Old Tractor Parade

On Monday, May 30, 2011,

main streets in Jerusalem were closed to all vehicles,

except the old tractors on parade

and some special bikers.

Groups of young people gathered

in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park.

Thousands of people

 dressed in blue and white, came together,

many from kibbutzim and moshavim

throughout the country to take part in this annual

pre-Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, event.

As last year, Noam Shalit was one of the speakers

and got most of the media attention,

on Gilad Shalit’s 1800 day of captivity.

Flags and marchers accompanied tractors as they went from Agron Street

to King George Street,

where a few spectators watched from above

and below as the old pieces of farm equipment led off the parade.

Thousands of people filled King George Street

with music

and blue and white Israeli flags.

Marchers and tractors outnumbered spectators as the route turned

and filled Bezalel Street

on the way to Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

where a huge stage was ready for a night-time concert.

Thousands came early to get a good spot on the grass.

Tens of thousands of people,

 hours of family fun,

ending with a fire works display,


NO violence… so it was not news

Happy. Jerusalem Day!

More photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Israel: a Racist State?

    The views at sunset from Yemin Moshe, one of the oldest neighborhoods

  built outside the walls of the Old City, can be spectacular. 

As Israeli schoolchildren gather to eat picnic dinner on the grass,

 an Arab couple sits nearby.

During the nineteen years of Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem,

much of this area was no man’s land.

From 1948 to 1967, no Israelis were allowed in the Old City.

The Hurva Synagogue in the Rova, Jewish Quarter,

 which was the largest of all the many synagogues

 destroyed by the Jordanian Legion has been restored at long last.

In the last 44 years the entire area has been revived,          

and there is freedom of movement  

to people of all religions.

Under the flag of Jerusalem,

the Muslim Quarter

and surrounding areas have grown.

Public areas,


city parks

 are open and free to be enjoyed by all,

 perhaps even too free.

On the eve of Yom Yerushalayim, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem,

 Mahmoud Abbas announces that he wants a state with Jerusalem as his capital,

 a state without an Israeli presence…

military or civilian.  A state without Jews.

 Is Israel a racist state?

A Few Facts on the Land


The 50th Israel Festival opened on May 23, in Kikar Zion, Zion Square,

with the Australian dance troupe Strange Fruit impressing the crowd from above.

The list of cultural programs this week is too long to list,

but the world’s attention is not on the stage with the Giselle ballet troupe or with an Indian Music Festival.

Focus is on Washington, DC, as millions of gigabytes and whole forests have been used up on opinion pieces

about the speeches and intentions of Obama and Bibi and on Israel and its borders.

No map can clearly show the Judean mountain ranges.

Here are a few facts with photos, all taken less than 30 minutes from the center of Jerusalem.


Fact #1

These pictures are from a road southeast of Jerusalem

and show some of the land

and the view leading to the Gush Etzion area,

where Jews lived until May 1948.

The women and children of the settlements were rescued from invading Arab gangs only by

being evacuated in the middle night and walking through the hills to safety.

 Those who remained to defend their property were brutally murdered.

After 1967, the children were finally able to return to the Gush Etzion Bloc to rebuild their homes.


Fact #2

On the other side of Jerusalem, minutes past the bus stop on main Highway #1 to the north


are a number of new neighborhoods.

These neighborhoods on the hilltops

and roads were developed after 1967.

They are home to hundreds of thousands of people.

Along Highway #1 are reminders of the loss of the life and difficult period in Jerusalem

when this sole access road was cut and recaptured in 1948.


Fact #3

 Abu Ghosh is a beautiful Arab Village outside of Jerusalem off  Highway #1.  

Its peaceful inhabitants have prospered.


Fact #4

Jerusalem was divided in 1948 after being captured by the  Jordanian Legion.

 For centuries Jews were buried on Har Hazeitim,  the Mount of Olives.

Narrow streets lead

to the ancient cemetery.

In 1948 it was desecrated and vandalized by the Jordanians, 

 gravestones were used to pave roads and line latrines.

Only after Jerusalem was reunited in June 1967  could the cemetery be used again.


Fact #5

Yamit was a beautiful town, an oasis near the Sinai desert.

 In 1982 it was destroyed by Israel.

The land was turned over to Egypt along with the rest of the Sinai desert in a land-for-peace deal.

Some of its inhabitants were resettled in new agricultural communities in the Gaza strip.

Those communities in the Gaza Strip were unilaterally evacuated by Israel,

the land given away in a gesture intended to promote peace.

How many people still remember Yamit?