Shimon Peres: World Leaders in Jerusalem, Israel

Usually the streets are busy on Friday mornings,

especially before an approaching holiday,

but in Jerusalem, Israel, this was no regular Friday morning.

streets blocked

Main streets were closed to traffic,

even some schools had to close,

as the main Route #1 into Jerusalem

was reserved for the personal motorcade of

US President Barak Obama.

The funeral for former President Shimon Peres

was not to be a usual funeral either.

The state funeral at Har Herzl

crowd at funeral

brought together an array of international leaders,

like Jerusalem or the world has ever seen.

Barak Obama at funeral

President Obama flew in and out of Israel

for the funeral in Har Herzl cemetery.

Funeral Shimon Peres

President Reuven Rivlin spoke

funeral Peres Benjamin Netanyahu

as did Prime Minister Netanyahu,

Bill Clinton Benjamin Netanyahu

 former US President Bill Clinton,

and current US President Barak Obama.

funeral Shimon Peres

The entire funeral event was live-streamed around the world.

kippa on heads of president Rivlin and Obama

Imagine all those world leaders wearing kippot on their heads,

Prince Charles and John Kerry

Prince Charles even had a special one,

not like John Kerry’s plain black style.

What will happen next as the old year 5776 ends?

Yes, it was not your usual Friday in Jerusalem.

so I had to share more than a simple Shabbat Shalom,

Mahahumd Abbas at funeral in Jeusalem

Was that Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands in the front row

in Jerusalem, Israel, today?

One thing for sure,

Shimon Peres proved that most anything is possible.

If you hang in there long enough,

you can become a president.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014,

while Peres was still in office,

young children from the south were invited for

a fun day camp at Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s house.

This clown put a dove on the President’s head,

Performers at Beit Hanasi put dove on hear of President Shimon Peres

those children should remember the moment forever.

Peres pursued peace, and for at least one moment

the bird of peace was truly upon his head.

A solemn day, but

I like to remember the great video recorded after his presidency.

Now it is time to prepare for Shabbat,

time to get back to “normal.”

שבת שלום

שנה טובה

Shabbat shalom

Happy New Year.

Jerusalem Funeral of Murdered Frenchmen: Photos and Flags

Today the large French and Israeli flags were coming down.

flags FRance

They had been hung for a show of unity with France,

as Israeli leaders,

along with French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal,

joined thousands of mourners in attending the funeral yesterday

at Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel.

closed Highway

The road leading to the cemetery was closed

 and traffic was backing up with unhappy drivers.

police motorcycle

But the special free shuttle buses had a police escort

and went around the stopped vehicles.

female solders

Security lined the roads

cemetery

and much of the cemetery.

water

Free water bottles were piled high in several locations.

photo media

International media and TV cameras were set.

crowd at funeral

Crowds tried to get past guards to enter,

but only those with invitations were allowed to pass.

talit for funeral

Here a family member was carrying a talit,

which is used to cover the body before burial.

French signs

There were a few signs

image funeral crowd

in the crowd,

I am signs

one with the faces and names of four men murdered,

because they were Jews,

Yohan Cohen,

Yoav Hattab,

Philippe Braham,

Francois-Michel Saada,

Israeli flag at funeral

and Israeli flags.

people inside funeral

Immediate mourners and dignitaries were behind barriers,

Frenchmen funeral

inside other barriers.

Sephardi rabbi kiss hand

Everyone rose when the Chief Rabbi entered,

and many stopped him to kiss his hand.

scene of Funeral

One by one Zaka members carried in the men,

murdered in terror attack in Paris, France on  erev Shabbat.

funeral speaking

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat escorted a family member,

who lit a flame and spoke.

The Chief Rabbis,

Israel President Reuven Rivlin

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin,

funeral French security

French Minister Segolene Royal,

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking behind bullet proof glass

and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

spoke in a protected area where only a special photographer

could get a photo without distorted reflections.

funeral French crowd

It was a sad day,

funeral

for all involved.

Inside the main area it did not seem like so many people came,

crowd at Givat Shaul cemetery

but upon leaving it was obvious that thousands could not get in.

They filled the streets as they filed out slowly.

I am Charles

Waiting shuttle buses returned us to town,

where more signs lined the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Sadly, Jerusalem has had large funerals before

and has learned how to prepare for the huge crowds.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was the last one

for innocent people murdered by terrorists?

Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day,

began with an official ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.

Traffic on the way to Har Herzl to get to the ceremony

was backed up for blocks,

image Israel apartheid, photo Arabs Jerusalem, Palestinians picture

  it was faster to get out and walk to the shuttle buses,

rather than to sit in the line of cars.

Those watching the opening ceremony at home on TV,

photo security, image security

did not have to come hours early and go through layers of security.

But this year I did go and we were lucky,

as it was warmer than usual.

image Asher Aud, photo Holocaust survivor, picture torch lighter

The Holocaust survivor to light the first of six memorial torches was Asher Aud.

His son Tziki Aud leads one of my favorite organizations,

the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.

As with many other survivors,

without proper food during their growing years,

the children tower over their parents.

image large photo lens, picture of lenses for camera

Photographers were ready with powerful lenses.

image IDF, photo soldiers, picture soldier

Every beret had to be perfect,

image soldiers, photo IDF< picture Yad Vashem

for the honor guard on stage,

image soldiers, picture young soldiers, photo IDF

standing at attention for most of the program.

One advantage of attending a TV broadcast

is that you know it will start on time.

image rabbis, photo dignitaries, picture Jerusalem mayor

Even dignitaries had to arrive early, so there was time to chat.

image Rabbi Lau, photo Rabbi Yisrael Mei Lau, picture Rabbi Lau

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch to open the program

image memorial flame, photo Yad Vashem, picture flame at Yad Vashem

and passed the lighter to a soldier who saluted before leaving the stage.

image violinist, photo man playing violin, picture violinist

Sanya Kroitor played during the first of the musical interludes.

image Shimon Peres, photo Peres speaking, picture large screens

A large screen on each side of the stage projected

a huge image of the speakers to thousands seated in the plaza.

image Benjamin Netanyahu, photo Israeli prime minister speaking, picture Bbi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after President Peres.

image Yad Vashem, photo ceremony Yom HaShoah, picture Remembrance Day

The lights and colors were great for photos,

but I wondered how the view was for two people watching  from on top?

photo Yad Vashem, image torch, picture torch lighting

Each survivor honored to light a memorial torch stood

as a video with Hebrew and English subtitles retold their story.

The audience was silent,

listening to their incredible stories of survival.

image memorial, photo Yad Vashem, picture lights

Six grandchildren stood ready to help each grandparent.

image Shimon Peres with crowd, photo Peres at YadVashem, picture President shaking hands

At the end of the ceremony, President Shimon Peres went to shake their hands.

image Yad Vashem, photo Yad Vashem, picture Yad Vashem memorial

Then thousands had to get out of Yad Vashem and to find their way home.

On Yom HaShoah, there were way too many other programs

in community centers, synagogues and schools to mention here.

image Israeli flag, large Israel flags blowing photo, picture blue and white flags

Israeli flags were flying at Har Herzl cemetery parking lot.

The season “the Yoms” has started,

Israeli flags are popping up everywhere,

first Yom HaShoah,

 next week Yom Hazikaron, followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut.

image Israel 66, photo Yom Haatzmaut, picture Israel birthday

Signs are up announcing the celebration of Israel 66 on May 6.

#NeverAgain                #WeAreHere

UPDATE:

How could I?

I forget one of “the Yoms!”

As soon as I approached the Montefiore Windmill,

my mistake was obvious.

Busloads of children on school trips are on the streets,

Yom Yerushalyim is May 28.