Jerusalem One Week in July – 9 Events and Fireworks

Jerusalem One Week in July – 9 Events and Fireworks

Once again it was a busy week in Jerusalem, Israel,

a week filled with events I am compelled to share with you.

Let’s see how many of these you heard about.

  1. Last night was another ‘pitch night’ for Jerusalem Biotech startups.

Jerusalem Deputy mayor at JlmBiomed meeting at Azerili college

There are so many innovative new biomedical and tech companies it is hard to keep up. Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum is a regular speaker at Azrieli College for Engineering for JLM-BIOCITY pitch nights.  However, last night twenty Chinese visitors attended this meetup on their last night in Israel before returning home to cities throughout China.

Did they understand all the English?

No, but they took plenty of photos on their phones.

Israeli President Volunteer Awards at Beit Hanasi 2019

2. President Rivlin hosted an awards ceremony to honor twelve volunteers, individuals, and organizations.

singers at Israeli President Volunteer Awards at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem Israel

While most of the Israeli media was out looking for riots, these young people were singing in the gardens for the Israeli President and invited guests.

President Rivlin and winners of volunteer awards at ceremony in garden of Beit Hanasi

The years of volunteerism and the diversity of projects of this honored group filled a souvenir book.

Photo for Jerusalem Unity Prize 2019 at Israel President's Residence

3. Again yesterday at Beit Hanasi, but inside this time, the Jerusalem Unity Prize was given to four groups. Three Israeli projects that promote unity and Moishe House for the diaspora. The award was started 5 years ago by then-Mayor Nir Barkat and the Fraenkel, Shaer, and Ifrach families in memory of their 3 murdered teens to promote the unity the families felt in their time of stress and mourning.

But there were more awards.

Diaspora journalism award in Jerusalem to Antonia Yamin

4. For journalism, one to Antonia Yamin for reporting for KAN broadcast media from Europe.

Zivla Klein award ceremony in Jerusalem Israel for journalism diaspora reporting

For print media, Tvika Klein won for his work with Diaspora reporting.

Dr Deborah Lipstadt speaking in Jerusalem Israel on antisemitism for Bnai Brith

The keynote speaker was Dr. Deborah Lipstadt who spoke on antisemitism.

Family of Deborah Lipstadt pose after her lecture on antisemitism in Jerusalem

She had support in the audience from family members. However, it was a shame many people were afraid to come because of the traffic delays the previous day. Seats were empty in what would have been a standing room only event.

Road construction can cause traffic to stop, but on that night there were no riots or serious delays.

US Embassy Jerusalem and IDI talk on religious freedom with Islamic sheikh speaking

5. The Israel Democracy Institute discussed the US Freedom of Religion report.

Who knew the US State Department has been issuing this report since 1998?

Jerusalem street signs for summer of 2019

Summer on the streets of Jerusalem, Israel and there are new signs.

6. The “Windows” exhibit in Gan Hasoos, Horse Park is causing buzz way before the Mekudeshet Festival begins in September.

Jerusalem Israel Hansen House entrance from outside gate

7. Hansen House hosts part of the Outline Festival events.

View of gallery at Hansen House for illustration festival

On July 4th which was advertised as opening day; this was the entrance to an exhibit.

view of one exhibit at Hansen House in Jerusalem Israel

Outline, illustration and poetry, and this was a speaker set up inside an audio offering.

Man looking at exhibit in Hansen House for an illustration festival called Outline

By night, this room was set up, during the day I was not allowed in.

Outline 2019 festival opening at Hansen House in Jerusalem

The courtyard was filled with music and people at night for the festival opening events.

During the day the guard did not know what I was looking for.

Jerusalem summer activities for children Hebrew street sign

Keeping children out of school safe and busy was high on families’ lists.

Jerusalem Israel First Station Hangar IDF exhibit

8. The IDF exhibit at First Station is an option. It is not busy in the morning, and you can get a security bracelet to enter on-site, not just online. However, I was not going to stand and wait for ten minutes in the midday sun to go inside when a guard at the door told me I was not allowed to take photos.

Jerusalem Israel Bell Park in summer

9. July 4th was a good time to go to Liberty Bell Park.

Jerusalem Israel Liberty Bell Park

The park was dedicated 43 years ago on the 200th-anniversary celebration of the United States Independence Day.

Liberty Bell in Jerusalem Park Gan Paamon

An exact replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is in the center of this Jerusalem park. Yes, with the crack.

This blog is getting too long to share more photos of the Terry Fox and Billy Graham memorial gardens and the many other sections of the Liberty Bell Park.

But in Israel on July 4th, one remembers that forty-three years ago was also Operation Jonathan at Entebbe.

Memorial in Jerusalem Israel Liberty Bell Park for Jonathan Netanayhu Yoni Park

The Yonatan Netanyahu Garden was quiet this year, while a bar mitzvah celebration was held nearby. For the 40th anniversary, there was a major event at the Jerusalem Theater.

What a week it was in Jerusalem, Israel.

Now for the fireworks which you have been waiting for.

For a first, the US Embassy Jerusalem had 4th of July fireworks at its celebration (on July 2nd).

My video on Facebook has had 45 shares and over 8,000 views.

The event was at the International Conference Center, the fireworks could be seen over the Knesset with the Israeli flag in view.

So much happened this week on and over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

 

 

 

King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

One thing Jerusalem, Israel does not have is a good view of the sea.

An attempt for a beach in Liberty Bell Park was a poor substitute.

So a trip to the coast and the sea was a welcome treat.

Beach front sign in Hebrew Caesarea port

The sign “The Sea” between palm trees greets visitors to Caesarea coastal park.

Caesarea excavations

Here part of the remains of Herod’s Sebastos Harbor has been exposed.

Roman bath house excavation in Caesarea

But other portions are being worked on carefully by archaeologists.

Visitor Center in Caesarea

The trip was to attend the launch of the new Visitor Center.

Visitor center in Caesarea

Josephus wrote of Herod’s tribute to Caesar in the first century BCE.

Herod the Builder. Herod the Great. Ruler of Judea. Builder of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Builder of the fortress, Masada. Builder of Herodion.

Scene of old port of Herod in Caesarea

Herod built Sebastos to honor Caesar Augusta and the goddess Roma.

In this photograph from the video in the new Visitor Center video, we see his vision.

Image of port Herod built today Caesarea

One scene illustrated the hundreds of boats that came through.

Herod’s building project took ten years to complete. Tons open tons of cement went into rafts sunk, along the coast which had no natural harbor.

Herod or Hordus as he is called in Hebrew began globalization in the region.

From video in visitor center in Caesarea

Caesar Augustus attended the gala opening of the one mile long piers and temple.

Screen shot of video in visitor center of Caesarea of Herod's port

However, this massive building project lay in ruins for 2000 years.

Artifacts found in port of Caesarea

Now, located in one of the fourteen vaults Herod built to support the platform of the temple of Augustus and Roma, the new Caesarea Visitor Center is open to the public.

The once-thriving area was rebuilt and hosted many rulers over the centuries – pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Samaritan.

Roman remains from building of Caesarea by Herod

In the museum, artifacts from various periods are on display.

Caesarea Visitor Center menorah

An ancient menorah was placed next to a modern visual box, hard to catch in a photograph.

Layers of history in Caesarea Israel

Visuals of the past help the visitor to see how the 60-acre site would have looked.

King Herod’s gateway to the Mediterranean Sea was constructed in the 1st century BCE.

Pieces of pottery over the years found in harbor

On display are recovered pottery pieces that span the centuries.

Visitor Center in Caesarea at sunset

This was the outside of the vault of the Caesarea Visitor Center at sunset,

Roman baths in port of Caesarea at harbor

and next to it an area where Roman baths greeted weary seafarers.

Bottles of wine at event to launch Caesarea visitor center

The Caesarea project was funded by the Rothschild Foundation and featured family wine at its launch.

Sunset by the beach of Caesarea

As the sun set, this was as close to the beach as I could get.

Because of the tight security, I was afraid if I left I might not get back in.

Lights go on at launch of Visitor center at Caesarea Isale

The lights went on, the program began.

Woman and man dressed as statutes at nigh event in Caesrea to launch new visitor center

Musicians played and the statues turned. Oh my, they turned out to be live performers.

Israel president Rivlin speaking at launch of visitor center in Caesarea

President Reuven Rivlin arrived after a tour of the new museum and spoke.

President Rivlin and Arianna Rothschild cutting ribbon at new visitor center in Caesarea, Israel

Cutting the ribbon with Baroness Ariana de Rothschild before he headed back to Jerusalem.

Then the party and music really got going.

Perhaps that is why the neighbors were invited along with media and dignitaries?

Fancy ladies loo at launch of Caesarea visitor center.

Though I do not usually take selfies, this outdoor portable toilet fit for royalty needed a photo. Sorry, I cannot share the pleasant smell. This was not your usual portaloo.

The Caesarea harbor is to be once again a major stop for visitors.

I took a short clip from the video, which should be the first stop on a visit to the new Caesarea Visitor Center.

King Herod. King of Judea. Hard to describe in a few words in a blog.

Visitors can now experience parts of his story in Caesarea.

 

Israel at 71 – Who Would Believe, Who Could Imagine?

Israel at 71 – Who Would Believe, Who Could Imagine?

On Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, Israelis celebrated 71 years since the state was founded.

Beginning with sunset, it was obvious to visitors that this was no ordinary day. At Mamilla Mall, shops were closed and restaurants were closing early on Wednesday.

Jerusalem memorial for remembrance day in Mamilla Mall

The Yizkor, Remembrance Day memorial with its floral wreath was displayed near the entrance.

Independence Day sign in Hebrew near Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Israel

By the walls of the Old City near Jaffa Gate, a large sign said ‘Happy Independence Day! 71.’

View of Tower of David in Jerusalem Israel from across the street near Teddy Park

The Tower of David stood tall against the blue sky, with the setting sun reflecting gold hues upon its stones.

Jerusalem Israel Tower of David free on Independence Day

On Yom Ha’aztmaut there was free admittance to the Tower of David, as well as to other attractions.

Entrance sign for Teddy Park in Jerusalem Israel

Across the road, there were big signs marking the entrance to Teddy Park.

Only one problem–for security reasons, no one was allowed to enter at this entrance.

Going around to the other entrance, I saw that hundreds had already arrived.

Men davening mincha in Teddy Park

A group of men had gathered for afternoon prayers. From Teddy Park, knowing which direction to face when you pray is easy. Jews pray towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and have done so for millennia.

Crowd in Teddy Park for Independence Day celebration at night in Jerusalem

Slow singing started at 6:00 pm. Though it was an unusually cold night for spring, thousands arrived and filled the park.

The music turned to loud and joyous as celebrations for Yom Haatzmaut began at dark.

Teddy Park was only one of many places in Jerusalem with free public music.

The list is too long for now, as neighborhoods gathered to celebrate with music and fireworks.

Jerusalem Israel celebrating Independence Day

At First Station there was a musical prayer service

First Station Yom Haatzmaut Prayer service led by Shlomo Katz

led by Rabbi Sholom Katz, and it was well attended again this year.

Independence Day 71 Israel in Jerusalem at night

It was hard to get a good photo of such a large crowd.

But this short video should give you an idea of the energy.

Scene from Yom Haazmaut at Har Herzl show

The main state event is held on Har Herzl and is televised.

Har Herzl for Israeli Independence Day 71

Tickets are in big demand for the open theater and stage near Herzl’s grave.

Israel Independence Day show at Har Herzl with Yuli Edelstein

The event was held under the offices of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev.

Israel Independence day at Mount Herzl

Military colors play a major part of the program, and IDF, Fire and Police participated.

Two female Israelis in military dress uniform at Har Herzl

 

To take close up photographs of so many soldiers,

Army colors at Har Herzl Yom Haaztmaut

or photos from a distance is an annual dilemma.

Israel Independence Day 71

This event might be better appreciated watching at home on TV.

The outdoor mountain setting can also be very cold and windy.

Look at screen on the upper left side of the photo, you will see that these marchers form a menorah.

Israeli army in formation for Independence Day show in tV

Special this year, at the base of the menorah were these soldiers in wheelchairs.

Yom Haatzmaut official opening ceremony

The program has musical numbers with fireworks.

The popular Shalva Band performed during the program.

The program also included 12 torches representing the 12 Tribes, lit by 16 individuals who had overcome difficulties, all representing the “Spirit of Israel.”

People celebrating Independence Day in Jerusalem

But in spite of staying up late celebrating, tens of thousands of Israelis were off to parks during the day.

In Jerusalem, there may be fewer hikers, but there are a whole lot of grills in the parks.

This year was the first time in long time I was not in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, for Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Highway outside of Modiin on Independence Day

Riding on Israeli highways, like this one toward Modi’in, is a time to remember the old Route 1, with its single lanes winding through the Jerusalem hills.

View of Modiin, Israel, new city built

The municipality of Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut developed from nothing but barren land, and is now a thriving and growing city of over 90,000 residents.

Then Yom Ha’atzmaut, with all its grilled food, concludes with the Israel Prize ceremony.

Israel Prize on Independence Day 71

A day which began with military honors at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, and a Bible contest for teenagers at the Jerusalem Theater, comes to an end with Israel honoring its citizens who have contributed to various fields of knowledge or a lifetime of service for the public good.

Israel Prize on Independence Day 71

Miri and Chaim Ehrental started Zichron Menahem after their son died of cancer.  It is an organization which has helped thousands of families cope with cancer.

Winners of Israel Prize on Independence Day 71

The laureates who accomplished so much in their fields bring honor to themselves and all Israelis.

As President Rivlin said in his Yom Haatamaut greeting, “Dear friends at home here in Israel and around the world. Happy Independence Day! Chag Sameach!  Israel is seventy-one years old. Who would have believed seventy-one years ago that we would build cities from the swamps? That roads and railways would cross the sands?  Who could have imagined then the wonder that is the State of Israel?”

Who would have believed, who could have imagined?

Israel at 71!