From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

From Maalot to Halamish: Jews and Druze Bound Together in Mourning

On Friday, July 14, 2017, two Israeli policemen

were shot and killed while on duty at the Lion’s Gate entrance

to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.

The international media already seems to have forgotten.

International headlines are blasting

about the fact that Israel installed metal detectors

while ignoring the reason for them.

The guns to shoot the policeman in the back

were hidden in their supposedly holy sanctuary.

On Wednesday, July 19, I joined a group

organized by OneFamily to visit the grieving families.

New roads outside Jerusalem Israel

We left the hills of Jerusalem,

Israel outside of Jerusalem, flat and green

went past green fields,Israeli countryside bales of hay

 many filled with bales of hay,

View from bus driving north in Israel

and row after row of banana trees.

Driving to northern Israel

Israeli supermarket named Texas

we passed a Texas supermarket and traveled

Galil road on way to Druze village

 on roads that reminded me of the hills of West Virginia.

Along the way we passed the town of Maalot-Tarshiha

Israel Monument Maalot

and this sign which made me think of the

 Maalot Massacre and terrorists killing Jews in their homes,

then murdering 22 more children on a school trip.

Finally,

Israel Memorl at entrance to Norfeish

we arrived at the entrance of Horfeish,

with its large Israeli and Druze flags.

Two black memorial ribbons on photos of two Druze policemen killed by terrorist at Lion's Gate Jerusalem

Next to them were posters with black memorial ribbons

around the faces of the two murdered policemen.

Men mourning Kamil Shnaan in Horfeish who was murdered by terrorist near Temple Mount

On the wall over the male mourners

was a photo of Kamil Shnaan,

Female members of Kamil Shnaan family mourning his murder in Jerusalem Temple Mount

while his mother in the women’s section

clutched her murdered son’s photo.

The Druze women were dressed in black with white scarves,

Family of Kamil Shnaan look at his photo during memorial visit by Jews and others in Horfeish

and received hundreds who came to pay their condolences.

Among the visitors were a group

Zion Riders come to pay respects to family of police officer Kamil Shnaan who was murdered

of senior bikers, the Zion Riders.

Zion Rider came to pay respects to family of Kamil Shnaan

Not sure what the young boys were thinking,

when one of them revved up his Harley-Davidson to leave.

Druze female mourners dressed in black with white scarves

Little was spoken, for what is there to say

to a woman who has just lost her youngest son?

Then back in the bus,

Kinneret view from bus on trip to Sitawe Family

as we drove down the winding road

there was a majestic view of the Kinneret.

Israel has so many beautiful spots,

but we were on our way to next grieving family.

Father of murdered policeman with white mourning scarf

The father of murdered policeman, Haiel Sitawe,

was upstairs with the men and stood to receive his visitors.

The women downstairs wanted no photos taken.

Large wedding portraits of Haiel were placed

along the wall behind the row of grieving women.

His widow was beautiful as any model, though so pale and sad.

Haiel will not get to see his baby son grow up,

Picture of Haiel Sitawe from women's mourning room, one of several located behind where they sat

who will only know his father’s smile from photos.

The world may have a short memory,

but Jewish people have a long memory and will not forget.

Before I could get this blog posted,

we have moved on to a new tragedy.

 Friday night in Halamish,

a terrorist knocked on the door of the Salomon family

who were expecting guests for their Shalom Zachor,

a special party to celebrate the birth of a new baby boy.

Instead the door was opened to a knife-wielding murderer.

No, it has nothing to do with metal detectors,

there were none for Muslims (or most of rest of us)

back in 1974, for Maalot Massacre,

or for the Fogel Family Massacre six years ago.

These are not clashes, but cold-blooded murderers,

mostly young men incited by the hateful, lying Arab media

and egged on in their echo-chamber of hate

to strike and kill innocents.

I hope to share “nice days” from now on,

but do not count on it,

Hamas and Abbas are counting on terror in order to

to distract from their problems,

and so far it is working for them.

The Jerusalem streets are quieter than usual,

it is summer and people are away,

hoping it stays that way. Quiet. but not too quiet.

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom

In Jerusalem, Israel,

during Fridays of Ramadan,

traffic increases.

Jerusalem Israel Friday for Ramadan street closing and traffic

Buses creep along in multiple directions.

Streets are closed and lanes blocked.

Temple Mount as seen from Old City Yeshiva HaKotel

The Temple Mount fills with Muslims for prayers.

Helicopters circle overhead.

Two Jewish men walking in Jerusalem Israel on Ramadan Friday

Jewish men walk to Old City for Shabbat evening prayers.

While not far away,

view from Hotel Yehudah Jerusalem Israel

the Jerusalem hills are quiet and serene.

שבת שלום

Sigd Celebrated in Jerusalem

Sigd, the Ethiopian holiday which falls on 29 Heshvan,

50 days after Yom Kippur, was celebrated on the Tayelet.

view of old city

A spot with the best views of the Old City, but

with heightened security in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.

crowd Sigd

Also, somewhat smaller crowds were out on the Haas Promenade.

Buses brought Ethiopian Israelis from all over Israel

to celebrate the annual event, a national holiday since 2008.

Ethiopian soldiers at Sigd

I love to see the young men in uniform,

three girls at Sigd

and the girls too.

But, Sigd is not just eating, dancing, and socializing.

Sigd began centuries ago in Ethiopia,

with leaders gathering on a mountaintop and praying to return to Zion.

Today they have returned.

Kessim at Sigd

 Kessim, religious leaders dressed in white,

Kessim at Sigd

were seated at this long dais and more

Kessim and umbrellas

were in the audience, under their colorful umbrellas.

Prayers and speeches by government officials are part of the day.

After President Reuven Rivlin spoke,

Rivlin at Sigd

he went down the line and shook hands with the dignitaries.

Only a small part of the crowd of thousands, mostly the elders,

crowd seated at Sigd

were seated, with politicians and dignitaries in front.

However, one woman caught my attention.

older woman praying

What was she thinking?

Did she remember Sigd from Ethiopia?

What had she gone through to get here?

view old city from Sigd

She stood during the speeches looking towards the Old City,

towards the Temple Mount in the distance.

Sigd has become one of my favorite events.

Interesting, both last year and in 2012,  I also wrote that

we were in the midst of “difficult times.”

Kessim under umbrella

I must find out what this is hair-like thing is,

 I noticed several of them this year.

two girls at Sigd on Tayelet

Sigd, where ancient blends with the modern,

selfie at Sigd

and the very modern customs and practices.

The program ended in the early afternoon.

Shabbat also starts very early

with just a few hours to prepare before it is dark.

View of Temple Mount from Tayelet

Wishing a Shabbat Shalom to all from Jerusalem,

where sometimes dreams do come true.