After the last two years, Jerusalem appears to be getting back to life as we knew it. Crowds are filling the Old City in spite of the summer sun and heat.
The large number of visitors during vacation time means that getting a bus back to the city from outside the Kotel Plaza can be a challenge. People waiting (as seen here on the bottom right) have been known to pack on the city buses leaving the timid tourist behind.
Yes, this entrance to the Kotel plaza really was closed, temporarily to enter from the Jewish Quarter. I tried to warn people not to head down the stairs.
This was the main entrance to the Kotel, Western Wall the afternoon I went last week along with hundreds of others.
In spite of the number of visitors, the egalitarian section which is shaded from the blazing sun was nearly empty, as usual.
The main reason I went during the day was to check out the free shuttle from First Station to the Kotel. This stop near Dung Gate is where it was located before the vans stopped running during the pandemic.
The new vans do not look like the ones in the past, but run on the same schedule, every 20 minutes on the hour. Arrive one minute late and you will have to wait for the next one, as I did. They run on time.
They also stop at the Ir David nature activity, on the way to the Old City.
The Tower of David has an event with Knights. Only in Jerusalem can a period of persecution become a family fun activity, I was reminded of the Jerusalem Knights Festival – 12 years ago. Where has the time gone?
At night, there are the new little cars to drive for site seeing.
But also a special bus runs at night to see Jerusalem’s iconic buildings lit.
The water at Teddy Park across from Old City walls is still popular.
I was on my way to the Artists Colony, for a lecture by Irvin Ungar at the Kol HaOt gallery on the artist Arthur Szyk.
The slides presented of Szyk’s vast artwork were fascinating.
UN Security Council, 1948
(To the greatest mockery of them all, the Security Council of June 1948)
“We agree with you on every point, except your stubborn insistence on surviving…”
Note China, Syria, and Belgium sitting at the table facing an Israeli in chains in Szyk’s political cartoon from 1948.
Also later that night was the opening of the International Puppet Festival.
Smoke and skaters entertained the public as the audience was allowed to enter the Skating Park at Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park for free.
Mime actors and lights enthralled the young families up close.
There was action all around the skateboard peaks and valleys,
and spaces for the audience to sit and watch.
The new Train Theater hosted varied theatrical and puppet performances inside and out all week.
And by day, the Teddy Park water fountain was filled again with families at the end of the summer holiday time.
Perhaps the oldest and most Israeli festival Hutzot Hayozer is back again next to the Artists Colony and Teddy Park.
Israeli products, arts, and crafts were again featured in various booths. I went early to surprise one businesswoman setting up her space.
The big stands in the middle area held international booths in the past.
But this time, the booths from various countries were replaced with international food offerings.
I suppose Israelis who did not travel overseas this summer, consider this their end-of-summer splurge. First, you pay to get in. Then you pay again for your food. There is a different musical performance every night.
You can go for the golden seats set up in Sultan Pool, as thousands come each night for the shows. They come year after year, except during the corona time.
Besides the dozens of young security staff on guard, a fire engine waits inside ready for an emergency.
But not far away is something new, very new.
The new StandwithUs sign is on King David Street by the King David Hotel.
Stand With Us has opened its new educational center with a program designed for groups to explain – What is Zionism.
Breaking down the Jewish story into sound bites to keep it simple.
The Israel story in its simplest form, indigenous roots, exile, and liberation, SWU is trying to reach the new instant information generation.
The Jerusalem, Israel story is not short and goes back thousands of years.
The infamous “green line” is barely green, but I passed over it this week
to get to the New Gate of the Old City for a new Jerusalem street festival.
The views of Jerusalem are many and varied, nothing is simple or straight. Its politics is as complicated and twisted as its streets.
There is no grid or plan, but rather growth appears random.
The old and new mingle and mix.
The view from Hebrew University on Mount Scopus is familiar to many. The two towers in Arnona, are new on the horizon.
The view of the iconic Tower of David is a familiar one also. But even that well-known citadel is getting a facelift.
The view from Jerusalem to Jordan across the Dead Sea is less well-known but at sunset often dramatic and photo-worthy.
This week the sight of groups of young people touring again in Jerusalem was a pleasure to view. Unless you were trying to drive or walk as they crowded excitedly and noisily onto Jerusalem street corners trying to get across the Jerusalem streets.
From the new Nefesh BeNefesh building at Cinema City, the panoramic view of the city includes the Israeli Supreme Court on the far right, well over Sacher Park and beyond, and toward the Nachlaot neighborhood.
Inside Cinema City, the center area was preparing for a summer indoor Ninja activity center
This is a new view from The Valley of the Cross, the stone wall destroyed by flooding water four years ago near the Monastery is finally being repaired.
This is the summer of the food trucks – in Jerusalem again and areas around have proven to be a popular destination for families in the evening.
The views in the Hinnom Valley at night are captivating, as people try and decide which meal they will enjoy.
New to the Jerusalem streets is this green bike path. These old narrow streets are now less convenient for parking on the sidewalk with these lanes.
But it is where you look up, not down, that the most prominent difference is apparent.
These are not the familiar buildings in view of Jerusalem. The Vert Hotel on the far right started off as the Hilton and was the only tall building. Now with construction, the skyline is constantly changing as towers go higher.
And the Har Hamenuchot cemetery over the new Highway #1, grows up and out with new “residents” arriving regularly.
It has been a while since I was on the way out of Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
The towers and skyline of Tel Aviv constantly amaze.
I went to attend the Jerusalem Post Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit led by Tamar Uriel-Beeri Managing Editor, and by Maayan Hoffman,Head of Conferences for Jerusalem Post.
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan Nahoum was the opening speaker.
It was exciting to attend a live event again after so long, to see friends and meet new people.
The legendary Israeli entrepreneur Yossi Vardi said he has been involved in startups since 1969, but judged by body language, Vardi was not used to being the only male on a long program with a list of female participants.
Tel Aviv was warmer and humid, and a different venue than usual.
However, the view at night of the lights was impressive.
Back to Jerusalem and the start of the Hebrew month of Av and the Nine Days. Time to remember the destruction in the past leading up to Tisha b’Av.