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 – Let it Stay Calm

Shabbat Shalom – Let it Stay Calm

On Thursday, smoked filled the air as fire
raged, dangerously near Jerusalem homes.
Today, it is another hot and tense day.
Instead of calling for calm,
Muslim leaders called for rage.
Shouts of death to Jews were heard after mid-day prayers.
The rage is orchestrated.
Trouble in Gaza and loss of control by Abaas,
yelling about Al-Aqsa unites masses,
it has happened repeatedly over the decades.
Jerusalem Old City Walls
We have said it before,
but will repeat, in 1965 this was as close as Jews could get
to the Old City.  Where was rage then?
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said:
“The decision of Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount is a courageous decision, because at this time last week two policemen were murdered at the site. This decision is a responsible one that will help to ensure that such incidents do not repeat themselves.
We will not succumb to threats and allow terror to win. Even if we face security challenges, today and in the future, this is the right decision, and we must stand with the police and support them. I commend the Jerusalem District Police Commander for his leadership in leading the decision and the Cabinet for their backing.
This is not a political matter; it is a professional, security issue. No one is challenging the status quo on the Temple Mount and I call on all Muslim residents to help maintain the calm, not to act violently and to obey the police’s orders. Those who come to pray in peace are welcome. Those who come to engage in terror and provocation will be dealt with harshly. “
We are still here.
I have heard only the usual  number of sirens.
A very good sign,
though reports of rioting are coming in,
Jerusalem streets are erev Shabbat quiet
and pomegranates are in bloom.
rimon shabbos
Time for Shabbat Shalom.
שבת שלום
Jerusalem Light Festival in Old City

Jerusalem Light Festival in Old City

School is out for the summer.

Temperatures are rising

and the Jerusalem, Israel, streets are warming up.

At night in the Old City

the Jerusalem Light Festival is lighting up the streets.

‘Interactive’ is this year’s theme.

I like to arrive at the Old City early before dark

to be at the starting point at Jaffa Gate.

Giant photo frame with Tower of David inside Jerusalem light festival

Giant picture frames were ready for selfies,

and the Tower of David looked too good not to share.

Drawn in Light Rampart Tower of David for Jerusalem Light Festival 2017

A giant mobile, “Drawn in Light”

hovered near the Jaffa Gate.

Jerusalem light festival Gan HaBonim

This “Cathedral of Mirrors” needed audience participation.

The Pool interactive circles for Jerusalem Light Festival

The circles of “The Pool” were being tested.

It was opening night

Opening of Jerusalem light festival

and last minute electrical work was being done,

Giant robotic peacock for Jerusalem Light Festival

and the “Peacock” arrived near Zion Gate.

In Dormition Alley,

Jerusalem Light festival upside down my Israeli

“Upside Down” is the work of the son of an Israeli friend.

Approximately half of the 39 installations

were created by international artists, from Australia to US.

Along the trail there were spots with

live music for Jerusalem light festival

with a variety of live musicians.

This year the Rova, the Jewish Quarter Square,

featured one of the festival highlights.

Hurva Synagogue lit for Jerusalem light festival with soldier sitting in front

A group of soldiers posed for this photo

in the light projections on the Hurva Synagogue.

Instead of marking the path with different colored lights,

NeuorModulator entering Muristan color and music at Jerusalem light festival

this year orange arrows led the way.

For the first time I did not get lost

Oasis in Muristan Square with large elephants Jerusalem Old City Israel

around Muristan Square,

where giant elephants were in the “Oasis.”

Night scene Old City during Jerusalem light festival

Some stores in the Old City were open

Street scene in Old City at night Jerusalem light festival

while some lanes were quiet.

Light at HaAhim Street in Old City for Jerusalem Light Festival

The “Journey into Space” on HaAhim Street,

was overhead, as the trail led to New Gate,

and out from the Old City Walls.

Jerusalem 2017 Light Festival Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate was much quieter than usual,

Across from Damascus Gate night of Light Festival

and across the road the area was much cleaner than in the past.

#39 listed on the program was

“Interactive shadows” in Zedekiah’s Cave.

Jerusalem light festival interactive in Zedekiah's Cave for Jerusalem Light Festival

It was hard to photograph,

image in Zedekiah Cave for Jerusalem Light Festival

as images changed with the movements of visitors.

Piano music at Jerusalem light festival in Zedekiah Cave

But as we walked further into the cave,

though it was hot and humid,

the music we were hearing along the way

was live from this pianist.

Though the month of Ramadan is over,

the lights strung for Ramadan were still up.

Jerusalem light festival night, view from Solomon's Stable

 Notre Dame was also visible in the distance

as we exited the cave, which is

also known as Solomon’s Stables,

and is located minutes away from the Damascus Gate.

This is the only time all year,

 I walk alone in the dark near Damascus Gate,

Jerusalem Israel Palm Trees "Horizontal INterference" Light Festival

and “Horizontal Interference” lit up the way through the palm trees.

A few minutes away at Zahal Square

Seesaws of various sizes with light and sound called Impulse at Zahal Square for Jerusalem Light Festival 2017

the “Impulse” seesaws were filled with enthusiastic young people.

The whole route takes at least 3 hours to complete.

With school over, and the festival going to July 6,

the size of the crowds have increased.

I like going on the first night and getting there early

before it gets crowded.

People looking at sign for fire and dance show Jerusalem Light Festival

This show with dancers using fire torches

and movement intrigued the audience.

But if you do not get to Jerusalem, Israel,

to see this Festival of Light in Jerusalem 2017,

  more photos here,

and take five minutes and enjoy this video

of the light projection on the Hurva Synagogue,