at the Yeshiva University Israel Campus.

As with most celebrations in Jerusalem, prayers for hostages and soldiers began the program.

Again too many friends to mention, a few photos also on Facebook. so many friends, so many years.

Back on the Jerusalem streets, SUMMER in the neighborhoods. It’s the long summer school holiday time.

The Jerusalem Street Orchestra if you missed them last week at the Montefiore Windmill, is planning a performance for July 22 in the garden of the National Library.

So what’s next for Israel?

You never know.

But slowly the sounds of music and life are returning to the Jerusalem streets.

What’s New and Different on the Jerusalem Streets?

With the end of May 2024, summer is returning to the Jerusalem streets.

A sure sign is finding that ants have returned to the kitchen.

On a quiet day when news is bleak, a quick walk to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens to witness the new season is an effective antidote. The pond is filling with the green leaves of the lilies, and this year it is lined with Israeli flags.

More and more new flags are hanging over the Jerusalem streets, some never noticed before.

The Jerusalem Writers Festival is returning on May 27- 30 in Mishkenot Sha’ananim as in the past.

Jerusalem Education Week is back again with various activities for teachers, students, and parents.

The programs are to be held all week. However, this year it ends with a special Kabbalat Shabbat at the Nature Center in memory of Yossi Hershkovitz הי”ד on Friday afternoon.

Orient Isrotel Hotel was again the scene of the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society.

The good food and conversations in the main lobby and

the main room set to accommodate the dozens of speakers and media were similar to past years.

The Israeli President Isaac Herzog opened the first day of the two-day conference.

The large screens projecting the speakers were the same, as here with the former commander of the elite IDF unit 8200 Nadav Zafir, founder of Team 8.

US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew was listed on the program in “Conversation with Yohanan Plesner.”

The former US Secretary of the Treasury Lew declined to get involved with the current political situation saying his area of expertise was more in “capital markets” in response to one of IDI President Plesner’s questions.

Israeli entrepreneur and innovator Yossi Vardi was back as usual and Jack Lew stopped to speak with him.

What was different from last year?

The Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion wasn’t on the program, nor was the head of the Bank of Israel Amir Yaron. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Economy Minister Nir Barkat were also absent this year.

The reception Smotrich received last year, with signs and shouting and boos, made it impossible to hear his prepared remarks.

This year at the conference, I only heard one man shouting at a speaker. He was quickly silenced by people sitting near him. With many economic concerns because of the war, the atmosphere was much calmer this year.

Hansen House announced a new exhibition this week “In-attention” showcasing new tech and design.

This Jerusalem Design Week focused on supporting initiatives and actions that turn our gaze inward.

The value of culture has been put to the test. With these works, “the creators hope to heal and redesign the future, and consider the day after the current crisis.”

This one was simple fun. Tossing a small ball into the net of the left, the ball was propelled across and then shot back and forth – over and over, as I watched. As always, something unusual at Hansen House!

New signs were up this week, the one on the top left confused me initially. In the Clal Building, the Jerusalem Street Orchestra is holding a concert on Wednesday night, May 29. The concert was already sold out when I figured out what was happening.

The Moon Grove was the site of major Lag B’Omer bonfires in the past.

But this year the big fires were very different.

The main one in Meron was banned because of Hezbollah rockets and fears of a large crowd gathering.

Photo credit: Western Wall Heritage

One of the multiple sites this year was near the Kotel, Western Wall late at night.

Lag B’Omer fires were never my favorite, but I would have watched this one. However, none of the Kotel webcams showed the fire, music, and crowds dancing.

New flags and old were seen this week on the Jerusalem streets.

“We are stronger together.”

As protests grow, time moves slowly, one constant endures: there is always something new to see on the old Jerusalem streets and we never know what will happen next.