Ray of Light from Jerusalem

Ray of Light from Jerusalem

Eggs. Eggs?

Yes, a rush on eggs has caused panic throughout the Jerusalem streets.

The rest of the world may have hoarded toilet paper but in Jerusalem, eggs were grabbed off the shelves and stashed away in large quantities. People might be in isolation for the Passover holiday, but they were not going to be caught short of eggs. Facebook friends were posting frantic messages.

Last week, before all the borders began to close, the Secretary-General of The Israel Farmer’s Federation said that in Israel there were 50 million eggs from Portugal ready for Passover.

I got the Sec-Gen’s phone number. In response to my message, he replied, “Tomorrow will be enough eggs in the supermarkets. People are in a little panic but I think that it’ll be stopped soon. Yours, Abu.”

So there you have it. But I still hear complaints about an egg shortage.

Wars. Bombs. Missiles. Stabbings. Coronavirus. Quarantine.

Eggs for Passover set off panic in the Jerusalem streets.

Meanwhile, Olim, new immigrants keep on arriving, knowing they will be sent into 14-day isolation because of COVID-19.

Having been off the streets this past week, I have been following Zoom sessions and webinars.

Jerusalem Israel closed for Corona image of Wilson's Arch Old City

I have also been following scenes from the Western Wall Heritage Center WebCam much more often. This view is of the locked Wilson’s Arch on the evening of Rosh Chodesh Nissan. They have since straightened up the chairs. However, that lone empty chair caught my eye.

Men at Kotel saying tehilim during Corovnavirus

For a mass prayer of tehilim, psalms for healing, there was a distanced crowd last week.

Rabbi speaking on Facebook live for mass prayer event at the Kotel

Facebook Live-streamed as the rabbi spoke and people watched around the world.

Western Wall Jerusalem Israel Old city web cam during COVID-19

On another coronavirus night, one lone man was seen near the Kotel.

Western Wall Cleaning
photo credit: The Western Wall Heritage Foundation

The notes were cleared out of the Kotel almost as usual before Passover.

There was a social distancing of workers and no holiday crowds this year.

More and more events have moved online for work and for conferences.

Benny Gantz speaker at Conference or Presidents with William Daroff and Malcolm Hoenlein

Hard to believe it was only last month that Benny Gantz spoke to the Conference of Presidents.

Benny Gantz and female admirers

And willingly posed for photos before running off to an election event.

I was hoping to say that the unity government was in place.

Maybe next week?

President Rivlin meeting with IDF on situation of Corona virus
Photo credit: Courtesy Beit HaNasi

President Reuven Rivlin met with the Head of the IDF Manpower Directorate, for a briefing on IDF efforts to halt the spread of the virus in light of the global pandemic. In light of the instructions, the meeting was held in the garden of Beit Hanasi, at the appropriate distance.

This current coronavirus operation has been named “Ray of Light” by the IDF.

No on-site visitors are allowed, but Beit Hanasi has posted its first virtual tour. I have shared many photos from these spots, but this video includes background information.

As Dr. Tzvi Sheleg said discussing the COVID-19 situation at the Galilee Medical Center, “Emergency preparedness is part of our DNA.”

The Defense Minister announced that hundreds of IDF teachers are helping the doctor’s children all over Israel as part of a project called “Educational Framework.” 

Magen David Adom (MDA) has begun collecting plasma units from those patients who recovered from Corona. Based on the assumption that those who have recovered from the disease have developed special anti-virus proteins (antibodies) in their plasma, these units could provide patients with a “passive vaccine” that may help them cope with the disease.

Magen David for MDA in Tel Aviv
Photo credit: Tel Aviv Jaffa municipality

The Tel Aviv municipal building was lit with the MDA symbol to show appreciation for the thousands of health care workers on the front lines in what has been described repeatedly as a war against the tiny microbe. Approximately 8,000 people were sampled yesterday by MDA teams, of whom 4,000 were in the “Drive-Thru” complexes across the country.

Deep Knowledge chart of safest countries with Corona virus

On the very good news front, the Deep Knowledge Group, a consortium of commercial and non-profit organizations active in the realm of DeepTech from scientific research, has ranked Israel above Singapore as the safest country to stay. Ok, for efficient treatment it is not rated so high.

But Singapore is a very different culture. There are cameras everywhere. Do NOT try spitting gum out on the street! People follow orders. They have smaller family units. In Israel, even with the President sitting away and outside with only one staff member, protests are still allowed. Dozens of people have assembled in Tel Aviv on the beach to drive to Jerusalem to protest at the Knesset.

Tel Aviv municipal building lit as US flag to show support in COVID-19
Photo credit: Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality

Last night Tel Aviv municipal building was lit with the “US flag in solidarity with the American people and the residents of our partner cities…We hold you close to our hearts,” tweeted the Mayor of Tel Aviv.

Also, it was done as a sign of gratitude to supporters and friends of Tel Aviv around the US who have shown their support by making significant contributions to the individuals and communities most affected by the coronavirus in Tel Aviv.

Where ever you are, stay safe and healthy.

Hope to see you back soon for more from the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Under Old Walls to New Northern Ramparts

Jerusalem Under Old Walls to New Northern Ramparts

Jerusalem, Israel, where the very old meets the new.

With so much happening on these Jerusalem streets, it is hard to keep up.

Thousands and thousands of visitors are filling the streets.

Drivers honking at the poor tourists trying to maneuver, unfamiliar with the crazy lights and the turns of the Jerusalem streets.

The Old City Walls are thousands of years old, but for this holiday season, there is also new.

New adventures and views for visitors to the Jerusalem Old City.

Damascus Gate at night of piano event in cave

Outside Damascus Gate at night, a familiar view.

We passed Damascus Gate walking around the walls on the night of Tisha B’Av.

Zedekiah's Cave in Jerusalem, Israel near Damascus Gate

Four years ago in Jerusalem, we descended into the nearby King Solomon’s Quarry,

Lights in Zedekiah's Cave for Piano concert

also called Zedekiah’s Cave, located close to Damascus Gate.

Solomon's Quarries for a piano performance

Down in the Zedekiah’s Cave was an amazing piano concert.

Piano music at Jerusalem light festival in Zedekiah Cave

For a Jerusalem Light Festival, Zedekiah’s Cave was also an impressive sight.

This week public concerts are held at night in the cave.

What else is new?

There have been popular Southern Ramparts Walks on top of the walls.

Now after 10 years of work, there is a new Northern Ramparts Path open to the public.

Roman Plaza Entrance to Old City

For our Northern Ramparts walk, we met at Zedekiah’s Cave and began next to Damascus Gate entrance, down at the Roman Plaza entrance.

First, we went down, and then up to the top of Damascus Gate.

Inside Damascus Gate at top in Old City Jerusalem

The top of Damascus Gate from the inside was another flight up.

Love the look of the stones against the clear blue sky!

Inside the Muslim Quarter on top

Looking down into the Muslim Quarter from above near Damascus Gate was a new sight.

Muslim Quarter Jerusalem Old City view from above

One view of the Muslim Quarter from above to the residential areas.

View of Jerusalem from top of Ramparts Walk

This was a view from the path on the wall toward northern Jerusalem with Hebrew University on Mount Scopus in the distance.

View from top of Old City Walls out to Jerusalem street

The newly opened walk goes around the tops of the Old City walls, on the right, a wide and straight part.

View from Old City walls to Mount Scopus

Looking out over the Rockefeller Museum from that part of the path.

View from top of Old City walls

And one more looking back toward Damascus Gate and the morning scene below.

Narrow stair way on Ramparts Walk

At times the path gets narrow with twisting metal stairs.

One place was so low I bumped my head. At 5 feet short, that was a first for me, other than on a very tiny plane.

View of rubbish inside the Old City Muslim Quarter on private land

Private land in the Muslim Quarter looks like a garbage dump.

But look not far in the distance.

View of Dome of Rock from Muslim Quarter area of Rampart Path

With a bit of zoom lens, you can see the domes of the Temple Mount.

View from Old City Walls nearing corner

Approaching the corner of the Old City wall, traffic below and Hebrew University in the distance on the left and Mount of Olives on the right.

Modern sports fields fill this corner of the Muslim Quarter.

A young woman takes a photo on Stork Tower on Jerusalem Old City Ramparts Path

At Stork’s Tower where one has incredible views.

New stones in Old City restoration marked

Not all are original stones. The new ones are marked with those black tags to show future historians what was recreated before 2020.

View from top of Old City Walls of Muslim cemetary

The new path provides an unprecedented view of the Muslim cemetery built along the northern wall.

View of Mount of Olives from Old City Ramparts Walk

Tourist buses lined up on the Mount of Olives, with the Jewish graves going back thousands of years on both sides.

View from Old City Ramparts Path of cemetery below

Storage? This structure is in the middle of the Muslim cemetery.

One more view approaching the Lion’s Gate.

Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage MK Ze'ev Elkin

MK Ze’ev Elkin – Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry and Mordechai Benita – Director-General of the ministry posed before the opening ceremony.

Opening of North Ramparts Walk

The tour guides and invited guests were waiting below.

Lions Gate from inside and above

As Zeev Elkin was speaking, I was watching a security guard leave her post and assist an old woman with a cane out of Lion’s Gate.

Jerusalem Minister Zeev Elkin cutting ribbon at opening of North Ramparts Walk

The official ceremonial blue ribbon was cut at Lion’s Gate.

Inside Lions Gate view from above

Inside of Lion’s Gate, from above, attracted my attention during speeches.

Old street in Jerusalem Israel

One old Jerusalem street on our way from Lion’s Gate inside the Old City walls.

Arab shop in Old City Jerusalem

Oops, was walking quickly and snapping as I went.

Arab man and woman sitting on side of street to sell in Old City

The scene approaching the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza, from inside Old City.

Finally, back to familiar sites and scenes.

Cleaning notes from the Kotel before Hanukkah

Special cleaning for the notes left at the Kotel,

Menorah at Kotel for Hanukkah

as Western Wall prepared for holiday crowds and Hanukkah candle lightings.

View of Kotel and Har Habayit

Another beautiful winter day in Jerusalem, Israel.

Lots more photographs, but if you want to check out for yourself, please note:

The walks are not accessible to people with disabilities and wheelchairs.

Young children should be in a carrier.

South Walk:

Sun-Thur 9:00-16:00 (summer to 17:00, July-August to 22:00)

Friday and Holiday evenings 9:00-14:00

Exits – at Zion Gate and at the end of the Tekuma Garden (Jewish Quarter)

*Southern box office: At the southern end of the Cannon Plaza (the back entrance of the Tower of David, to the right side before of Jaffa Gate square)

North Walk:

Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 9:00-16:00 (summer to 17:00)

Exits – at the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate and Lions Gate

Ticket includes the Northern walk and entrance to the Roman Plaza.

* Northern box office: at the TICKETS OFFICE on the left-hand side, just after entering the Jaffa Gate, and at the Roman Square box office

Fees:

Adult – 20 NIS, student / retiree 10 NIS, child / soldier 8 NIS

The ticket is valid for both sections, for two days.

Tickets: PAMI website www.pami.co.il and at the box offices

 

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

It is obvious the future skyline of Jerusalem, Israel, is changing daily, as buildings go up and up.

But centuries of history of Jerusalem are underground going back thousands of years.

Jerusalem Western Wall plaza view

This is the image most think of when mentioning Jerusalem of old.

But under the Jerusalem, Israel streets layers of history are being revealed daily.

View of southern excavations old City Jerusalem

Along the southern side of the Old City Walls, the new excavations can be seen by everyone.

Givati parking lot archaeological site outside walls of Old City Jerusalem

The intricate archaeological work under the Givati Parking lot is another site open to the public.

Givati Parking lot excavation

Across from the Old City Walls, not far from Dung Gate, centuries-old houses are being restored.

Roman remains in Jerusalem archaeological dig

The remains of Roman domination in Jerusalem are on display.

House under excavation in Givati pakring lot in Jerusalem Israel near old City walls.

One new discovery was a two-story house. The destruction by Rome of Jerusalem was so powerful that the upper level of this house fell on top of the lower one and a two-meter high piece of the structure was unearthed.

Givati Parking lot excavation

As in other Ir David finds of the historic time period, blackened remnants from the destructive fires were discovered in this house.

I opted to take photos from above and not enter the bedroom below.

Jerusalem drainage route unearthed and from Givati parking lot to Western Wall

But below we did go.

We followed the path of the drainage system of Jerusalem to the Shiloah pool in the Kidron Valley, which was under the Jerusalem streets in the time of the Romans.

Map of old city Jerusalem in Givati Parking lot

This map shows the route of the planned Pilgrims Path which is being excavated and made safe for tourists.

Another layer under the old street has been found, the drainage channel from which the last Jews of Second Temple times tried to hide and escape from the Romans.

picture of Jerusalem in time of Rome

This poster illustrates the street scene in more pleasant ancient times and the drainage channel which ran below it.

However, the last Jews of Jerusalem did not escape to Masada.

They were discovered hiding in the drainage channel by the Romans and all murdered.

The artifacts they left behind are being revealed daily at the Sifting Project in the Zurim Valley.

Drainage path under Jerusalem during Roman times

Today large portions of the drainage channel have been careful revealed by archeologists.

From the Givati Parking lot, we surfaced at the base of the Western Wall.

Jerusalem Israel Western Wall stones of destruction from Rome

Here are stones from the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, tossed away and remaining today.

Stone with ancient markings in Jerusalem Old city

Pieces of stone with Temple carvings are in this area by the Davidson Southern Excavations.

Under your feet, almost anywhere in Jerusalem’s Old City are layers of history.

Jerusalem Israel under ground archaeological discoveries

A new excavation under the Western Wall exposed a very old mikvah, a ritual bath.

Digging under Western Wall

Work in this area leads archeologists to believe the Greeks were building a theater that was never completed.

Stones of Western Wall under ground

More sections of the Western Wall stones have been revealed under the present street level.

Jerusalem Israel Davidson Archaeological Park and view of Har Hazetim

The Davidson Southern Excavation is continuing with new discoveries, with the view of the Mount of Olives in the background and Al-Aqsa Mosque on the left.

Children in Jewish Quarter on trip

Children, tour groups, thousands of all ages filled the Jerusalem Old City streets during the Nine Days leading up to Tisha B’Av.

Sitting on stone in Jerusalem Israel reading Eicha on Tisha b'Av

People sat on the ground, on Jerusalem stones to hear Eicha, the book of Lamentations, at night.

Tens of thousands arrived all night long for Tisha B’Av at the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There was so much more I could share, but I will conclude with two favorites on Tisha B’Av.

Jerusalem Israel Tisha B'Av old man walking

This gentleman with a lovely English accent, born in 1931, took a head start before the group walking around the walls of the Old City. He said that he comes most every year for the last 25-years.  Later during the walk, he refused any help, and his only complaint was timing to get to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv after Shabbat.

Kessim, Ethiopian religious leaders, have been coming to the Kotel each year before Tisha B’Av to pray.

Before Tisha B'Av Kez, Ethiopian religious leaders visit Jerusalem to pray

Near the Kotel, under this old archway, three of the men, from the larger group of Kessin all dressed in white who were on a tour, stopped to talk.

Think about it–their traditions went back to the times of the First Temple.

They arrived in Jerusalem to find Zion, Jerusalem, the First Temple had been destroyed.

Another ancient war, another layer of history yet to be revealed.

On and below the Jerusalem streets, old and new, constantly evolving.

Though  15 Real Photos of Arab Girls was the most popular RJS post.

I hope you enjoyed these bits of archeological finds, there are more to share next time.