Jerusalem Week of Contrasts

In Jerusalem, Israel it was another week of extremes and contrasts.

Jaffa Gate was still closed and the plaza was empty outside and inside. As the world turned and the sun rose and set, the Old City was shut down.

Warms days followed by heavy winter rains filled Mamilla Pool. By Friday, people had ventured down to check out the winter wonder.

A view of the new of the Museum of Tolerance from old Mamilla cemetery .

Businesses are struggling to survive near Mamilla Mall during lockdown.

Two (even one) wheelers are in the still closed Mamilla Mall, where only a liquor store was open this past week.

The Arab shuk near Jaffa Gate was shuttered tight on Friday.

The only two people on the street Friday afternoon were police officers. The souvenir store vendor who earlier in the week tried to get me to buy something, anything, was not around and his store was shuttered down.

The infrastructure work near the Kotel, Western Wall, was completed by Friday and all was quiet. Guards were carefully watching who could enter.

I was instructed “No praying allowed” this past week.

On Monday, construction work was going full steam on the Kotel Plaza.

Interesting how fast work can proceed in Jerusalem- or how slowly.

Maybe one day the abandoned Pearl hotel will be fixed up for guests, at least no one sleeps on the streets outside now.

Parts of the old President’s Hotel were reduced to rubble last week.

Building on King George Street which was torn down to build hotel

Remember this derelict building on Jerusalem’s King George Street?

Two 10-story towers are rising in its place on the street near the Plaza Hotel.

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Even the old police station on Jaffa Road was getting a new paint job.

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Look what is rising over Jaffa Road next to the Machane Yehudah Market!

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Contrast this lockdown scene in the shuk – at the same time as the Old City was closed and empty.

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A favorite winter sight, not masks, but piles of those ripe red strawberries.

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Walking home I noticed new bright graffiti covering old walls in Nahlaot.

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The old synagogue was shut tight, with no prayers allowed inside.

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But the light shining through its stained glass window was colorful and bright and could be seen from the street.

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One more bit of new graffiti on a wall and the mess of a contrast next to it.

Jerusalem streets may have light traffic, but the sidewalks have been busy!

Besides people out walking more during the limited distance restriction,

there have been plenty of two wheelers of many types and kinds and skills.

I will spare you all the photos this week of bikers who nearly ran me over.

We continue to have to deal with noisy protesters day after day after night.

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Ah, but Jerusalem the center of the world, is quieter than usual.

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However wandering the Jerusalem streets there was still music to be heard.

And signs of spring to see in nature, even in this locked down week.

Hard to believe this was Tu Bishvat last year, remembering a favorite and beautiful moment, Hatikvah – the hope at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence – BCE – Before Corona Era.

What a contrast to this year! And next year?

No one knows what will be or even who will be the next Israeli President?

Hope and flowers and continued vaccination campaign…and partial lifting of restrictions to begin this week.

Hope to see you soon on the Jerusalem streets. Take care and stay well out there.

Jerusalem Autumn Colors in Photos

Jerusalem Autumn Colors in Photos

In the Northeastern United States,

the leaves turn vivid colors in autumn

before they fall off the trees and pile up below.

While walking around in Jerusalem, Israel, yesterday,

I was impressed by the many colors of Jerusalem.

Straight out of the camera, no fancy editing filters were needed

Jerusalem Israel fall colors in garden area

to capture the fall colors of this lovely new area.

Only a few meters away,

Ceramic fountain in Jerusalem Israel

 the fountain of the North African Jewry Heritage Center

is always a colorful sight.

After a few days of rain,

the sun came out and warmed up the streets.

Jerusalem street cats on sunny fall day

Street cats of all colors were resting in the sun.

In an alleyway of Nahlat Shivah

Blue Jerusalem door in old neighborhood

this door is painted bright blue

to keep the evil eye away.

Hospital old French in Jerusalem Israel with blue sky near old city walls

Near the walls of the Old City

there are blue painted bars on the old French Hospital’s windows.

When it started to rain,

the popular summer attraction

Jerusalem Israel umbrella over streets

of colorful umbrellas  was taken down;

these were the last ones off of Yoel Salomon Street.

The Museum of Tolerance can now be seen above ground,

Museum of Tolerance construction and sign

and with plans for over 240 toilets

it should be a very popular tourist (rest) stop.

I love Jerusalem in Zion Square Israel

This “I love Jerusalem” attraction is new.

But I especially love the Jerusalem colors:

On Jaffa Road two nuns in traditional habits walk by

black and white,

Jaffa Road man wearing unusual shirt with stripes

and all kinds of stripes,

all can be seen on the Jerusalem streets.

Actor on Jaffa Road, in most unusual costume Jerusalem Israel

This guy fits my ‘you never know what you will find’ theme.

I have no idea what that is around his face.

Men filming on Jerusalem Israel Jaffa Road location

However he is assured a seat where ever he goes.

If you find a video he is in, please send me a link.

Jerusalem Israel Old City near Jaffa Gate photo displays

The newest attraction is along the Old City Walls.

These over-sized colorful photos of people

Large photos of Jerusalem faces near Jaffa Gate

are portraits of residents and workers in the Old City.

However, I prefer the natural colors,

Fall in Teddy Park Jerusalem Israel

the changing leaves in Teddy Park,

Street in Yemin Moshe with flowers in mid day sun Jerusalem Israel

and the flowers of Yemin Moshe.

These photos were all taken on a short walk on one nice day.

However, posting on today’s date,

I must include one old favorite street sign–

כט November street sign in Jerusalem for 29 November

Kaf Tet November.

70 years ago, in 1947,

the United Nations Partition Plan was accepted,

a day so significant it has its own Jerusalem street.

Israel Booming: From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv to Beer Sheva

Impossible.

It is impossible to compress all that has happened

this past week into a 30-second blog post.

Complexity has to be cut to a sound bite, while

we keep trying to share what the mainstream media misses.

President of Cyprus flag up in Jerusalem

The President of Cyprus was visiting,

and his country’s flag hung on Jerusalem, Israel streets.

I wonder what dignitaries see of what is really happening.

Did the President meet regular Israelis?

Did you know he was here?

Or that the German Bundestag President is speaking at the Knesset?

Most people just read of “conflict” and troubles,

 but construction is booming.

Huge cranes fill the skylines.

The Museum of Tolerance is above ground,

Museum of Tolerance

the construction site is busy with dozens of Arab workers.

building in Tel Aviv

In Tel Aviv, more towers are under construction,

two are going up near the Google office.

desert blooming

The flatland of the Negev is such a contrast

to the Judean Hills of Jerusalem.

large Hebrew sign saying they keep shmita

For the shmita year, some farmers are taking

the sabbatical year literally, leaving the land untended.

Negev desert

But in the Negev,

Rahat seen from highway

the Bedouin town of Rahat is booming,

Soda Stream plant near Rahat

 and Soda Stream’s new plant stretches out in the sand nearby.

A few kilometers down the road

large sign welcome to Beer Sheva

there is a new sign welcoming visitors to the new Beersheva.

The once sleepy desert town is the largest city in the Negev.

Beersheva is booming with new neighborhoods,

new business and new cultural life.

After the hundreds of rockets from Gaza last summer,

bomb shelter built in south

 Beersheva homes are getting new safe rooms.

There were so many sleepless nights due to red alert sirens

announcing the oncoming missiles that

home bomb shelters are being installed.

Will running to a safe spot be the summer activity again?

There was another rocket last night in the south,

and it was not the first of the season.

The UNHRC has released its report.

Did they take into account the millions of Israelis

living under terrible conditions last summer?

peace slogan in Hebrew

“I believe in PEACE” says this sticker on a Jerusalem crossing.

Everyone hopes those rockets from Gaza,

and the explosions on the Golan border will stop.

Preparing for summer in Jerusalem

Big plans for this summer.

The start-up nation is booming.

Weddings and end-of-year school performances fill the evenings.

No bombs and rockets are welcome.

Nothing is simple,

but like this Jerusalem bus sign,

Neseya tova

here’s wishing all a good and safe trip.