Facing Tomorrow, Closing

‘Conversion-Who Keeps the Gate for the Jewish Nation’,

 was one of the closing sessions that confronted controversal subjects

at the 2001 Israeli Presidential Conference.

 ‘The Israeli Palestinian Peace Process:

How far away are we from a Peaceful Tomorrow?’ was another.

One of the participants, Mohammad Dajani has published material on Jerusalem.

Was he the one who walked out the previous day,

when Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat began to speak on ‘My Vision of Jerusalem’?

Dr. Ruth Westheimer is not controversial, as everyone seems to love

Dr Ruth and wants to be photographed with her.

 ‘Where is Jewish Philanthropy Headed’ attracted a large crowd,

however, there were plenty of seats at ‘The Jewish Dimension of a Peace Agreement’.

From opening to closing, the Hebrew University hosted exhibits,

with enthusiastic students anxious to show off their impressive research.

When it was time for the Closing Plenary in Teddy Hall,

everyone had to leave the building and reenter

 through multiple layers of security checks.

Plenty of jokes in the slow line about the great photo opportunities, but

I decided to not to take pictures as security does not always have sense of humor.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyhu was the first speaker, followed by

 Natan Sharansky, who was not thrilled to have to speak in English right after Bibi.

In closing, President Shimon Peres got in the last word,

however he repeated much of what he had said earlier in the day to the bloggers.

Not exactly the real streets, but as in the game of Monopoly, to land on

  Park Place or Park Lane, in the British version, can be fun for a change.

After the singing of Hatikva, buses took everyone back to their hotels.

Summer is here and school’s out.

A delivery man was almost lynched in an Arab neighborhood near Hebrew University.

Police were busy last night with demonstrators burning tires

that closed the main road into Jerusalem and caused rush hour chaos.

Flotillas and Glen Beck are their on the way.

‘Cottage’ is still a crisis, goods are high and salaries low.

The doctors’ strike keeps getting bumped to the back page.

It was great to see old friends and make new ones,

but there is always something happening on the Jerusalem streets

and as Sarah Silverman said in a TV interview, Israel has “crappy pr”.

So it’s time to get back to the real Jerusalem streets.


More photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page

Facing Tomorrow, Part 2

‘New Media for a New Tomorrow’, moderated by Yossi Vardi,

 was the title of the last morning plenary of the

Israeli Presidential Conference, ‘Facing Tomorrow.’

This conference was indeed supportive of the new media.

Bloggers were invited to a special session

with Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Wednesday.

On Thursday the blogging sessions were in a larger venue, where first

Natan Sharansky told us how it took years in the former Soviet Union

to build a network.

  As he spoke of  “pioneers of change”, bloggers were typing quickly,

demonstrating the speed and power of the internet in spreading his words.

Next,  President Shimon Peres

arrived in the interview area,

where the crowd had grown considerably.

 President Peres spoke on his view of education and the future,

then took questions from the audience,

before posing for a photo with Jimmy Wales and some of the bloggers.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who also spoke at an opening event

on social innovation and the importance of “neutrality,”

 was the last speaker.

In the blogger session, he mentioned that the annual

Wikipedia convention is to be held in Haifa this year

 and how the Hebrew version of Wikipedia is growing.

He then answered questions.

Safety of the internet, truth on the net, “neutrality’ of information,

 securing, accessing and sharing information, and social innovation

were all topics discussed at this conference.

My question remains…

How do we get “neutrality'”  in the Arabic reading and speaking world,

when the Arabic information on Wikipedia

  denies any right of the Jews to the Wailing Wall?


Securing universal truth of information has to be a priority.


See The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page

for Blogger Session Album with more photos

Facing Tomorrow, Part 1

With 7 plenary sessions, 30 panels, with 4 special sessions for bloggers,

even with several clones it would have been impossible to attend

  most of the events of the Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow”.

 However, President Shimon Peres attended many sessions,

as did thousands of others who filled  the halls of the International Convention Center.

In-depth analyses have been written in the press, but most people who were trying

to get to all the end-of-school-year events may not have had the time to read them.

So The Real Jerusalem Streets will offer a quick convention overview.

On the first night,

 Israeli author Amos Oz,  Bernard-Henry Levy of France, and Tony Blair of England

spoke the to an audience where electronic devices were the norm

and political opinions were to the of extremes of right and left.

Laptops were visible in the audience for the morning plenary entitled

‘Looking Towards Tomorrow-Trends, Challenges and Decisions.’

Participants were Abby Joseph-Cohen, Niall Ferguson, Amos Yadlin, and

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who called the new anti-Semitism a virus

that is hard to control and spread by the internet.

 Tzipi Livni concluded the panel which could be heard and seen in the lounge

where drinks and food were on sale and networking was the main event.

A VIP lounge provided free drinks and delicious food,

the lemon meringue pie was said to have been really special.

However, Jerusalem water, unflavored, unchilled, and unaltered 

was all that was provided free for the regular attendees of the convention.

 ‘Thin Ice: Criticism vs. Loyalty in Israel-Diaspora Relations’,

with participants Jeremy Ben-Ami, Daniel Dayan, Diana Pinto, Fania Oz-Salzberger

and Rabbi Eric Yoffe and moderated by Shmuel Rosner, was standing-room only.


Also, ‘My Visions of Jerusalem’ attracted an over flow crowd,

American Malcolm Hoenlein spoke eloquently in English about the right of all Jews

to be concerned and involved with Jerusalem and her future.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat was the last speaker at this session.

 Another session in the same time slot was entitled, 

 ‘Israel and America-Has the Love Cooled?’.

It was moderated by Ethan Bronner and

 included such big names as Itamar Rabinovich, Robert Wexler, Ruth Yaron,

and Americans Elliot Abrams and Martin Indyk as panelists.

 ‘Where is the Global Economy Heading?’ was the evening plenary,

   moderated by Stanley Fisher.

As Larry Summer was speaking, I was heading toward the door–

enough politics and economics for one day. 

 Glad I left early or I would have missed this view on the way home…

from one of the Jerusalem streets.


More photos will be posted on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Facing Tomorrow, Opening Acts

The Israeli Presidential Conference 2011, ‘Facing Tomorrow’

held in the Jerusalem International Convention Center,

officially started in the evening  of June 21, 2011.

For the first presidential conference, US President George W Bush

was among the world leaders in attendance.

Streets were closed, and no one could avoid the commotion.

This year the presidents of Israel, Dominican Republic and Macedonia

just did not draw the same level of attention from the real streets.

However, photographers packed into a special opening press conference 

to get photos of international Columbian singing star

Shakira and her meeting with President Shimon Peres.

Peres spoke first, quoting from her songs, calling her an ambassador

  of young people and praised her for raising her wonderful voice.

In his opening remarks, President Peres called her “Sharika;”

everyone laughed–too bad I keep repeating the mistake. 

Shakira was presented with a special necklace

that required some help put on.

By establishing schools in poor rural areas, Shakira began a program

to break the cycle of poverty and violence

through education in her native Columbia.

As a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador,

her message of the positive effects of early education is commendable;

perhaps we should add, as long as that education done not include teaching hate.

The evening plenary was held in the large auditorium,

where the Shakira interview

was projected on two large screens, one on each side of the stage.

Shakira did not sing, but repeated her earlier message on education.

Her shoes were not very practical for the Jerusalem streets,

but her stay was brief so there was not much time for strolling around.

American comedian Sarah Silverman was the next act.

She came across bright and witty in her interview.

She tried to talk of a better tomorrow by using solar power.

Her responses to questions were quick and clever,

without any vulgar language… and the audience loved it.


1000 pictures over three nights and two days has taken hours to edit.

It was impossible  to get down to one post of twenty photos;

it was easy to get too many good pictures of just Sharika,

NO… Shakira!

 More photos  on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page.

Shavua HaSefer

Shavua Hasefer,  Hebrew Book Week, is celebrating its 50th year,

with the Jerusalem fair located in the Liberty Bell Park.

For many adults it seems like last year and the year before that,

even though the Hebrew books on sale,

cover a large range

of sellers,


and a large variety

 of titles,

there should be

something for everyone to read.

In the early evening hours,


lots of children,

are looking at books.

A new generation of book fans are in the park,

enjoying, not just books,

but also live entertainment


at the many scheduled performances

and simple fun.

Shavua Hasefer,  Hebrew Book Week runs from Jun 15-25, 2011.


City of Lights

No doubt that Jerusalem is the City of Lights from June 15-22, 2011.

 Each night thousands of people flock to the Old City for the Jerusalem Light Festival,

 the Jaffa Gate Plaza starts to fill up long before the official start time.

 Information and color coded maps of the sites are easy to get in the Plaza.

The 11 meter high ‘Echinodermus’ light structure towers above the Plaza.

While below, TILT has two benches each with three 10 meter ‘Pissenlits’

on which many people sit not realizing they were sitting on a work of art.

Not all of the electric light designs are stationary,

‘Meir Panim, Light Faces’ arrives for show time.

‘Organi’ an Israeli project hangs inside the Jaffa Gate.

The orange lights strung along the Tower of David

show the route of the Orange path.

‘Blazing Agelux’ by French group PITAYA lights up the road to the Armenian Quarter

and ‘The Art of Listening’ adds color to the Old City Wall,

the usually dark road is transformed by a series of lights.

In the Rova, Jewish Quarter in Hurva Square, stands ‘The Field of Light’

which changes colors several times every few minutes to soothing music.

‘Fantasia’ which also changes colors, is on the way to

the Davidson Archeological Garden and ‘OVO’ from Bulgaria.

In the Cardo is ‘Garden of Light’.

Not all light is electric

and this couple’s fiery dance routine impressed a large crowd.

‘Human tiles’ from Portugal show on the Lutheran Church.

In the dark, the blue path is hard to follow on the map…

 this was not the ‘lighting up” I was looking for and

there are no information people in the Christian Quarter if you are lost and need them.

Finally, a familiar face in the crowd!

Beautiful, colorful, unusual  lights,

 inside and outside the walls of the Old City,

and then, the familiar lights of all the visitors trying to get home.

For more photos… please see The Real Jerusalem Streets on Facebook.

Dark Clouds

There usually are no clouds in the sky over Jerusalem in the summer.

A volcanic eruption occurred in East Africa on Monday night, June 13, 2011.

News reports were of high clouds from the Eritrean Ash,

but the Tuesday sky looked like winter had returned to Jerusalem.

Dark, stormy-looking clouds hovered over the Knesset

and the Israel Museum.


Clouds did not result in rain, but provided shade and much cooler streets than usual.

Clear skies returned in time for the end of the Israel Festival,

 the start of Hebrew Book Week, Shavua HaSefer,

 beginning of the Jerusalem Light Festival and Wednesday night’s lunar eclipse.

It is possible to protect oneself from the sun when there are no clouds.

 Now if we could just get protection from the clouds of cigarette smoke!