Jerusalem: Looking Back and Forward

Jerusalem: Looking Back and Forward

Jerusalem, Israel:

the autumn clouds are white,

and look like puffs of cotton in the blue sky.

Jerusalem, Israel blue sky, white clouds over the Western Wall in Old City Jerusalem Israel

It’s after the busy fall holiday season,

and the record crowds of visitors have returned home.

On a weekday afternoon,

Lone man praying in afternoon at Kossel Yerushalayim

it is possible to find a time at

 the Kotel, Western Wall, to pray in solitude.

This is in contrast to the main lightrail route,

along Jaffa Road.

At the start people complained.

Rechov Jafo in Yerushalayim people waiting for light rail

Who remembers the Saga of Light Rail?

Today crowds can be found along the route day and night.

Remember when George Mitchell was going to

work out a peace deal in the Middle East?

It did not go as Mitchell planned.

However, remember when the

Nature Museum was to be closed?

work and music in garden museum in Jerusalem Israel

Well, the protesters prevailed over the developers,

and today new signs tell of new projects

that are happening on those Jerusalem grounds.

children in fountain

In Jerusalem new parks have been developed

and old playgrounds are being leveled and upgraded.

Looking back just a few years

we can see and feel the difference,

but there are too many examples to list now.

This week I was on the helicopter landing pad

at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem,

to take photos – not as a patient – thanks.

You will hear about their plans soon,

View of Jerusalem Israel from top of helicopter landing at Hadassah Ein Kerem

but what a view there is from up there.

As we commented on all the new building going on,

Cab driver asked to take his picture

my taxi driver on the way home wanted me to take his photo.

All around there are new Jerusalem roads

 which are too often overloaded with traffic.

Wait until the next holiday season,

the suffganiot have been out for weeks,

Suffganiot in window of bakery in Jerusalem

and soon it will be Hanukkah.

With all the centennial events,

yet another big one is ahead.

Allenby 100 years entering Jerusalem

General Allenby made his way into the Old City

of Jerusalem on foot on December 11, 1917,

one hundred years ago.

It was also Hanukkah then,

but I would bet the window displays were not filled

with suffganiot weeks before the holiday.

Oh, Yerushalayim, 

Jerusalem looking back and to the future.

Israeli Knesset Opening Day Photos: Outside and In

Israeli Knesset Opening Day Photos: Outside and In

In Jerusalem, Israel,

 the 4th session of the 20th Israeli Knesset

opened this week after a long break.

Street closed before Knesset opening session

Early on, nearby streets were closed to traffic

but closings did not prevent protests.

Streets closed and people protesting near Israel Museum

In the road near the Israel Museum,

were visually impaired folks with their guide dogs.

Protesters across from KnessetCloser to the Knesset there were more groups protesting.

Once getting past the protesters,

and while waiting in the security clearance line,

Putting up flags for visit of Georgia President at Knesset

I saw the flags were being changed.

Israeli flags came down, and Georgian ones went up,

which meant a leader of Georgia

(not the US state) is soon on his way to Knesset.

Once inside,

must take a photo when you are at the Israel Knesset

here is the mandatory photo of the Knesset.

But, who else

View of Jerusalem Israel from Knesset building

 takes the Knesset view of where I live?

Arriving early takes off timing pressures,

Visitors to Knesset for opening session fall 2107

so there was plenty of time to oblige these young men with a photo.

Israel Knesset plenary hall

Being one of the first ones in the plenary hall

Israeli cameramen and webcam at Knesset

meant that I could get the seat behind the webcam.

Saving seats for friends at Knesset opening session

WomenWagePeace were there early too,

and saved front row seats in the visitors’ gallery.

Oren Hazan in Knesset

MK Oren Hazan was one of first

members of the Knesset to arrive,

but there were no infamous selfies like with Trump.

Oren Hazan in Knesset

He only wandered over to talk with the opposition.

Arab MKs in Knesset before opening session

I wonder what they were saying?

But promptly at 4:00 pm,

International ambassadors at Knesset opening session

the international ambassadors were seated

Israeli Prime Minister in Knesset at start of opening session

and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived.

President and Speaker of Israeli Knesset at start of sesssion

President Reuven Rivlin and Speaker Yuli Edelstein

took their seats at the dais and

the session was called to order.

At start of Knesset session hall not full

Many seats were still empty.

Nir Barkat greeting Sara Netanyahu at Knesset opening

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was one late arrival.

There were

Female security woman taking selfie at Knesset opening

selfies galore from spectators,

Opening Israeli Knesset

and MKs could also be found with cameras in hand.

Visitors at opening session Israeli Knesset

The diversity of guests seated

Gallery at opening session of Israel Knesset

throughout the galleries was obvious.

As the Speaker and President spoke,

Israel Knesset members

the room was respectfully, boringly quiet.

But as the Prime Minister got into his remarks,

MK Yair Lapid shouting out as Prime Minister speaks

Yair Lapid might have said something,

Not being quiet during speech, MK is escorted out of Knesset by security

but this MK would not stop shouting and was removed.

Israeli Knesset opening session

It was quite a show to behold

as Knesset members exited stage left.

When the Prime Minister returned to his seat

after touting Israel’s successes,

and responding to shouts from the opposition

by calling them “sourpusses,”

Prime Minister Netanyahu goes to sit down after speaking at Knesset

his ministers rose to shake his hand.

Knesset selfie

There were handshakes from coalition,

and more selfies.

Miri Regev taking photos on cell phone in Knesset opening session

MK Miri Regev seemed to be having a great time.

Deri and Leiberman talk during session of Knesset

Though he was one of last to arrive,

MK Aryeh Deri had MK Avigdor Liberman’s ear.

You know the expression,

“Read my lips?”

Well,

Ofir Akunis speaks with Prime Minister

many of those who spoke to the

Prime Minister covered their mouths,

like Mk Ofir Akunis above.

The leader of the opposition MK Yitzhak Herzog

was the final speaker in this part of the program.

The crowds filed out, as more visitors waited to get in.

Knesset near sunset after opening session

The Jerusalem streets were quiet

as the sun was setting,

and traffic returned to the littered, post-protest streets.

What an afternoon.

For more of the experience, here is a one minute video,

 as stills could not capture it all.

Now I am left wondering

how does anything get done in the Knesset?