Jerusalem Week of Contrasts

In Jerusalem, Israel it was another week of extremes and contrasts.

Jaffa Gate was still closed and the plaza was empty outside and inside. As the world turned and the sun rose and set, the Old City was shut down.

Warms days followed by heavy winter rains filled Mamilla Pool. By Friday, people had ventured down to check out the winter wonder.

A view of the new of the Museum of Tolerance from old Mamilla cemetery .

Businesses are struggling to survive near Mamilla Mall during lockdown.

Two (even one) wheelers are in the still closed Mamilla Mall, where only a liquor store was open this past week.

The Arab shuk near Jaffa Gate was shuttered tight on Friday.

The only two people on the street Friday afternoon were police officers. The souvenir store vendor who earlier in the week tried to get me to buy something, anything, was not around and his store was shuttered down.

The infrastructure work near the Kotel, Western Wall, was completed by Friday and all was quiet. Guards were carefully watching who could enter.

I was instructed “No praying allowed” this past week.

On Monday, construction work was going full steam on the Kotel Plaza.

Interesting how fast work can proceed in Jerusalem- or how slowly.

Maybe one day the abandoned Pearl hotel will be fixed up for guests, at least no one sleeps on the streets outside now.

Parts of the old President’s Hotel were reduced to rubble last week.

Building on King George Street which was torn down to build hotel

Remember this derelict building on Jerusalem’s King George Street?

Two 10-story towers are rising in its place on the street near the Plaza Hotel.

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Even the old police station on Jaffa Road was getting a new paint job.

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Look what is rising over Jaffa Road next to the Machane Yehudah Market!

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Contrast this lockdown scene in the shuk – at the same time as the Old City was closed and empty.

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A favorite winter sight, not masks, but piles of those ripe red strawberries.

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Walking home I noticed new bright graffiti covering old walls in Nahlaot.

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The old synagogue was shut tight, with no prayers allowed inside.

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But the light shining through its stained glass window was colorful and bright and could be seen from the street.

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One more bit of new graffiti on a wall and the mess of a contrast next to it.

Jerusalem streets may have light traffic, but the sidewalks have been busy!

Besides people out walking more during the limited distance restriction,

there have been plenty of two wheelers of many types and kinds and skills.

I will spare you all the photos this week of bikers who nearly ran me over.

We continue to have to deal with noisy protesters day after day after night.

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Ah, but Jerusalem the center of the world, is quieter than usual.

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However wandering the Jerusalem streets there was still music to be heard.

And signs of spring to see in nature, even in this locked down week.

Hard to believe this was Tu Bishvat last year, remembering a favorite and beautiful moment, Hatikvah – the hope at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence – BCE – Before Corona Era.

What a contrast to this year! And next year?

No one knows what will be or even who will be the next Israeli President?

Hope and flowers and continued vaccination campaign…and partial lifting of restrictions to begin this week.

Hope to see you soon on the Jerusalem streets. Take care and stay well out there.

Mamilla Cemetery New Incitement?

The week before Passover is a time of clean up, everything from Twitter

"dirty car", "Jerusalem rain"

to cars need to be cleaned.

"Palestinian land", "Photo cemetery abuse", "picture of garbage"

Until a couple of years ago one of the most neglected eyesores in

 Jerusalem was the Mamilla Cemetery, it resembled a garbage dump.

"man working in cemetery", "picture of Mamilla Cemetery"

In June 2010 the cemetery got a make-over,

"graves in Mamilla Cemetery",

fresh cement was brought in

"cemetery Israel", "picture graves in Mamilla"

and mixed for new grave stones

"photo cemetery Mamilla"

and hundreds of new tombs,  which were soon proven to be fake.

One might ask why am I taking time away from Passover preparations,

the Mamilla Cemetery hypocrisy is not new?

Two years ago the Center for Constitutional Right – CCR- initiated the

   Mamilla Campaign to the UN

to stop the building of the Museum of Tolerance.

This past week from New York

  the CCR has initiated a new campaign with a new video.

    It’s not quality photography, but it is enough to be upsetting.

The picture I had seen on a Tweet was taken from this video

and is spreading in the Arab media world.

It was a warm, sunny spring day in Jerusalem, 

so I went to see the new desecration for myself.

"picture Mamilla Cemetery abuse". "Mamilla fence'

The Mamilla Cemetery and the adjacent fenced-off  building site 

are situated across from Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park.  

"photo Museum of Tolerance site". "picture of building site"

There were people enjoying the weather and afternoon sun.

Abuse of the Mamilla cemetery was not to be seen.

BDS and GMJ did not work up a large anti-Israel reaction…

"Palestinian grave photo", "picture of Mamilla graves"

so it seems here we are again…

back to using the Mamilla cemetery to incite against Israel.