Jerusalem Survives and Celebrates

Kav Tet November 1947, 29 November, was the day the United Nations voted for the establishment of a Jewish State.

Sign 29 November Street

A Jerusalem street, like in many other Israeli cities, has a street named for the important historical event.

There were major celebrations on 29 November 2016.

What a shame all these years later as Israel prepares for its 75th-year events that too many in the world still have not accepted Israel.

However, preparing for Hanukkah has begun!

Donuts for Hanukkah

From the trays with millions of sufganiyot, donuts,

large colorful chanukia in Jerusalem part of Chabad show

the tens of thousands of Hanukkah menorahs, hanukiot,

Hanukkah menorah near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem Israel with Citadel

the traditional style hanukiah,

Chanukah in Jerusalem, Israel

or colorful light projections on the Old City walls, the Jerusalem streets are preparing to celebrate the week-long holiday from December 18-26, 2022.

Looking forward to seeing what’s new for 5783 on the Jerusalem streets!

Menorah Yad Vashem

A good time to remember the past as we plan for the future.

Shavuah Tov and Chodesh Tov!

Ancient Akko’s Crusader Fortress

This week we will detour from the Jerusalem streets, and look at the streets of Akko, where we recently visited.

Akko/Acre is a port city on the Mediterranean coast in northwest Israel, known for its well-preserved old city walls. The settlement in Tel Akko began as far back as the twentieth-century BCE.

Jonathan the King of the Hasmoneans conquered Akko in 150 BCE.

Akko was a link in the international trade chain with…a long history.

Old Akko was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. The area has fascinating tourist spots and great potential.

Akko was already a fortified city at the beginning of the 12th century when the First Crusade of 1095-1099 was declared a success.

1191 – King Richard I, or Richard the Lionhearted, recaptured the city in the Third Crusade. The Crusaders built a huge fortress in Akko, and you can go on the Kingdom of the Knights tour in the ancient fortress.

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A model in the inner courtyard shows the size of the structure complex.

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Around the area, some of the ancient stone relics found in the area are on display.

Relics of ancient history are on exhibit outside the main entrance.

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It is best to enter and get the audio headset for a self-guided tour inside.

Artifacts from the Hellenistic and Roman periods that have been found beneath the floor of the Crusader hall are on display.

Along the walking tour, one can stop and listen to explanations at dozens of numbered spots.

Akko served as the main port of the Crusader kingdom, the heart of its commercial activity, and its administrative center.

The historical importance of scribes is featured at one location.

The walls are lined with colorful murals and informative context.

The vast arches and columns are now lit up along the winding corridors.

The arches were crafted in the shapes of the hulls of the wooden boats that arrived at the port, a style similar to Old Jerusalem.

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Dishware found under the floors, that was used by the Crusader Knights is on exhibit.

The ancient fortress is now used as a modern museum.

The Crusader hall was a great spot to stop. The Crusaders lost their hold on the kingdom some 50 years before the fall of Akko.

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A new power arose from Egypt: the Mamluks. By stopping the Mongolian invasion, the Mamluks began consolidating their rule in the area.

They built magnificent mosques, schools for the study of Islam (madrassas), and inns for their pilgrims.

They left Akko desolate, like the other coastal cities. Ahmad Pasha was known as ‘al-Jazzar’ (the butcher) because of his intense cruelty.

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The reconstruction of the city in the 17th century began when Fakhr-al-Din came to power.

Daher al-Omar 1745-1775, is long gone. What he would think about Akko today?

Now there is a restaurant called ROOTS outside the fortress entrance.

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A kosher restaurant is located next to the old Crusader Fortress.

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The Kingdom of the Knights reveals the secrets of Acre in the Crusader Fortress.

Even if the weather is too hot or cold outside, an interesting view of history can be found inside the ancient old stone walls.

Jerusalem in Autumn Colors

While I miss the colorful autumn leaves from the North Eastern United States, it was a very colorful week in Jerusalem.

Different colors, such as the colorful wedding we attended to start the week.

Occasionally an interesting leaf appears on a Jerusalem street.

But it was the bright yellow of the blooming flowers

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and newly planted Jerusalem flower beds that really got my attention.

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Under a bright blue sky with white clouds, Jerusalem was full of color.

The Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor was awarded to President Nicos Anastasiades of the Republic of Cyprus at Beit Hanasi by President Herzog.

During the ceremony, the colorful flowers outside the window distracted me and caught my attention.

But I put together a short video if you want to see more of the event.

Not only are there new colors in the smaller receiving room,

but new colorful Jerusalem artwork is displayed on the walls.

A few hours after the Medal of Honor ceremony the furniture was rearranged in order to receive the representatives of the political parties to recommend a candidate to form the new government.

As in the recent past, the President’s discussions were broadcast live.

The procedure began with Likud, the party with the most votes.

The media has the same view on screens from a reception space off the main room, however, I decided to go to see what was happening.

Here a TV news person reported in Arabic as the Noam party finished their turn with a recommendation to the President.

I waited to see the United Arab List (Ra’am) delegation comprising Mansour Abbas MK, Yasser Hajirat MK-elect, and Iman Khatib-Yasin MK arrive on the red carpet to tell the President they would not make a recommendation.

I did not stay around to see if they made a comment after or were followed out by journalists for comment as I saw for the Noam members.

The media was out in full when President Isaac Herzog assigned the task of forming a government to Benjamin Netanyahu MK at the President’s Residence today. So glad I got a front-row seat and was not standing on a chair in the back of the crowded room.

But more was happening this week than election news.

How appropriate that a book launch for “A Banker’s Journey: How Edmond J. Safra built a global financial empire” was held at the Israel Museum.

The Museum Theater where author Daniel Gross spoke with journalist Matti Friedman was next to the Edmond and Lily Safra Art Wing.

Colorful posters line some Jerusalem streets announcing events and festivals, like the Tower of David’s ZEROline II 1/2 on November 11-13.

Then there is the Israel Music Showcase Festival on November 22-27 and more, such as The Train Theater conference to begin on International Children’s Day on November 20, entitled, “How a child writes.”

Just when I thought I had finally found a place to enjoy a bit of fall color,

further down the path were big blue signs blocking the way.

Oh, the Jerusalem streets! Fix them and then tear them up again?

But to end with one piece of good construction news,

New tunnel on Route 60 to Gush Etzion

remember the Summer street scenes of the tunnel to Gush Etzion?

It was reported that one of the new tunnels is ready to open this week.

Perhaps some of the traffic backed up coming off of new Route #16 we ease up with the traffic flowing better out of Jerusalem.

It has mostly been warm during the day, so the leaves in Liberty Bell Park are still full and green. Love the Jerusalem colors as winter approaches.

It may not feel like it, but it’s time to plan for Hanukah, only 5 weeks away!

New this year is a Hanukkah tour of Nachlaot starting with donuts.

Or for those interested in a Jerusalem walking tour without the calories to see the colors of the real Jerusalem streets and lights check HERE