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.