In Jerusalem, Israel, the Israeli flags were flying,
blue and white flags along Jerusalem streets,
and large ones from buildings and light poles prior to Jerusalem Day.
Yom Yerushalayim, the Jerusalem Day 56 signs were posted. Events lasted longer than just a day, with celebrations galore, including live music at Kifar Safra on Wednesday night for hundreds, open to the public at no charge.
The day of Yom Yerushalayim officially beings with a state ceremony for the 4,000 Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel, at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery near the monument built in 2007.
Also during the day, the President and Prime Minister attend a memorial for the victims of the Six-Day War and the War of Attrition at Mount Herzl.
Museums were open and free of charge in honor of Jerusalem Day.
But the main event happens on the Jerusalem streets, with bus loads of people arriving from around the country. This group of students from Petach Tikva started dancing and singing as soon as they got off the bus.
Not just young males participate, but people of all ages and from around the world arrived this year and marched with flags, in spite of dire threats.
The people at the Kings Hotel had a good vantage point to watch the main crowd on King George Street singing and dancing.
Others were down in the crowd recording the thousands participating.
The occasional speakers did not get a quiet audience from the crowd.
This year girls broke thru the security lines to get closer to the main event.
It was not possible to get the crowd in one image, but the wind was great this year for photographing flags.
On King George Street by the Great Synagogue flag waving, singing,
excitement and enthusiasm filled the street all afternoon.
But I had come to again walk the Flag Parade/March/Dance, like this school group from Tzefat, as we started out on Agron Street.
A big Jerusalem flag was hung near Kikar Safra, as we passed Tzhal Square where the light rail trains were not running.
Many Jerusalem streets were closed to traffic, as was the entrance at New Gate, with security posted, checking pedestrians also.
So many Jewish young men, Chabad was out with a tefillin-stand on the way to Damascus Gate to enter the Old City.
The scene at Damascus Gate was more crowded than I remembered.
Many times I have walked with the crowd thru the Old City to the Kotel, the Western Wall, where prayers, music, and dancing are held at sunset.
Security watched from above, and along the route as well.
International photographers were watching and waiting at the usual vantage points inside Damascus Gate.
As hard as I tried, while I found many different t-shirts, I could not find any of the offensive viral images of the walk.
Security had blocked narrow alleyways in the Old City,
along the Via Delarosa route, as we moved slowly along.
Thanks to a much taller policeman offering to take a photo with my camera, the March/Parade crowded in the Old City moved at a schlepper’s pace.
I lost count of the young men who stopped to say thank you to the police, some even stopping to shake their hands.
We passed a memorial plaque at the spot where a Jew was killed on Purim in 1991.
Relief, the light at the end of the tunnel!
Where we emerged to the packed Kotel, Western Wall Plaza where thousands had already arrived and was filled with the sounds of music.
Traditionally, the Mayor and his wife greeted the public at the Tower of David all afternoon but left for the next official ceremony at Givat Tachmoshet, Ammunition Hill, the site of the most important battle for Jerusalem in 1967.
It was getting dark. Jaffa Gate was blocked. People were not allowed to enter, so large was the crowd on Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day.
My summary with the sounds of music during the day is under 6 minutes.
So sad that so many people were celebrating in a positive way, and the few negative images got viral coverage.
However, there’s more of what you did not see –
New trees were planted along the Jerusalem streets this week, and too many flowers to count – the Mayor is running for re-election in the fall.
Signs are up for Jerusalem Education Week,
Festival Musrara Mix 23,
and the Jerusalem Arts Festival.
Not only the many varied Jerusalem Festivals are back, but so too are international conferences. A favorite topic this week at the Inbal Hotel was the International Sleep Disorders Academy Congress.
Earlier in the week, the David Citadel Hotel hosted a Declaration Day event.
The walls of the Old City were illuminated for Yom Yerushalayim 56.
The new fountain in France Square had blue and white lights at night.
The new lighting on the old Heichal Shlomo and Great Synagogue was bright as King George Street quieted down, and the music and dancing, and celebrations for Jerusalem Day moved to other locations.
Enough for one day for two big old bears!
Now is the new month of Sivan and time to prepare for Shavuot, when again thousands more people are to fill the Jerusalem streets.
Come see what’s really happening for yourself.
Next year or this year in Jerusalem!