Jerusalem Streets Cleaner after COVID-19 Closures

Jerusalem Streets Cleaner after COVID-19 Closures

Creating. Innovating. Resilience. Responding to challenges.

Oh, with at least a dash of chutzpah too–all are important to living in Israel.

In Jerusalem last week the news highlighted the story that the old street Bezek payphone booths were to be converted to defibrillator stations. Mifal HaPayis and MDA have begun to place AEDs at crucial public places under a joint venture.

Israeli defibrillator posted on street with connection to MDA
Photo Credit: Iki Maimon

As part of the project, 600 initial advanced devices will be deployed with wireless communication to MDA’s 101 Emergency Call Center.

Also new on the Jerusalem streets, small refrigerators would host ‘food salvage’ – good food placed inside free for anyone in need to take.

Jerusalem Israel Knesset as seen over the Valley of the Cross

The Knesset was finally back in business. Then it closed.

A member of Knesset was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Visitor Entrance to Israeli president residence being disinfected for coronavirus
Photo Credit: Tomer Reichman

At Beit Hanasi, a staff member has tested positive for the coronavirus, so the President’s house is getting a thorough cleaning.

Spraying street to clean during COVID-19

I’ve lost count how many times our street has been cleaned.

Jerusalem COVID 19 disinfection

But this is the first time I saw them spraying inside this passageway.

Jerusalem Israel park with new rubbish bag

Check out the brand-new garbage bags in the old cans!

Jerusalem Israel park path fixed

And they patched up parts of this path.

Jerusalem Israel new traffic lights

New traffic lights were installed at this dangerous pedestrian crossing.

Valley of the Cross Monastery repair

Even the monastery in the Valley of the Cross was cleaning up this week.

Cleaning dried weeds at Jerusalem Valley of the Cross

The dry foliage is a serious fire hazard. So glad to finally see the dried weeds being cut.

Jerusalem food truck

Getting ready to host visitors in Jerusalem?

Park benches are social distanced in Jerusalem Israel

These socially distanced park benches are ready.

Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem Israel man sitting in dried grass

Or go for the extreme social distancing, alone with nature.

Slowly Jerusalem seems to be coming back from the coronavirus shut down.

Jeruslaem street signs in Hebrew for cinema

The signs were still up for the end of March Brain and Art Week at the Cinematheque.

Many cultural events were canceled and some programs have moved online.

The 2020 Israel Festival has rescheduled for September.

Night lights at Israel Museum

The hilltop was dark after Shabbat, these usual Israel Museum lights did not go on.

However, The Islamic Museum announced its reopening.

Trespassing exhibit at LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Trespassing” will be on display until the end of the month.

Tower of David image for BANAI exibit

 Bachora and Meir Banai with their eldest son Shmuel – 1915    Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Photographic Archives

The Tower of David Museum will be re-opening its doors this week on June 17 – and opening a brand new exhibition BANAI, the personal story of the Banai family while painting a much broader panorama with a saga going back to 1881 when Rachamim Bana came to the Holy Land from Shiraz, Persia.

Kikar Musica sign in Hebrew posted in Jerusalem

Kikar Musica, Music Square, off of Yoel Salomon Street is offering live events again.

And planning for the future, Avraham Fried wants to perform in Sultan’s Pool at the end of August.

Two years ago, Fried was the featured entertainment at Rabbi Steinsaltz’s 80th birthday bash at the Orient Hotel. Oh, that was a busy week with June events.

The big hotels are still dark, but working on reopening plans with the new Ministry of Health guidelines.

The Jerusalem streets are getting back to business, slowly, but cleaner and better than before.

 

Jerusalem 8 Contrasts in First Week of June

Jerusalem 8 Contrasts in First Week of June

The first week of June in this time of novel coronavirus pandemic has been a week of contrasts.

Scenes of continued isolation versus images of huge protest gatherings.

Cities appearing under siege with rioters breaking windows and burning stores.

Watching educators provide a memorable graduation ceremony for their classes of 2020.

Israel, meanwhile, began to emerge from COVID-19 isolations and lockdown.

Path in Jerusalem Valley of the Cross

Not sure if I should share secrets – but this path is in the Valley of the Cross.

New landscaping along Jerusalem bike path

The new landscaping seems to have burst out in color along the new bike path.

Milton's Way new bike paths in Jerusalem Israel

How many times did I walk this way and not notice “Milton’s Way Bike Path?”

Walking and bike path Jerusalem Israel Valley of Cross

Not the usual wheels one sees on this bike trail. It seems even individuals more at risk took time to get out and exercise in the pleasant weather.

Mask on ground in Jerusalem park path

A sign of the times – a discarded mask on the path in the Valley of the Cross.

Contrast #1 – this peaceful location was a scene of a terror attack.

Prof Menahem Stern memorial in Valley of Cross murdered by terrorist in June 1989

The path where Prof Menahem Stern was murdered by a terrorist in June of 1989.

Path in Valley of Cross Jerusalem Israel

Contrast #2 – the green growth so close to the dried weeds, with the Israel Museum overlooking the stones of an ancient dwelling.

Jerusalem Israel street construction and traffic stopped

Contrast #3 – This intersection of Herzog, Tchnernichovsky, and Haim Hazaz Streets,

Herzog Street being repaired in Jerusalem Israel

with the same intersection two days later. Each image shared tells a different story. With less traffic Jerusalem construction work has proceeded.

Jerusalem Israel pillbox with Scouts banner posted for June event

One sign of normalcy, the Scouts put a banner on the Pillbox at the corner.

Protest sign on Jerusalem Pillbox

Contrast #4 – a protest sign in the same location two days later. This group wants to keep the Jerusalem hills green with no building. Corona or not, protests have continued on a daily basis, for multiple issues.  At least the new “save the hills of Jerusalem” protest was quiet.

Jerusalemschool closed to COVID-19 being sprayed to disinfect building
Photo credit: Spokesperson Municipality

Contrast #5 – Israeli schools reopened after being closed for weeks. However, Jerusalem’s Gymnasia Rechavia closed after two teachers were diagnosed with COVID-19, and many students tested positive also. Crews went into the high school building after it was shut and disinfected everything. Today 22 more schools were reported on the list as closed.

With the spring holiday season over, the Israeli flags have been removed from over the Jerusalem streets, while new colorful signs were put up.

Jerusalem sign for coronavirus summer.

Contrast #6 – Things are to be very different this summer than in past summers. 

Fewer Israelis will be traveling overseas and fewer international tourists arriving.

The hotels by the Kinneret have started advertising for guests to come again.

But wait, Jerusalem wants Israelis to come to spend their holiday time here in the city.

Signs in Jerusalem for summer tourists to come to city instead of going overseas vacations

The new signs are for food, music, street entertainment, and more.

Jerusalem street closed for restaurant opening after coronavirus closures.
Photo credit: Aaron Katsman

One idea was to temporarily close streets to traffic so restaurants could serve patrons outside. Azza Street was one of the first of 13 locations to close.

Unity Prize at Beit Hanasi was one of many Jerusalem events held at the beginning of June.

President Reuven Rivlin hosted, the sixth Jerusalem Unity Prize award ceremony in memory of Eyal Ifrah, Gil-ad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel ז”ל at Beit HaNasi on Tuesday, June 2. During the ceremony, Uri Ifrah spoke on behalf of the families and former Jerusalem Mayor, now MK Nir Barkat, one of the founders of the prize, also spoke.

Photo for Jerusalem Unity Prize 2019 at Israel President's Residence

Last year on stage for the final photo, winners stood behind the Israeli dignitaries.

Unity Prize founders three families Fraenkel, Ifrach and Shaar at Beit Hanasi for Unity Awards Ceremony

Two years ago the room was filled with families and guests and entertainers,

Shuli Rand and Guri Alfi were highlighted in the program.

Beit Hanasi for Jerusalem Unity Prize awards in corona-virus masks
Photo credit: Mark Neyman (GPO)

Contrast #7 – This year was a very different scene.

Protest signs not to divide Jerusalem

As the “Trump Plan” and Sovereignty are hotly debated, these posters were posted in Jerusalem.

No one knows for sure what the future will bring.

Contrast #8 – I want to end with something positive.

Muslim and Jewish female United Hatzalah volunteer team
Photo credit: United Hatzalah

This photo from United Hatazalah, with a caption on Tweeter: “a secular Israel, a religious Arab Israeli, and an Ultra-Orthodox Israeli saving lives together on an ambulance shift today in Jerusalem,” mentioned @RealJStreets.

As of now, it has been retweeted 200 times from the original and has well over 600 likes.

Not to worry, the women all wore masks working and only removed them to smile for the camera.

A week filled with contrasts, and highs and lows.

But as always things were happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Which images and contrasts did you see shared?

Jerusalem Past, Present and Future

Jerusalem Past, Present and Future

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem, after the Six-Day War in June 1967. Under Jordanian occupation, from 1948-1967, there were no Jews living in or allowed to visit the Old City.

Jerusalem Saint Louis Hospital over the green line from old city

The story is told of a woman who lost her dentures when they fell from a window of the St. Louis Hospital on the border on May 22, 1956. One of the French nuns retrieved it, requiring the cooperation of both the Israeli and Jordanian forces. “Unfortunately three teeth had melted loose in the Jerusalem sun.”

The hospital is still active and seen here with freshly painted blue trim on its windows. Today, the light rail train tracks run where, for nineteen years, No Man’s Land divided Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Israel as seen from St. Louis Hospital

This is the view from the hospital roof today.  The walls of the Old City look the same, but No Man’s Land is much different today from 1948-1967.

Jerusalem Old City Walls

Under Jordanian control, this was as close as a Jewish person could get to the Temple Mount, so the above photo was taken from a lookout at Notre Dame, which is next door to the hospital.

The inviting modern view approaching the Old City with Mamilla Mall on the left, a stark contrast to the days when the area was under threat by Jordanian snipers shooting.

Image from Tower of David before Mamilla Mall renovation
photo credit: C. Goldberg

Here’s an interesting view looking toward Mamilla after the wire and barriers that divided the city had been removed, but before the area was developed.

Stones fallen from Temple Mount at base of Old City Western wall

The ancient stones thrown from the Temple Mount remain at the base of the Western Wall as a reminder of the destruction of the Second Temple.

under the Kotel excavation
photo credit: IAA

Under the ground near the walls of the Temple Mount archaeologists have carefully continued to work and find layers of history.

Floor found under Western Wall Plaza
photo credit: IAA

A new discovery, an ancient mosaic floor was uncovered and is carefully being preserved.

Yom Yerushalayim is a day to celebrate old and new Yerushalayim.

Going back over previous years on Yom Yerushalayim.

Three years ago President Trump was in Jerusalem,  it seems like a lifetime ago.

Remember two years ago the Giro d’Italia cyclists filled the Jerusalem streets?

Tower of David on Jerusalem Day

The Tower of David in past years hosted huge crowds.

This year the Tower of David will reopen for Yom Yerushalayim to more modest numbers of guests and only outside venues will be open.

Jerusalem Day Israeli flags dancing in street

Tens of thousands young people singing and dancing with hundreds of Israel flags – not this year.

Jerusalem Israel King George Street crowded for Jerusalem Day

Those huge crowds filling King George Street are a scene from the past.

Jerusalem Israel Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day

No marching through the streets of the Old City entering in the Damascus Gate.

Kotel at end of Jerusalem Day

The Kotel, Western Wall plaza overflowing with people will have very limited numbers this year for evening prayers on Yom Yerushalayim.

Jerusalem Day celebration in Jerusalem

Last year with endless huge events who would have imagined this year?

The usual celebrations in Jerusalem are very limited this year due to COVID-19.

The big 50 year celebrations are nice to remember.

Fewer people are to be on the Jerusalem streets to celebrate.

But this year from around the world more can join and participate.

The Jerusalem Municipality, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Office for Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, and the Jerusalem Development Authority for the Development of Jerusalem will hold a special festive broadcast on Thursday, 27 Iyar, 5780 (May 21, 2020) from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm in honor of 53 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. 

A virtual two hour live broadcast from special sites in Jerusalem, alongside stories of heritage and interviews with those who fought in the Six-Day War of June 1967, will be broadcast on the Facebook Pages and YouTube of the World Zionist Organization and B’nai B’rith International on Thursday, May 21, 2020, between 2 pm and 4 pm Israel time.

There are many other Yom Yerushalayim programs offered online.

From wherever you are in the world, the Jerusalem streets are only a quick click away.

Crowds in the past for major holidays will not be on the Jerusalem streets this year.

Hoping next year we can all be out on the Jerusalem streets together.