Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel, for the Yoms 

as usual was overloaded with events,

 many this year influenced in anticipation of

Celebrating 50 years liberation of Jerusalem

50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

Israeli flags are draped down the sides of buildings.

Israeli flags Israel Museum for memorial and Independence day

These are at the Israel Museum entrance

where the dome of the Shrine of the Book can be seen.

Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Remembrance Day

for fallen soldiers and victims of terror,

began Sunday night with memorials throughout Israel,

and were accompanied by prayers, speeches and memorial flames.

The official state ceremony seen live on television,

was held at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

where President Reuven Rivlin lit the memorial light.

Ammunition Hill on Israel Memorial Day

Sponsored by the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

a memorial service was held at Givat HaTachmoshet, Ammunition Hill,

the site of deadly fighting to defend Jerusalem in 1967.

The program in English was live-streamed

and seen by over 16,000 people around the world.

All day Monday, tens of thousands of Israelis visited cemeteries.

Cemetery Jerusalem 1948-49

This cemetery has many graves from 1948-1950,

 the first years that Jews could not get to

the Mount of Olives due to the Jordanian occupation

and had to find new places to bury their dead.

One man standing by old grave in Jerusalem cemetery on Yom Hazikaron

On Yom HaZikaron, a man prayed by a grave.

Israeli military grave on Yom HaZikaron

A small Israeli flag with a black ribbon attached,

and small bunch of flowers, yizkor, remembers

Flowers, Israeli flag and black yizkor ribbon on 1948 grave

those much too young who died in war.

The cemetery is next to Harel Garden

Memorial wreath at Harel Garden Memotial

and Memorial wall, where this lone wreath was placed.

Walk around the memorial and you can see

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

that Gush Etzion is 16 kilometers from Cinema City and

the Israeli Supreme Court and government offices.

Israel Yom HaZikaron at Har Herzel end of day

Tens of thousands came to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

during the day, to place flowers and to mourn,

remembering those lost to war and terror.

Woman sitting near graves of Har Herzl military cemetery Yom Hazikron

The crowds thinned at end of day,

Two soldiers walking on Har Herzl Cemetery

and all headed home from the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

But as the sun set,

on another part of Har Herzl,

Stage ready for Yom Haaztmaut official televised program

the lights went on this huge stage,

celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

This year for the first time two non-Israelis were selected

with the honor of lighting one of the 12 memorial flames,

Rabbi Marvin Hier and Michael Steinhardt,

Two US honorees in Israeli ceremony

seen here before the official program began.

The show is telecast live and seen by thousands,

Show for Yom Haatmaut ceremony

but watching on TV you could not see them remove

the circle of fire used in one production number.

It is an extravaganza with set rituals,

Israel Independence day starts with lighting of ceremony torch

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat broke with tradition

when he joined with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein

to light the official flame of Israel’s Independence Day.

waving flags and cheering

Seats were at a premium, the flag waving,

 cheering crowd did not need a lot of encouragement.

One of 12 torch lighters Chana Henkin

Besides the two Americans, I wanted to see Rabbanit Chana Henkin

 who was honored as one of the twelve torch lighters,

one for each tribe of Israel.

Dr Ahmad Eid speaks at Yom Haatzmaut ceremony

Dr. Ahmed Eid, an Arab doctor, was another honoree.

Military with flags at ceremony on Yom Haatzmaut on Har Herzl

The program featured songs and military colors.

Soldiers form a Jewish star during official ceremony for Yom Haatzmaut

For this shot, no seat in the stands would work,

Sunset at Har Herzl camera over head

only this overhead camera would do.

Afterwards celebrations went all night,

in too many locations to list, with prayers, songs and dancing.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

The next day at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

 120 outstanding soldiers were honored in the morning

Front row Beit Hanasi on Yom Haatzmaut

and in the afternoon rows of diplomats came,

Yom Haatazmaut at Beit Hanasi

along with one young Presidential grandson,

to pay their respects to Israel and hear the Prime Minister

and President speak on theme,”next year in Jerusalem.”

While the heads of consuls and foreign military were at Beit Hanasi,

Gan Sacher Yom Haatzmaut

thousands of Israelis were in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

Lone Soldier Center mangal Yom Haatzmaut

Most of the green spaces all over the country were full of Israelis.

On the radio were announcements of crowded roads to JNF parks.

Couch brought to Gan Sacher

This family brought a couch to Gan Sacher,

which is one way to make your holiday mangal, BBQ, feel like home.

I know this is getting way too long,

but there was so much more,

like the Bible Competition, free museums, and performances.

festive meals, and those IDF flyovers and stunts.

Israel, after 69 years

as President Rivlin said, is young for a country,

 under constant threat and repeated attacks,

yet has accomplished so much.

So it was,

Flowers at Beit Hanasi 69

from memorials to celebrating independence,

so much happening in Jerusalem.

New Color in Jerusalem

Passover preparations and Israeli children

  being out of school on vacation all week,

plus the arrival of holiday visitors,

are keeping people very busy.

The 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset

were sworn in yesterday,

and then they all went on a month long recess.

There were two special ribbon cutting events

that I want to make sure you know about.

Sunday was the special launch of an

 environmental program called the “Green Knesset.”

The dairy cafeteria inside the Knesset building has

image Knesset inside

 large windows to let sun in to heat the room and floor,

and special shading to keep heat from sun out in summer.

But now the “Green Knesset” has added

image bins to recycle bottles

special bins for recycling,

and at meetings water will no longer be served in bottles,

 saving 60,000 plastic bottles per year.

Water, paper and electricity are to be conserved.

No more large mountains of paper for the budget,

as each member will get a disk on key instead.

Those responsible for the first stage of the

 sustainability project gathered together on the Knesset roof.

image Yuli Edelstiein and other dignitaries at Kneset

 Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, smiling on the left side,

was the featured speaker

Israel Knesset building

and was honored to cut the ribbon on the roof

roof of Israel Knesset solar panel field

in the middle of the 1,406 solar panel field.

The next day a very different green project was opened,

the Jerusalem, Israel, nature reserve – the Gazelle Park.

opening Gazelle Valley nature park

The area where gazelles had roamed free,

did not go to real estate developers,

Jerusalem, Israel new park large water area

but back to nature and the people.

On opening day, thousands of all ages attended,

walking trail in Deer Valley Park

 walking nature trails,

Jerusalem Israel park

and listening to stories near the restored Orchard site.

sign in Valley of Gazelle water system

The water system is designed to sustain the plant and animal life.

Green spot in Jerusalem, Israel

In Israel, the end of winter means green grass,

dotted with colored wild flowers.

gazelle puppet on opening day of Gazelle Park

This was the only gazelle I saw on opening day,

but real ones are to have an area in which to roam free once again.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat smiling with children taking photos

Mayor Nir Barkat was smiling and posing for photos,

Nechama Rivlin cuts ribbon at Gazelle Park

and the ribbon was cut by First Lady Nechama Rivlin.

large nature park in Jerusalem, Israel

This Passover one does not have to drive or sit in car for hours to visit a park,

as the nature reserve is large, free to the public,

and open from 7:00 am to dark, 7 days a week.

Gazelle Valley 302b

Happy Spring Holiday.

פסח שמח

Happy Passover!