From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

On Friday, July 14, 2017, two Israeli policemen

were shot and killed while on duty at the Lion’s Gate entrance

to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.

The international media already seems to have forgotten.

International headlines are blasting

about the fact that Israel installed metal detectors

while ignoring the reason for them.

The guns to shoot the policeman in the back

were hidden in their supposedly holy sanctuary.

On Wednesday, July 19, I joined a group

organized by OneFamily to visit the grieving families.

New roads outside Jerusalem Israel

We left the hills of Jerusalem,

Israel outside of Jerusalem, flat and green

went past green fields,Israeli countryside bales of hay

 many filled with bales of hay,

View from bus driving north in Israel

and row after row of banana trees.

Driving to northern Israel

Israeli supermarket named Texas

we passed a Texas supermarket and traveled

Galil road on way to Druze village

 on roads that reminded me of the hills of West Virginia.

Along the way we passed the town of Maalot-Tarshiha

Israel Monument Maalot

and this sign which made me think of the

 Maalot Massacre and terrorists killing Jews in their homes,

then murdering 22 more children on a school trip.

Finally,

Israel Memorl at entrance to Norfeish

we arrived at the entrance of Horfeish,

with its large Israeli and Druze flags.

Two black memorial ribbons on photos of two Druze policemen killed by terrorist at Lion's Gate Jerusalem

Next to them were posters with black memorial ribbons

around the faces of the two murdered policemen.

Men mourning Kamil Shnaan in Horfeish who was murdered by terrorist near Temple Mount

On the wall over the male mourners

was a photo of Kamil Shnaan,

Female members of Kamil Shnaan family mourning his murder in Jerusalem Temple Mount

while his mother in the women’s section

clutched her murdered son’s photo.

The Druze women were dressed in black with white scarves,

Family of Kamil Shnaan look at his photo during memorial visit by Jews and others in Horfeish

and received hundreds who came to pay their condolences.

Among the visitors were a group

Zion Riders come to pay respects to family of police officer Kamil Shnaan who was murdered

of senior bikers, the Zion Riders.

Zion Rider came to pay respects to family of Kamil Shnaan

Not sure what the young boys were thinking,

when one of them revved up his Harley-Davidson to leave.

Druze female mourners dressed in black with white scarves

Little was spoken, for what is there to say

to a woman who has just lost her youngest son?

Then back in the bus,

Kinneret view from bus on trip to Sitawe Family

as we drove down the winding road

there was a majestic view of the Kinneret.

Israel has so many beautiful spots,

but we were on our way to next grieving family.

Father of murdered policeman with white mourning scarf

The father of murdered policeman, Haiel Sitawe,

was upstairs with the men and stood to receive his visitors.

The women downstairs wanted no photos taken.

Large wedding portraits of Haiel were placed

along the wall behind the row of grieving women.

His widow was beautiful as any model, though so pale and sad.

Haiel will not get to see his baby son grow up,

Picture of Haiel Sitawe from women's mourning room, one of several located behind where they sat

who will only know his father’s smile from photos.

The world may have a short memory,

but Jewish people have a long memory and will not forget.

Before I could get this blog posted,

we have moved on to a new tragedy.

 Friday night in Halamish,

a terrorist knocked on the door of the Salomon family

who were expecting guests for their Shalom Zachor,

a special party to celebrate the birth of a new baby boy.

Instead the door was opened to a knife-wielding murderer.

No, it has nothing to do with metal detectors,

there were none for Muslims (or most of rest of us)

back in 1974, for Maalot Massacre,

or for the Fogel Family Massacre six years ago.

These are not clashes, but cold-blooded murderers,

mostly young men incited by the hateful, lying Arab media

and egged on in their echo-chamber of hate

to strike and kill innocents.

I hope to share “nice days” from now on,

but do not count on it,

Hamas and Abbas are counting on terror in order to

to distract from their problems,

and so far it is working for them.

The Jerusalem streets are quieter than usual,

it is summer and people are away,

hoping it stays that way. Quiet. but not too quiet.

Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

In the first six months of this year,

Israel saw a record number of tourists.

That confirms my saying there have been

so many tour buses on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

This week also felt like a new record in the making.

No sooner had the Prime Minister of India left,

that the President of Rwanda arrived,

followed by the Irish Foreign Minister.

I thought someone made a mistake in the official guest book,

Israel President's official gust book

but the calligraphy was ready and waiting for the next guest.

I feel sorry for the person in charge of flags,

trying to keep the correct ones up for each official delegation.

But not just tourists and international delegations

have arrived in record numbers.

The World Maccabiah sports competitions are being held

from July 4- July 17, 2017.

10,000 athletes, from 80 countries,

compete for medals in Jerusalem and around the country.

Maccabiah flags were displayed outside of Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s official residence

 for a meeting of World Maccabiah delegates with

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Flags for Maccabiah outside Beit Hanasi in gardens with man representing South Korea sitting on ground

South Korea was represented by this man competing in Judo.

Most people were wearing regular clothing

Australia at Maccabiah at Beir Hanasi

but these Australians wore Maccabi shirts,

and stopped long enough to pose for a photo.

Children choir from Beer Sheva at Beit Hanasi for Maccabiah

The beautiful voices of a children’s choir group

from Beer Sheva provided entertainment,

between the effusive and positive speeches.

Attention was given to break of protocol when

 President Rivlin hugged the Indian Prime Minister.

But after the official photo with leaders of World Maccabiah,

the President again broke protocol

and walked to the back of the room

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin meets with Maccabiah

to take selfies with members of the Maccabiah group.

The affection and excitement was impressive.

US Olympic swimmers Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg for Maccabiah at Israeli President House

Also impressive were

Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg,

USA gold Olympic medalists.

And much less familiar swimmers,

Maccabiah swimmer from Suriname at Israeli president residence for Maccabiah

like Yigal Kopinsky of Suriname.

I could go on and on with the interesting countries

and delegates from Puerto Rico, Barbados, and more.

But I want to share what happened on the Jerusalem streets

with tens of thousands participating,

not just a few special individuals.

For the Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run,

runners in Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run Emek Refaim Street

streets were closed as tens of thousands of runners,

took 5 or 10-K or half-marathon routes.

Hundreds were taking photos and selfies with phones,

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run runner with a camera

but this was first time I have seen a runner

participating in a race with such a serious camera.

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

Near the end of the routes

which went back toward the starting line,

Jerusalem Israel Maccabiah Night Run

runners turned toward the Old City.

runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night run

A  friend waved on her way back to Jaffa Gate.

Runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run shower near end of route

A cool shower was waiting near the finish line.

For Jerusalem, it was a hot night.

Street closed due to Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The final stretch was past the Old City Walls

where spectators waited to cheer runners on,

Light projection on Walls of Old City

with the 50-years unification of Jerusalem light show

playing in the background.

People taking a selfie photo at end of Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The smiles at the finish line next to Mamilla Mall –

were priceless.

The Maccabiah sports range from golf, with one male playing,

to ice hockey in new Jerusalem rink,

to bridge, and of course tennis and swimming.

And chess,

where Natan Sharansky played 20 opponents,

at the same time.

He won 17 games and tied 3 others.

Some make light of these “Jewish Olympics”

but Jason Lezack representing the athletes, spoke beautifully.

I think his words are important enough to share:

 

For additional photos:

Maccabiah 2017   HERE

and   Night Run    HERE

Prime Minister Modi in Israel: Warm Hugs and Agreements

Prime Minister Modi in Israel: Warm Hugs and Agreements

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.

President Reuven Rivlin hugs PM Modi at Beit Hanasi

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin greeted Modi

outside Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

breaking protocol with a hug instead of handshake.

Walking red carpet into Beit Hanasi PM Modi of Indie

Both men then walked the red carpet to the residence,

Modi signing guest book with President Reuven Rivlin watching

and Prime Minister Modi signed the guest book.

President Rivlin and PM Modi shake hands after signing guest book in Jerusalem Israel

Time for another warm handshake moment,

In Jerusalem Israel India Prime Minister Modi signed official guest book

after the warm message.

Official meeting of Israel President Rivlin and PM India Modi in Jerusalem, Israel

Media crowded into the official reception room.

Most of the press left for the next stop on the full itinerary,

President Reuven Rivlin introduces head of Israeli Army to PM Modi of India in Jerusalem, Israel

and missed the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Army

Gadi Eizenkot, arriving to shake hands with Modi.

Then at the King David Hotel,

Lunch table at King David Hotel for PM Modi of India and those officials signing agreements.

the table was set for a lunch meeting between

the Prime Ministers and delegation officials.

Media ready for speeches of Israel and India Prime Ministers at King David Hotel i

The lunch went longer than scheduled

but the cameras were ready

Israeli government MK Kara and Stelinlitz at King David Hotel for India Israel press conference

while Israeli Ministers chatted and also waited.

PM Modi and Netanyahu enter room for press conference at King David Hotel Jerusalem Israel

The Prime Ministers made their entrance,

Prime Ministers Israel and India at press conference

and gave their speeches

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi of India hug in Jerusalem after signing of agreements

followed by more hugs.

There were numerous jokes,

of this warm and hugging visit,Sign for Modi in Israel

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,

Globe photo shopped over bald head in photo of important press conference

 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.

Additional photos: King David Hotel  and Beit Hanasi.