New Color in Jerusalem

Passover preparations and Israeli children

  being out of school on vacation all week,

plus the arrival of holiday visitors,

are keeping people very busy.

The 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset

were sworn in yesterday,

and then they all went on a month long recess.

There were two special ribbon cutting events

that I want to make sure you know about.

Sunday was the special launch of an

 environmental program called the “Green Knesset.”

The dairy cafeteria inside the Knesset building has

image Knesset inside

 large windows to let sun in to heat the room and floor,

and special shading to keep heat from sun out in summer.

But now the “Green Knesset” has added

image bins to recycle bottles

special bins for recycling,

and at meetings water will no longer be served in bottles,

 saving 60,000 plastic bottles per year.

Water, paper and electricity are to be conserved.

No more large mountains of paper for the budget,

as each member will get a disk on key instead.

Those responsible for the first stage of the

 sustainability project gathered together on the Knesset roof.

image Yuli Edelstiein and other dignitaries at Kneset

 Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, smiling on the left side,

was the featured speaker

Israel Knesset building

and was honored to cut the ribbon on the roof

roof of Israel Knesset solar panel field

in the middle of the 1,406 solar panel field.

The next day a very different green project was opened,

the Jerusalem, Israel, nature reserve – the Gazelle Park.

opening Gazelle Valley nature park

The area where gazelles had roamed free,

did not go to real estate developers,

Jerusalem, Israel new park large water area

but back to nature and the people.

On opening day, thousands of all ages attended,

walking trail in Deer Valley Park

 walking nature trails,

Jerusalem Israel park

and listening to stories near the restored Orchard site.

sign in Valley of Gazelle water system

The water system is designed to sustain the plant and animal life.

Green spot in Jerusalem, Israel

In Israel, the end of winter means green grass,

dotted with colored wild flowers.

gazelle puppet on opening day of Gazelle Park

This was the only gazelle I saw on opening day,

but real ones are to have an area in which to roam free once again.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat smiling with children taking photos

Mayor Nir Barkat was smiling and posing for photos,

Nechama Rivlin cuts ribbon at Gazelle Park

and the ribbon was cut by First Lady Nechama Rivlin.

large nature park in Jerusalem, Israel

This Passover one does not have to drive or sit in car for hours to visit a park,

as the nature reserve is large, free to the public,

and open from 7:00 am to dark, 7 days a week.

Gazelle Valley 302b

Happy Spring Holiday.

פסח שמח

Happy Passover!

Israel’s President Shimon Peres

The day was sunny, clear and warm in Jerusalem, Israel.

image Knessest, sign in flowers

The flowers offered a colorful  ‘Welcome to the Knesset.”

The streets outside were unusually quiet.

But inside was a different story.

DSC_7212b Knessest building during voting for president

 With Israeli flags flying, there were three puffs of white clouds

over the Israeli Knesset building and

Reuven Rivlin was elected  Israel’s 10th president.

image Peres,

RJS was with outgoing President Shimon Peres

before his trip to Rome to see the Pope.

Pau Gasol and Shimon Peres meet.

Peres hosted basketball player Pau Gasol at Beit Hanasi,

the official Israeli President’s residence.

image Pau Gasol, photo Shimon Peres

The seven-foot tall Gasol plays for the LA Lakers,

but also was on the Spanish Olympic team

and presented Peres with this team shirt.

image Pau Gasol, photo Shimon Peres

Gasol signed the shirt as requested.

Though looking serious in this photo,

Shimon Peres made a few age and height jokes.

Then posed for an official photo

image Pau Gasol, photo Shimon Peres

with a mixed Arab-Jewish teen basketball team.

One thing for sure,

Peres’ staff had schedules which ran like clockwork.

Diplomats were leaving as the basketball players arrived,

and when we left another event was being set up.

image Peres

 RJS first close-up photo of Shimon Peres was on October 2009,

greeting the public at a Sukkah open house.

Shimon Peres and Jams Snyder at Israel Museum

Peres was in great form at the Israel Museum 50th celebration.

Receiving a photo of himself from the groundbreaking

50 years early had to be special moment.

At a conference in Jerusalem after leaving office,

Peres was talking about the human brain and its function,

and used the word “orgasm” instead of “organism.”

Any other politician would have made headlines,

only Peres could get away with such a slip-up.

image new bust of Shimon Peres in Presidential gardens

Shimon Peres is in the garden of Beit Hanasi, 

the Israeli presidential official residence,

the last in row of nine former Presidents of Israel.

No age jokes now.

Updated: September 27, 2016

after family called to hospital.