The media gave ‘Naksa Day’ demonstrations much attention,
so we had to see what was really happening on the Jerusalem streets.
The source of danger on June 5, 2011 may come as a surprise.
School groups going in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park
did not even notice a woman dressed in a burka.
Tourists on Yoel Salomon Street walked, talked, shopped and dined as usual.
Kikar Zion, Zion Square, in the center of town was quiet
with only one musician playing,
the only noise was an occasional light rail train doing a test run on Jaffa Street.
Arriving at the Old City walls, there was no sign of trouble,
just a sign for the upcoming Jerusalem Light Festival.
Arab boys were playing,
near tourists who were accosted by a beggar demanding money.
The way to Jaffa Gate was filled with signs for the Light Festival,
not security people.
The area inside Jaffa Gate was less crowded than usual,
so there were fewer tourists for the food stall just outside.
I really wanted to ask these two Muslim girls what they thought
of the day and its meaning to them,
but as they sat in traffic, their van’s windows were closed.
None of the many school groups seemed to mind the heat.
No matter the weather, the Hutzot HaYotzer, the artists’ group courtyard is empty,
so nothing unusual there.
Finally… a bit of action, horses going in the other direction.
Construction equipment just drove along, without so much as a fender bender.
The only real danger to be found was at the Sultan’s Pool,
where a lone workman climbed high in the scaffolding
setting up for the June 6 performance of the opera “Jerusalem”,
a part of the Israel Opera Festival.
Looking to the left,
to the right,
and center, it was hard to spot any signs of trouble.
Arab boys crossing
to Gan Hapa’amon,
The Liberty Bell Park,
had a soccer ball, not rocks to throw.
In the park, picnics
and relaxing were the norm.
The walkabout ended in the Talpiot neighborhood,
where an Arab girl was shopping.
Along the way on Jaffa Street was this sign,
in memory of the 18 people killed there in a terror attack on March 3, 1996.
It is one of many such signs throughout Jerusalem,
reminders of the real ‘setback’ …to peace.
I did not find violence, riots, or a prize-winning photo,
but as the Shavuot holiday approaches,
it was easy to find holiday flowers worthy of notice.