Apartheid, Segregation and now: Oppressive Occupation

Here we go again.

First Israeli Apartheid was the rage,

then segregation became a popular ‘hot’ slur.

Now the Deputy Foreign Minister from South Africa calls on his people

not to visit “occupier” Israel.

Too bad, for if his people were in Jerusalem, Israel,

they could see the “oppression” for themselves.

 Syrians are being killed daily by the hundreds,

 in Egypt military leaders are being purged after Muslim terrorists

killed 16 fellow Muslims while they were breaking their Ramadan fast,

and violence in Myanmar is spreading to Jakarta and Mumbai.

As the month of Ramadan fasting comes to an end in Jerusalem,

Arab women

 Muslim women were in Mamilla Mall shopping as usual.

Jaffa Gate

On Friday mid-day prayer time, this was the scene outside Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Plaza

and inside Jaffa Gate.

Arab shuk

At the entrance to the Muslim shuk,

South African Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim,

Arab women

would have seen the security of the oppressive “occupation”.

kosel

Yes, a security blimp was hovering near Damascus Gate,

but all appeared normal on a regular Friday near the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There was no violence or stone throwing,

Ramadan

so there were no restrictions or barriers as people were leaving, though

Jaffa Gate

 several men covered their heads with prayer rugs for protection from the sun.

Israeli occupation

There were no military vehicles on the street below

Israel occupation

and people freely went up and down the steps to

palesitian

and through Mamilla Mall.

arab girls

Because of past suicide bombers, there is always a security check

to enter Jerusalem malls, but security checks are for everyone.

Israeli police

Suddenly, police closed off Agron Street with red tape, 

  even Egged bus drivers were stopped and had trouble getting through.

I did not stay around long enough to find out why the street was closed,

Muslim man

but it was not a restriction of Muslims oppressed under “occupation” .

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.

Looking To September

While Hurricane Irene soaked the eastern United States last weekend,

it will be some time before there is a threat of rain in Jerusalem.

Seems the only ‘rain’ here are the missiles, grads and rockets from Gaza,

which continue to fall in southern Israel in spite of a Hamas call for a truce.

All was quiet this morning, but last night

  loud music and the sounds of teenagers laughing ended near midnight,

possibly neighborhood complaints of noise were all that dampened

 the end of summer party for a Jerusalem Israeli scout troop.

It was quite a contrast to the terror attack the night before in Tel Aviv.

A man from Nablus carjacked a taxi at knife point, cutting the driver,

 then rammed the stolen vehicle into a police barrier that

 was erected to protect a dance club teenage end of summer party.

Eight people were stabbed as the terrorist yelled “Allah is Great”

August coincided with the Muslim Ramadan holiday this year.

The Eid Al-Fitr, end of month celebrations silence the jack hammers in Jerusalem

and the construction cranes stop flying, while in Syria more people were killed.

In the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan

the colored lights at night were bright

as were the ones in the Old City.

Colored lights were strung at Jaffa Gate,

 Damascus Gate,

and Herod’s Gate.

Late at night, young men came to sell food and merchandise

and women sat to enjoy the cool night air.

Even young children would be out late at night during the month of celebration.

As the sun set, smoke

and more smoke from the food being cooked to break the day’s fasting

 filled Gan Ha’pa’amon, the Liberty Bell Park .

There is often a rise in violence after this month devoted to Koran study.

A molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli ambulance this week,

no one thought to bother this PA ambulance.

As we look to September, security is again heightened near Eilat

and security precautions are in the news.

Hype about a PA statehood vote in September at the UN  is gaining steam,

while the PA and Hamas cannot even agree on one time zone.

As for the real streets, everyone is looking anxiously to September,

  September 1 is the first day of school.

The last week of August there is no regular day care,

  every grandparent, friend and neighbor is called on to help out hassled parents.

Who is the most excited for the first day of school?

The sound of the shofar this morning announced the Hebrew month of Elul,

 Chodesh  tov…

here’s hoping and praying for a good month 

and

looking to a peaceful September!