Yitzhak Navon: Israeli President Remembered

Yitzhak Navon: Israeli President Remembered

On November 20, 1977, Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem to speak in the Israeli Knesset.

Remembering that historic moment spurs another November remembrance.

Yitzhak Navon

Yitzhak Navon lived from April 9, 1921 – November 6, 2015, and came from a long line of renowned Sephardic rabbis.

Yitzhak Navon in Beit Hanasi

An Israeli politician, diplomat, and author, he served as the fifth President of Israel between 1978 and 1983.

Yitzhak Navon’s image is in the garden at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s House, along with the rest of Israel’s past Presidents.

Yitzhak Navon is Beit Hanasi with flower on day of funeral

On the day of the Funeral of Yitzhak Navon  a single red flower was placed on the marble stand.

In 1978, at the age of 57, Yitzhak Navon was elected President of the State of Israel.

The first thing to come up in an internet search for Yitzhak Navon, is the Yitzhak Navon train station.

Sign for Yitzhak Navon Train Station in Jerusalem - fast train to Tel Aviv.

Navon was the first Israeli president of Sephardic heritage. Born in Jerusalem into a family who had lived in Jerusalem for over 300 years, they traced their ancestry back to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

He was noticeably younger than his predecessors, bringing to the President’s residence his wife and two relatively young children, which changed the atmosphere of the Presidential home.

Day of Yitzhak Navon funeral his children in garden look at stature

Navon was the father of a daughter, Na’ama, and a son, Erez. His wife, Ofira, died of cancer in 1993, and was a clinical psychologist. He later was remarried to Miri Shafir.

President Reuven Rivlin and Navon children day of funeral at Beit Hanasi

During his Presidency, Navon strove to act as a bridge between all of Israel’s ethnic groups, working to help those on the periphery enter into the mainstream of Israeli life.

At his funeral, this woman had to share a memory with his family and President Rivlin.

Military escort for Yitzhak Navon arrival at Beit Hanasi

In the critical years 1946-1948, Navon served as head of the Arab section of the Haganah in Jerusalem.

In 1951, he began a decade-long career in senior administrative posts in the offices of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and of its first Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moshe Sharett.

Navon served as deputy speaker of the Knesset, and chairman of the Knesset Committee on Foreign and Defense Affairs.

In 1983, Navon turned down the opportunity to run for a second term of office. Instead he returned to politics, the only Israeli ex-president to do so, and served as Minister of Education and Culture, remaining in the Knesset until 1992.

Israeli President Yitzhak Navon funeral at Beit Hanasi

When the polls showed that Navon was more popular than Labor chairman Shimon Peres, Peres was pressured to step aside and allow Navon to take over the party leadership.

Navon’s fluency in Arabic made him especially popular among Arab and Mizrahi voters. However, at his funeral, which was open to the public at Beit Hanasi, few came early to pay respects, though more were reported attending later.

Navon was fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, Ladino, French and English. In October 1980, he visited Egypt, the first official visit by an Israeli president to an Arab state at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat. Navon impressed his hosts with his eloquent Arabic, breaking the ice and demolishing stereotypes of Israelis and Jews as a “foreign element” to the region.

He also paid a state visit to the United States at the invitation of President Reagan.

Former home of Israeli President Yitahak Navon gets blue tourist sign

November 6, came and went with little notice, three years since he died, but new signs are seen on Jerusalem streets.

Yitzhak Navon 5th president of Israel home becomes historical location

A blue historical information sign shows where Yitzhak Navon lived in his last years.

Yitzhak Navon train station in Jerusalem Israel

The new Jerusalem Train Station has opened.

New Jerusalem fast train station

As more people ride the new fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv,

Fast train station Jerusalem Israel

more will see the name Yitzhak Navon, a former President of Israel who lived a long life, and excelled in more areas of arts and language than listed here.

From chasing Nazi war criminals in South America, to attending events close to the end of his long and full life, Yitzhak Navon is truly a name to remember.

We can only wonder if Navon had led the negotiations with Egypt on Sinai, would the fate of Yamit and Gaza have been the same?

 

Tuesday or Sunday, Election and Harvest Week in Jerusalem, Israel

Tuesday or Sunday, Election and Harvest Week in Jerusalem, Israel

Sunday.

One thing people mention they miss most living in Israeli is Sunday.

In Israel it is a regular week day, with school and work beginning bright and early Sunday morning.

No more Monday morning blues in Israel, by Monday evening the week feels half over.

View of Kotel and Har Habayit from Rova Jerusalem Israel

In Jerusalem on a Sunday we can enjoy special scenes like this one in Old City, but it’s not a day off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, was a national holiday, Election Day.

Elections for local governance and municipalities in Israel are held every 5 years.

Many olim joked that having this Tuesday off from work made it feel like Sunday.

Sadly in Jerusalem even though it was not a work day, the turnout was low.

Apathy with only a 30% voter turnout?

Ofer Berkovitch for Jerusalem Mayor

A runoff election is to be held in two weeks between Ofer Berkovitch and Moshe Lion.

Meanwhile, the future leadership of Jerusalem, Israel, is an unknown.

Line of tourists going into Jewish Quarter Old City Jerusalem Israel

Nevertheless, tourists keep coming by the tens of thousands. One part of a group in this photo was heading into the Old City near the Jewish Quarter.

Har Hazetim and view from Old City Jerusalem Israel

Seeing the grave stones on Har Hazetim, the Mount of Olives, with the Arab buildings up next to, and even on top of ancient Jewish graves, is another visual tourist experience.

Soldiers and tourist near Zion Gate in Jerusalem Israel entrance to Old City

Entering the Old City through Zion Gate, with its bullet-marked stone walls, is often the route for tourists and new IDF soldiers to learn history first hand.

The symbol of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a sword wrapped by an olive branch.

Olives and olive oil have connection to Eretz Yisrael going back thousands of years.

While elections are every five years, harvesting olives has been an annual event for centuries.

Jerusalem Israel President House Olive tree in back ground

There are 60 olive trees on the grounds of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Among other things I learned this week, olive trees can live 2,000 years.

So important is the harvesting of olives there is a special word for it in Hebrew, מסיק, masik.

Jerusalem Israel olive harvest

So this week after the first winter rain, President Rivlin invited olive growers to help him harvest the presidential olives.

Israel President at Biet Hanasi

President Rivlin and his wife Nechama came out to greet the invited guests, Arab, Jewish, religious, secular, of all ages, some seventh-generation farmers.

Those little orange rakes were good for official photographs.

But the serious harvesting was done by large electric tools.

Cat in garden of Israeli President in Jerusalem Israel

And as usual in the Presidential gardens, the Presidential Cat was on guard supervising.

The fall season is not just for harvesting olives.

post for annual Oud Festival in Jerusalem Israel

The annual Oud Festival is coming up soon.

Sugganiot ready for Hanukah

And suffganiot, those Hanukkah donuts, are appearing and disappearing from bakery shelves.

Jerusalem Israel message of support with Pittsburgh on walls of Old City

And with all this happening, a shadow over this past week was cast by the unthinkable events in Pittsburgh which we learned about after Shabbat here in Jerusalem. As young people gathered Sunday night to sing Hebrew sad songs in Zion Square, this message of support was shown on the walls of the Old City.

Up-down, another roller coaster week, but if you want to end on a positive note, meet one of Israel’s proud olive growers.

Not everyone in Israel wants to go into hi-tech, some still believe in value of agriculture.

The sun is shining, the weather cooling, and it’s a great time to get out and walk around to see what else is happening in Jerusalem, but watch out for those black overripe olives that have fallen on sidewalks.

Jerusalem Open Houses and Busy Streets

You can tell the seasons are changing in these old stone Jerusalem, Israel, buildings when the inside temperatures are lower than the outside temperatures.

Late Monday night it rained briefly and it was truly a big deal around here.

Yemin Moshe garden

In Yemin Moshe the grass is green, the flowers are in bloom, and the olives are ready to harvest.

As temperatures cool, it is so much more pleasant to walk around Jerusalem.

Batim MaBefnim, Houses from Within, are free open houses, with over 100 options in all parts of the city.

Volunteer in tee shirt for open house

Tens of thousands participate, and volunteers receive these special tee shirts.

Sign for Open House on King George Street for museum in Heichel Shlomo

The Art Museum in Heichal Shlomo was open without charge.

UN met in this building to work on partition plan in 1947

Beit Kedima had the yellow sign in front and tours inside.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

One walking tour offered was Mamilla graffiti art.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

Above the Miffal was one colorful example of Jerusalem graffiti.

Entrance to Miffal open house Jerusalem Israel

Great place, but I had already been to Miffal last year, when it was called HaMiffal.

Villa Mamilla open house door on Jerusalem street

I was going to just walk around, until more than one person pointed me to this door.

Villa Mamilla interior in Jerusalem Israel

They were correct, inside Villa Mamilla was a special experience.

Jerusalem Israel Villa Mamilla tree in courtyard

A tree was in the courtyard and stone stairway enticed visitors to go up.

Open house Villa Mamilla bedroom Jerusalem Israel

The redesigned home has 3 bedrooms that host 7-9 guests.

Jerusalem Israel villa Mamilla bedroom

While we were talking here a man passed by and told us that we should see the bathroom

Bathroom in Villa Mamilla

The tiles in the shower are so well placed we had to look again to find the drain.

Upstairs, visitors rested in the roof garden.

Jerusalem Israel courtyard in house

No way to tell how many people passed through and viewed this house.

Lounge room of Villa Mamilla open for HouseWithin Jerusalem Israel annual festival

On my way out a woman was taking a photo of herself in the first floor salon.

Door open with workers redoing house in Jerusalem

The building next door was under construction, not open for visitors, at least not this year.

Jerusalem Israel scene in a house

But down the alleyway, another door was open so I strolled in to find this scene.

Like something from an old Israeli movie with people sitting around and talking on a Friday morning.

Jerusalem Israel old house has 5 cent Coke Cola vending machine

As I turned to leave, this old Coke vending machine was in the passageway.

I’m so glad I was drawn into these open doors. You never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets, and off the streets as well.

Jerusalem Israel annual creative art festival Manofim

The open houses were last weekend, but I remember my first visit to Hansen House eight years ago, when it was old, abandoned, and run down.

Now Hansen House is home to many events including the celebration of 10 years of the Manofim Contemporary Art Festival. See the details HERE

Pianos at Jerusalem theatre

The Piano Festival at Jerusalem Theater is back for the sixth year.

International Animation Festival sign in Jerusalem Israsel

Plus another Animation Festival this week!

No way to do it all.

Campaign signs for Elkin and Lion on side of Jerusalem Israel bus

Meanwhile signs for the municipal elections are hard to miss on Jerusalem buses.

I will not try to predict who will be the new the mayor, but we are down to a final 4 candidates.

Nor will I try to keep try to keep up with all the conferences this week.

Besides the Jewish Federations of North American General Assembly in Tel Aviv,

the fourth Israel-China Innovation Conference is at the Jerusalem Orient hotel.

Did you know Friday October 26 is International Walking Day?

So – tired or not, it is time to get out and walk again to see what is happening!