Skies over Jerusalem, Israel, were not as bright this morning, with a partial eclipse of the sun. Sadly, my attempt to get a photo failed.
However, the clouds over the Jerusalem streets last week were amazing.
Here’s another image of clouds with a view of the center of town.
Summer is a time for a vacation in Israel. After inbound tourism to Israel had reached a historic high of 4.55 million tourists at the end of 2019, the industry expected to break another new record of 5 million tourists in 2020. But as a result of the global tourism crisis, the tourism industry in Jerusalem has been hard hit.
Some smaller venues and the Tower of David Museum have started to open.
But the Israel Museum gates are shut. It stands empty at the start of summer. In the past, it would be a time filled with people of all ages from around the world.
I always wanted a photo of the Israel Museum’s ‘Turning the World Upside Down’ by Anish Kapoor without people standing around and in my way. Certainly, I never imagined it would be finally possible with the world turned upside down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. As people around the world Zoom into funerals, conferences, and weddings, standing outside the Israel Museum all I needed was a simple zoom lens.
However, across the street, the National Library construction was proceeding and visible well above ground. Interesting to compare to what the library site was like five years ago.
The larger hotels, like the King David, Crown Plaza, and Orient are still closed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Israel’s first international state visitor at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem. In the framework of the G2G meeting between the governments of Israel and Greece, he met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Before COVID-19, Greek officials were received at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence with blue and white flags.
And an honor guard red carpet welcome, with national anthems, and media invited to attend and record.
But, the current smaller-scaled reception resulted in the signing by ministers of three MOUs – on cyber, agriculture, and tourism. Plus, it was announced that it will be possible for Israeli tourists to travel to Greece and possibly return from Greece and Cyprus without a quarantine requirement by August 1, 2020.
Besides the important agreements, there was an official photo with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece and President Reuven Rivlin at Beit Hanasi.
And the new coronavirus greeting of bumping elbows and not shaking hands.
There was also to be an official visit from Cyprus, but it was postponed as the numbers of coronavirus cases has started to rise again in multiple Israeli locations.
It was announced that MK Tzipi Hotovely is leaving the Knesset to replace Mark Regev as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The usual anti-Israel sources are protesting the appointment. Remembering when Brazil would not accept Dani Dayan? The best thing that happened to Dayan was when he went to New York as Israel’s General Counsel and has done an outstanding job.
Back in November 2018, we were on a media tour near the Israeli border to see the IDF view of Gaza.
There was Tehila Friedman in her signature red hat having a private guided tour. With the new Knesset arrangements, Tehila is one of the newest Knesset members. As Knesset members, the two female politicians are from different parties with very different political views, but both are concerned with the welfare of Israel.
The red food truck came back, with labeling for burgers, both meat and vegan burgers.
I love the name of Beyond Burgers in Hebrew – ביונד מיט-הדור הבה
In time for today’s International Yoga Day, Abraham Hostel announced rooftop Yoga.
What a contrast to two years ago and the big events for the first day of summer.
Now a man praying alone in nature is more likely scene than group yoga.
The summer flowers around are blooming.
The sights and smells of summer abound.
Even this bead tree or Indian lilac flowers were pretty, though it’s toxic and intrusive.
The pleasant senses of nature will have to suffice.
This summer of 2020 the large annual festivals are not happening.
Protests from the cultural community, one of the daily protests near the Prime Minister’s Office and Knesset, could be heard from kilometres away.
I will leave you with one of the favorite sights and sounds from the Jerusalem Light Festival of 2018.
Here’s to hoping next year – or better – this year to see you on the Jerusalem streets.