Shutdown, Lockdown

Getting around  Jerusalem is never easy, but mid-day on Monday, it was impossible on Agron Street.

Police cars blocked the road near the United States Consulate Building.

The building was locked down and employees were not allowed in or out.

Biking and walking  in nearby Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park was not allowed.

There was an explosion as a suspicious package was blown up in front of the building.

Buses were stopped,

and with most of its passengers long gone, one finally turned around to escape.

Red police tape kept cars away from the scene.

Usually one blast means it was someone’s lunch or underwear,

a second explosion indicates explosives are in an abandoned bag.

Traffic lights were off, and police were directing cars.

Normally  after suspicious objects are blown up, activity begins within a few minutes.

Maybe it was WikiLeaks anxiety, but the road was closed to traffic for some time after the explosion.

Or perhaps it was a warm up for Tuesday?

An all day, large-scale drill for preparedness in the event of a missile attack is planned,

and at the sound of a 90-second warning siren at 10:00am,

all schools and municipal employees are to go to bomb shelters.

There should be more traffic snarls as fire and rescue units go through their exercises.

It is never boring on the real Jerusalem streets.



Away From it All

The headlines this week were full of scandals.

It was not easy, but we found a few places away from it all…

At the International Conference Center in Jerusalem 

there was an international stamp event.

Going to the main entrance, and then finding this sign was not a good start;

but as the information sign on the marquee changed, we finally found the correct entrance.

Inside the hall it was bright and flags were colorful.

One could wander around alone studying the old stamp collections

or join a group tour.

There was even an option to make your own stamp.

Photo booths were available for portraits, so

everyone could find at least one set of special stamps.

Stamps not your thing?

The annual Oud Music Festival is on until November 25.

Or you could have joined volunteers for a Package from Home ,

who packed bags for Israeli soldiers with winter items.

Two very productive hours away from it all…and for a great cause.

That is the Real Jerusalem Streets…..


Jerusalem City of Fire

It is said that Hebron is a city of earth, Safed a city of wind,

Tiberias a city of water  and Jerusalem a city of fire.

A common sight in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is a fire for a family picnic,

 usually there is also plenty of smoke.

The weather has been hot and dry enough for fires,

but thankfully there have not been many in Jerusalem,

The Knesset might look calm, but Israeli politics offers plenty of fire.

This has been a week of protests, to name just a few:

a demonstration against the separation of men and women on public buses 

and the same morning,

thousands of people came to protest against a new building freeze.

On the plaza outside the Prime Minister’s Office electric generators

were fired up in a protest tent.

The protesters using  the slogan, Yes you can!  say “No”.

A tent set up by the Gilad Shalit family supporters attracted a large crowd 

at 1000 days after his captivity.

What  began as a simple tent, near the Prime Minister’s official residence

now receives a constant stream of visitors.

  The tent is equipped with a full kitchen and gets restaurant-size deliveries.

It has been fitted with plastic and heaters ready for the winter’s cold weather.

The newly-installed floors need washing, 

and the protest tent has taken over the entire  corner.

International visitors still demand his release on humanitarian grounds,

but the days just go by.

The fruit and vegetable growers are on strike. 

Supplies could decrease by the end of the week.

Farmers are demanding more legal foreign workers to help them work.

There could be shortages,

and you can bet that prices will go up for the holidays.

The fires have started heating the oil for sufganiot.

Chanukah is next week,

 then Jerusalem will be a city filled with fire from holiday candles.

To everyone in US:  Happy Thanksgiving!