Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel, for the Yoms 

as usual was overloaded with events,

 many this year influenced in anticipation of

Celebrating 50 years liberation of Jerusalem

50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

Israeli flags are draped down the sides of buildings.

Israeli flags Israel Museum for memorial and Independence day

These are at the Israel Museum entrance

where the dome of the Shrine of the Book can be seen.

Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Remembrance Day

for fallen soldiers and victims of terror,

began Sunday night with memorials throughout Israel,

and were accompanied by prayers, speeches and memorial flames.

The official state ceremony seen live on television,

was held at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

where President Reuven Rivlin lit the memorial light.

Ammunition Hill on Israel Memorial Day

Sponsored by the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

a memorial service was held at Givat HaTachmoshet, Ammunition Hill,

the site of deadly fighting to defend Jerusalem in 1967.

The program in English was live-streamed

and seen by over 16,000 people around the world.

All day Monday, tens of thousands of Israelis visited cemeteries.

Cemetery Jerusalem 1948-49

This cemetery has many graves from 1948-1950,

 the first years that Jews could not get to

the Mount of Olives due to the Jordanian occupation

and had to find new places to bury their dead.

One man standing by old grave in Jerusalem cemetery on Yom Hazikaron

On Yom HaZikaron, a man prayed by a grave.

Israeli military grave on Yom HaZikaron

A small Israeli flag with a black ribbon attached,

and small bunch of flowers, yizkor, remembers

Flowers, Israeli flag and black yizkor ribbon on 1948 grave

those much too young who died in war.

The cemetery is next to Harel Garden

Memorial wreath at Harel Garden Memotial

and Memorial wall, where this lone wreath was placed.

Walk around the memorial and you can see

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

that Gush Etzion is 16 kilometers from Cinema City and

the Israeli Supreme Court and government offices.

Israel Yom HaZikaron at Har Herzel end of day

Tens of thousands came to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

during the day, to place flowers and to mourn,

remembering those lost to war and terror.

Woman sitting near graves of Har Herzl military cemetery Yom Hazikron

The crowds thinned at end of day,

Two soldiers walking on Har Herzl Cemetery

and all headed home from the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

But as the sun set,

on another part of Har Herzl,

Stage ready for Yom Haaztmaut official televised program

the lights went on this huge stage,

celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

This year for the first time two non-Israelis were selected

with the honor of lighting one of the 12 memorial flames,

Rabbi Marvin Hier and Michael Steinhardt,

Two US honorees in Israeli ceremony

seen here before the official program began.

The show is telecast live and seen by thousands,

Show for Yom Haatmaut ceremony

but watching on TV you could not see them remove

the circle of fire used in one production number.

It is an extravaganza with set rituals,

Israel Independence day starts with lighting of ceremony torch

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat broke with tradition

when he joined with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein

to light the official flame of Israel’s Independence Day.

waving flags and cheering

Seats were at a premium, the flag waving,

 cheering crowd did not need a lot of encouragement.

One of 12 torch lighters Chana Henkin

Besides the two Americans, I wanted to see Rabbanit Chana Henkin

 who was honored as one of the twelve torch lighters,

one for each tribe of Israel.

Dr Ahmad Eid speaks at Yom Haatzmaut ceremony

Dr. Ahmed Eid, an Arab doctor, was another honoree.

Military with flags at ceremony on Yom Haatzmaut on Har Herzl

The program featured songs and military colors.

Soldiers form a Jewish star during official ceremony for Yom Haatzmaut

For this shot, no seat in the stands would work,

Sunset at Har Herzl camera over head

only this overhead camera would do.

Afterwards celebrations went all night,

in too many locations to list, with prayers, songs and dancing.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

The next day at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

 120 outstanding soldiers were honored in the morning

Front row Beit Hanasi on Yom Haatzmaut

and in the afternoon rows of diplomats came,

Yom Haatazmaut at Beit Hanasi

along with one young Presidential grandson,

to pay their respects to Israel and hear the Prime Minister

and President speak on theme,”next year in Jerusalem.”

While the heads of consuls and foreign military were at Beit Hanasi,

Gan Sacher Yom Haatzmaut

thousands of Israelis were in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

Lone Soldier Center mangal Yom Haatzmaut

Most of the green spaces all over the country were full of Israelis.

On the radio were announcements of crowded roads to JNF parks.

Couch brought to Gan Sacher

This family brought a couch to Gan Sacher,

which is one way to make your holiday mangal, BBQ, feel like home.

I know this is getting way too long,

but there was so much more,

like the Bible Competition, free museums, and performances.

festive meals, and those IDF flyovers and stunts.

Israel, after 69 years

as President Rivlin said, is young for a country,

 under constant threat and repeated attacks,

yet has accomplished so much.

So it was,

Flowers at Beit Hanasi 69

from memorials to celebrating independence,

so much happening in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Where?

Timing and location are everything.

I was feeling badly for Romanian President Basescu who is here for an official state visit.

flag of Romania image, picture of Romanian flag, photo Jerusalem Romania visit

Though the Romanian flag was flying over some main Jerusalem, Israel streets,

his visit seemed so overshadowed by

photo PM Canada, image Steven Harper, picture Steven Harper and wife

the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen.

image red carpet welcome, photo red carpet for PM Harper, picture Bibi Netanyahu

PM Harper received a red carpet welcome,

picture visit Harper to Israel, photo Steve Harper and Netanyahu, picture honor guard review

and a full honor guard review.

image Israeli leaders, photo Israeli government leaders, Picture Israel politicians

Israeli political leaders lined up to shake his hand,

image official receiving line. photo dignitaries to greet prime minister, t

along with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and many religious leaders,

photo Canadian Jewish delegation, image Jewish leaders with Harper, picture group with Harper

and Jewish leaders from Canada.

image Harper and Netanyahhus, photo Steven Harper, picture Sara and Bibi Netanyahu

It was as close to a royal reception as you will find in Israel.

But then I talked with an Israeli receptionist,

she was much more interested in my camera than these photos.

She had no idea who Harper was and seemed to care less.

image cat, photo cat in Jerusalem, Israel cat picture

One of those famous Jerusalem chutzpah cats

came through to check out the flowers and red carpet.

But unless you were stuck in traffic with all the various motorcades,

 it seems possible not to have even noticed.

As a new snow storm is hitting North America,

the weather here has been perfect.

image trees cut back, photo trees in SAcher park, picture park

The trees damaged in the Jerusalem December snow in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park

 look stark against the blue sky,

image spring flowers, first flowers of spring photo, picture wild flowers

but the first wild flowers of spring are popping out.

The overseas visitors are heading home,

and the Israeli President and Prime Minister are leaving

for the World Economic Conference in Davos,

so the Jerusalem streets should be a bit quieter for a few days.

Perfect time to head out for lunch in an out-door cafe,

and enjoy the warm sunny weather,

another good reason to be living in Jerusalem, Israel.

Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem

 Did you hear about Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel?

By now you must have heard that Mitt Romney was in Jerusalem

on the fast day of Tisha B’Av. 

 I had no details on the Romney press conference when I posted last week,

 but an hour later I had all the information I wanted.

What a wonder, the internet!

Even no food or water for 24 hours could not keep me away.

The Old City Walls were in the background as

"photo The Old City Walls'  "image mayor Jerusalem"

 Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat waited to welcome Romney to the stage.

"photo Romney", "image Romney"

Flags and a line of security lined the entrance route.

Already there have been hundreds of reports 

and millions of words written about the speech,

"Photo Romney Jerusalem", "image windmill", Picture Romney

which was given in the plaza near the Montefiore Windmill.

Only a small select crowd attended the Romney events.

However, what else did you hear about Tisha B’Av?

Did you hear that the night before, hundreds of people

"photo Tisha B'Av" , "image J street", "J Street photo"

   were out on the Jerusalem streets walking around the walls of

"photo  Jerusalem gate" . "picture Jerusalem",

 The Old City, passing first by the New Gate, new from 1887?

"photo light rail", "Jerusalem light rail image", Jerusalem photo

The new addition this year were the active Jerusalem light rail trains.

"picture east jerusalem", "photo J Street', Image crowd

As last year, Tisha B’av and Ramadan coincided,

"Damascus Gate photo", Image Damascus gate,. "Picture Shear Shcem.

so Damascus Gate at midnight was still celebrating.

"photo Damascus Gate"., "image horse", "security Jerusalem"

I only got one chance to take a photo, as security moved me away.

"Photo Jerusalem" Image jerusalem

Cameras and security were ready for trouble.

"dirty street" , "photo east  Jerusalem"

But the most shocking scene I could find was of all the garbage on the street.

The Women in Green had to petition the court to be allowed to walk,

though this was the 18th year for this event.

Like last year, I was impressed with the number of people

and the variety of the crowd that stayed 

so late at night for the closing speeches at the Lion’s Gate.

At 1:00am some marchers headed home while the buses were still running.

Others walked to the Dung Gate entrance to The Kotel, The Western Wall,

where many people stayed all night.

Tens of thousands of people,

peacefully celebrated Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem.

There was no violence, therefore it was not news.

This one minute video may help you feel the mood of the night.

"ramadan photos", "image Ramadan" , "picture Mamilla Mall

As I walked home at 2:00 am, the closed Mamilla Mall was full of people.

I noticed that it was decorated with strings of colorful lights

for the Muslim holy time of Ramadan.

Another sign of Israeli oppression?

For more on Romney visit click here.

 More photos from the Walk around the Walls.