Jerusalem, Past and Future

The spring holiday season has just ended with

Shavuot and Pentecost falling on the same Sunday.

Hundreds of thousands of people came from around the world

to celebrate peacefully in Jerusalem.

"picture Wailing Wall","photo Jerusalem", "image birds"

Something was making the birds crazy,

but otherwise it was a quiet, beautiful day,

  so there was hardly a mention in the mainstream media.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word Jerusalem?

"picture Jerusalem", "image Jerusalem, "photo J Street"

Perhaps it is the ancient walls of the Old City?

"picture Jerusalem","image flags", "photo Israeli flag"

But Jerusalem is a place of contrast and diversity, and is constantly changing.

"picture Safra Square", "image flags" , "photo J Street"

Just before the holiday weekend, I went to Kikar Safra, Safra Square

"sign image","photo Jerusalem", "Jerusalem picture"

 to the City Council meeting room for an exciting event.

The Jerusalem Business Network Forum Bio-Med  a group

formed to bring science industry to Jerusalem,

 launched the Burrill Israel Fund.

"picture Nir Barkat","photo Jerusalem mayor","image mayor Jerusalem"

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed Jeff Miller,

special advisor to Burrill & Co, who announced a $200,000,000

“super angel”  fund for Jerusalem Bio-Med development. 

The fund is backed by Steve Burrill, an US investor

who loves Jerusalem and invests in health care,

which he prefers to call “sickness and wellness.”

"picture Jerusalem deputy mayor", "photo Jerusalem", "image deputy mayor"

Deputy Mayors Naomi Tsur and Yitzchak Pindrus addressed the crowd

that included scientists, entrepreneurs, and lawyers.

Before entering politics, Mayor Barkat

was involved with development of the first internet firewalls

 and has worked to bring hi-tech and bio-tech industry to Jerusalem.

 Jerusalem is  known for science study and research.

  HUB (Hebrew University Biotech) has lab space for start-ups,

but until now Jerusalem 

has not been associated with the “Start Up Nation” image.

One fascinating innovation that was discussed was a device

enabling doctors to see under the skin before making surgical incisions.

"image Jerusalem", "photo city hall", "picture people talking"

People stayed for hours talking at the end of the meeting.  

The Mayor’s wish to see Jerusalem as a future center of  bio-tech

and to take “talent to the next step”

is  a step closer to becoming a reality.

Jerusalem Day – 45 Years United

The list of events that took place in Jerusalem

on Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, is too long to print.

"Har Hazesim photo","picture buses", "photo Yom Yerushalayim"

Thousands of people traveled by bus,

"photo bide ride","image bikes" , "picture Yom Yerushalayim"

hundreds rode bikes in from Gush Eztion

"photo flag parade","Image crowd flag parade","Picture Jerusalem"

and tens of thousands marched in the annual Flag Dance parade.

"picture Jerusalem streets", "photo Jerusalem", "image Jerusalem"

Jerusalem was a traffic nightmare with many sudden street closings.

"image Segway","photo jerusalems

 A Segway was one way to get through the sidewalk traffic.

With so many lectures, tours and varied activities available now,

people tend to forget that from 1948-1967, 

the Old City and the Kotel, the Western Wall, were under Jordanian rule.

 Jerusalem was a small, sleepy town divided by a wall and barbed wire,

a place where some Jews could not even see their former homes. 

"picture Old City walls", "photo soldiers", "Image Jerusalem"

  Jordanian snipers no longer shoot down over No Man’s-Land,

 now Israeli soldiers watch out from the walls of the Old City.

Distances are not so great,

"picture east Jerusalem","photo East Jerusalem", "Image east jerusalem"

and on a clear day Jordan is visible from the promenade of the Tayelet,

"image Al quds","photos Al Quds, "picture Al Quds"

located in an area once mostly agricultural and under British control,

"picture Al Quds", "photo Jerusaelm" "image Old City'

 but now famous for its view of the Old City Walls.

On Yom Yerushalayim I went on a walking tour of the area.

"photo UN building", "image UN Jerusalem" "picture Jerusalem"

We saw the United Nations headquarters 

'picture Jerusalem", "photo Tolerance monument","image Tolerance"

and a Monument of Tolerance.

How ironic that it was dedicated rather quietly,

around the time that 8 Mercaz Harav students were murdered.

To get to the center of Jerusalem, 

"picture Flags", "photo Flag dance","image Jerusalem"

where thousands of boys

"picture girls dancing", "image Jerusalem","photo flags"

and girls filled the streets singing and dancing,

I passed through the Liberty Bell Park.

"picture Arab girls", "photo Arab girls", "image Arab girls"

   Arab women and families who ignored PA-issued warnings 

were there as usual enjoying the pleasant weather.

"picture Jerusalem street", "photo Jerusalem", "image parade"

Tens of thousands of people filled the Jerusalem streets.

"picture Jerusalem flag", "photo large flag","image Jerusalem street"

Not all were religious, not all were teens, not all had Israeli flags,

and not one fired a weapon.

While I do not condone their bad behavior,

a statistically insignificant number of trouble-makers at Damascus Gate

 got the mainstream media attention.

 I would like to share with you a few scenes you may not have seen.

"picture Israeli soldiers","photo Israeli soldiers", "image Israeli soldiers"

 Mamilla Mall was packed with crowds coming and going to Jaffa Gate.

"picture Hurva" "photo Rova", "IMAGE old city"

Music and dancing filled the Rova, The Jewish Quarter plaza,

in front of the Hurva Synagogue, which in 1948 

was completely destroyed by the Jordanians and recently rebuilt.

"picture Kosel", "photo Al Quds","image Wailing Wall"

The Plaza near the Kotel, the Western Wall,

was full of people even before the Flag Parade arrived.

"picture Al Quds","image Wailing Wall", "photo sign"


from 1948-1967

" photo Jaffa Gate", "image girls", "picture Old City Walls"

 the plaza outside Jaffa Gate was not a safe place.

"picture Jerusalem street", "Photo Jerusalem","image Yemin Moshe"

Families did not stroll in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood.

"picture flag","photo Jerusalem street", "image Israeli flag"

Walking around The Old City Walls was impossible.

"picture east Jerusalem","photo Jerusalem" ,"image Jerusalem"

Jordanian east Jerusalem was off-limits. 

"picture Israeli flag", "photo sunset", "image Jerusalem"

The sun was setting after a beautiful Jerusalem spring day.

Then the party moved to Gan Sacher, Sacher Park

where live music blared all night for a crowd of thousands,

oh…and what a Sleepless Night it was:

Jerusalem Day  #45

More photos The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page


The International Writers Festival is hosting events all this week 

in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first community to be built outside the walls 

"photo windmill", "image windmill", "picture Jerusalem windmill"

of Jerusalem, perhaps best known for its iconic Montefiore Windmill

which is now undergoing renovation.

This Jewish neighborhood was unsafe and deserted from 1948–1967.

In answer to a question the speaker encouraged writers to write about

 what they know.  What do I know?

"picture Yemin Moshe" ,"photo steps', "image Jerusalem"

 I know that it was not easy to get to the lecture hall as the narrow streets

"photo Jerusalem","image Yemin Moshe", "Picture Jerusalem Day"

were full of school children.

"picture Jerusalem", "photo Old City" "image Old City walls"

on their way to the Old City.

This week marks 45 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

"photo Jerusalem","image J Street","picture interview"

As Channel 1 looked for a story at the Writers Festival,

"photo Jerusalem", "image double decker bus", "photo J Street"

I was amazed by the sight across the valley near the Old City walls.

"photo Jerusalem", "image J Street", "picture Jerusalem Day"

Hundreds and hundreds of Israeli school children

"photo Old City", "picutre Al Quds", "photo Al Quds"

were climbing the path towards the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

"picture Al Quds", "photo Al Quds", "Al Quds image"

In 1965 when Jerusalem was divided and under Jordanian rule,

 a Jewish person could not get near the Kotel, the Western Wall,

so this photo had to be taken at the edge of No-Man’s Land.

"photo Kosel", "image Kosel","picture Al Quds"

Next week for the Shavuot holiday, tens of thousands

 of worshipers will pack the plaza for the break of dawn services.

"picture east Jerusalem", "photo east Jerusalem", "image east Jerusalem"

 I stood on this pedestrian bridge watching 

"picture Al; Quds", "image J Street", "photo Jerusalem"

the endless stream of school children walking  on my left.

"picture nakba", Photo East Jerusalem", "image Nakba riots"

At that very moment, on my right

smoke was rising from Arab neighborhoods.

It was Nakba Day, the “catastrophe” or “disaster” the Arab world

has observed for 64 years because of the establishment of Israel.

"picture Arab girl". "photo Arab girl", "image Arab girl"

Below, an Arab girl was walking alone

"picture Palestinian boy","photo Palestinian child?,"image Palestinian boy"

and this Arab boy was hanging around the cinema.

They were heading home around the time PA leader Mahmoud Abbas was 

in Ramallah inciting the crowd with charges of “ethnic cleansing”.

"picture East Jerusalem", "photo Jerusalem" "image Arab boys"

I passed through the Liberty Bell Park

"Arab boys photos","picture Arab boys, "palestinian boys image"

and saw two Arab boys climbing on a sculpture in the gardens.

"picture Israel flag", "image Jerusalem Day", "photo Jerusalem street"

It is not easy to relocate under the best of circumstances,

but my Christian friends from Lebanon did it in America.

My Jewish friends from Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq and Morocco

lost everything when they were forced from their childhood homes,

but they moved on, and built good lives for themselves and their families.

Yes, there is a Nakba, a disaster and a real tragedy.

"east Jerusalem picture",

As long as the Arab world continues on its destructive path…

there is indeed a Nakba .