Jerusalem, Israel center of the world?
This mural, based on a medieval map, is at Kikar Safra, Municipal Square, and is called “Center of the World.” There’s Jerusalem in the center with Europe, Asia, and Africa positioned around it.
With the world going virtual and viral during this coronavirus crisis, a night of unity with the Diaspora was held with a projection on the walls of the Old City near Jaffa Gate, which had flags and the message “Israel stands with you.”
Now is a good time to stay inside.
Neither is the weather going from too cold to too hot.
However, this week is very hot!
On my last walk before locking down, the Valley of Cross was bright green.
Today in the dry heat it is rapidly turning to summertime dead yellow.
But the big news, after over 500 days and 3 elections – there is a government.
The new Israeli Government #35 has 36 Ministers and 15 Deputy Ministers. The first socially distanced meeting was held in the Chagall Hall. Already there is the discussion (or rather dispute) whether this is better than a 4th election. Time will tell, but stability and progress would be nice. Meanwhile coming up with clever names for ministerial positions kept some folks entertained.
Lag B’Omer was very different this year, besides the cool weather last week.
In Jerusalem, we could open our windows, as air quality was a great improvement over past Lag B’Omer celebrations.
The smell of forest fires was in the air this morning, though we cannot see anything burning.
However, for Lag B’Omer, Jerusalem is not the place to be, but usually Meron is.
This year the only legal large bonfires were in Meron.
Where, instead of the usual tens of thousands of people crowding around, 50 guests were allowed for each of three fires.
One of the Lag B’Omer events at Mount Meron was broadcast live by the Government Press Office.
Musicians and speakers were spread out on various outdoor positions.
The guitarist was wearing a mask.
The Boyaner Rebbe who was honored to light the fire wore gloves.
These two men wore face shields, at a very different Meron celebration this Lag B’Omer.
In Jerusalem, for Lag B’Omer in the afternoon, our local Chabad tried to provide some music.
It was not quite Macy’s parade but was meant to entertain the children at home.
Now schools have reopened and traffic appears to be back to normal.
COVID-19 new cases and other numbers have gone down. But MDA is ready with its latest emergency vehicle – a MDA bus.
Inside multiple patients can be treated at the same time as seen demonstrated above.
The entire time of this novel coronavirus Israel has sent supplies into Gaza on a regular basis. The first week of May, 260 tons of medical supplies crossed over from Kerem Shalom Crossing.
On my last photo walk, this was a view of Shaarei Hesed.
Here is another image from the Liberty Bell Park.
For the first time, Jerusalem has overtaken Eilat in the number of hotel rooms (11,100) and now has the most in Israel. Some hotels are planning to start open next month.
No idea when photo walks will start up again.
The crowds of singing and dancing for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, will not happen as in the past years. The major official event will begin at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on Wednesday evening with the Prime Minister and President scheduled to speak.
Music and songs will be broadcast by Jerusalem municipality and multiple organizations. Smaller events are to be held in Jerusalem community locations.
Plus, there are to be small local flag dances in dozens of cities around Israel to celebrate the 53 yeas of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Neighbors have their flags ready for Yom Yerushalayim.
Celebrations changed drastically this year. The large holiday crowds did not appear as last year.
For centuries Jerusalem has been an attraction. Last year, 1.26 million tourists stayed in Jerusalem, spending a total of 4.17 million nights in the city.
Jerusalem continues to be Israel’s largest city, with 919,400 residents.
For a second consecutive year, there was negative migration of -6000, the lowest level for a decade. Of those leaving the city, 46% have left for communities in the Jerusalem metropolitan area. The number of those moving to Jerusalem is the highest ever – 12,800 people.
And the blazing sky over the Israel Museum and Jerusalem streets at sunset – impressive.