The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi
was in Israel from July 4- 7, 2017.
The royal warm greetings and government attention was unprecedented,
starting with a large airport reception
with hugs and flags and music and lots of officials.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin greeted Modi
outside Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,
breaking protocol with a hug instead of handshake.
Both men then walked the red carpet to the residence,
and Prime Minister Modi signed the guest book.
Time for another warm handshake moment,
after the warm message.
Media crowded into the official reception room.
Most of the press left for the next stop on the full itinerary,
and missed the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Army
Gadi Eizenkot, arriving to shake hands with Modi.
Then at the King David Hotel,
the table was set for a lunch meeting between
the Prime Ministers and delegation officials.
The lunch went longer than scheduled
but the cameras were ready
while Israeli Ministers chatted and also waited.
The Prime Ministers made their entrance,
and gave their speeches
followed by more hugs.
There were numerous jokes,
of this warm and hugging visit,
and of Modi in Israel.
Photos of the Prime Ministers wading into the sea,
signing agreements, hugging, and
meeting terror survivor Moishe Holtzman
made some news reports.
They also went to see the Cochin Synagogue exhibit in the Israel Museum.
The attention showered on the Indian Prime Minister,
was more than I have seen for any recent international visitor.
Israel’s Prime Minister acted as host and tour guide.
The love, respect, and worship, that the Indian visitors
showed for their Prime Minister was impressive.
The extensive agreements that were signed have great potential
for both countries and beyond,
the whole world should be applauding.
(Thanks to my friend Ron for photo-shopping the globe here.)
After all the waiting for the official ceremonies,
the tallest man in the room was seated in the front row,
and his bald head blocked my camera view.
Jokes, hugs and smiles,
the potential of this visit must be acknowledged.
School is out for the summer.
Temperatures are rising
and the Jerusalem, Israel, streets are warming up.
At night in the Old City
the Jerusalem Light Festival is lighting up the streets.
‘Interactive’ is this year’s theme.
I like to arrive at the Old City early before dark
to be at the starting point at Jaffa Gate.
Giant picture frames were ready for selfies,
and the Tower of David looked too good not to share.
A giant mobile, “Drawn in Light”
hovered near the Jaffa Gate.
This “Cathedral of Mirrors” needed audience participation.
The circles of “The Pool” were being tested.
It was opening night
and last minute electrical work was being done,
and the “Peacock” arrived near Zion Gate.
In Dormition Alley,
“Upside Down” is the work of the son of an Israeli friend.
Approximately half of the 39 installations
were created by international artists, from Australia to US.
Along the trail there were spots with
with a variety of live musicians.
This year the Rova, the Jewish Quarter Square,
featured one of the festival highlights.
A group of soldiers posed for this photo
in the light projections on the Hurva Synagogue.
Instead of marking the path with different colored lights,
this year orange arrows led the way.
For the first time I did not get lost
around Muristan Square,
where giant elephants were in the “Oasis.”
Some stores in the Old City were open
while some lanes were quiet.
The “Journey into Space” on HaAhim Street,
was overhead, as the trail led to New Gate,
and out from the Old City Walls.
Damascus Gate was much quieter than usual,
and across the road the area was much cleaner than in the past.
#39 listed on the program was
“Interactive shadows” in Zedekiah’s Cave.
It was hard to photograph,
as images changed with the movements of visitors.
But as we walked further into the cave,
though it was hot and humid,
the music we were hearing along the way
was live from this pianist.
Though the month of Ramadan is over,
the lights strung for Ramadan were still up.
Notre Dame was also visible in the distance
as we exited the cave, which is
also known as Solomon’s Stables,
and is located minutes away from the Damascus Gate.
This is the only time all year,
I walk alone in the dark near Damascus Gate,
and “Horizontal Interference” lit up the way through the palm trees.
A few minutes away at Zahal Square
the “Impulse” seesaws were filled with enthusiastic young people.
The whole route takes at least 3 hours to complete.
With school over, and the festival going to July 6,
the size of the crowds have increased.
I like going on the first night and getting there early
before it gets crowded.
This show with dancers using fire torches
and movement intrigued the audience.
But if you do not get to Jerusalem, Israel,
to see this Festival of Light in Jerusalem 2017,
and take five minutes and enjoy this video
of the light projection on the Hurva Synagogue,