Jerusalem: Good, Bad and Ugly Week

Jerusalem: Good, Bad and Ugly Week

Jerusalem, Israel,

what a week!

Heavy rains fell over Shabbat,

Washed away ads from heavy rain in Jerusalem, Israel

strong enough to wash away layers of ad posters.

Effects of a municipal strike were being felt,

but I went looking for something good.

After the winter rains,

Branches on tree budding in spring in Jerusalem Israel

buds were popping out on branches.

In the Valley of the Cross there were

Valley of Cross turns green after heavy rains Israel Jerusalem

signs of new growth and small pools of water,

and a favorite sight,

Rakefet growing in stones after winter rain Jerusalem Israel

rakefet, cyclamen, growing in rock structures.

After heavy rain Gan Sacher has puddles and grass turning green Jerusalem Israel park

 Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, had puddles and

 unattended, uncollected garbage bins.

The Old City was not affected,

 as the municipal strike went on for another day,

Garbage strike and bins over full of rubbish Jerusalem Israel mess

but in most neighborhood bins were overflowing.

Cat on top of garbage not collected after strike

Only the street cats and birds were happy.

Overflowing trash on the streets

Near Machane Yehuda market women try to cross Agrippas Street filled with garbage

near Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk,

was not only an ugly sight,

Litter filling Agrippas Road during garbage strike

but unhealthy and dangerous as well.

A friend saw these photos and

thought it was the aftermath of a terror attack.

On Agrippas Street, people waited for buses that did not come,

since buses could only pass through the ugly mess in one direction.

In addition, the mess by the shuk which overflowed on to the streets

Jerusalem light rail track and no trains due to municipal strike

caused the light-rail trains to stop running.

Jaffa Road became a pedestrian mall,

Yafo with no light rain trains on tracks, but one skateboarder in center of road garbage stirke

perfect for the occasional skate boarder.

Thousands trudged along to find transportation.

However, by walking along Agrippas Street,

Graffiti seen from near Machane Yehuda market Jerusalem Israel

I did find a new and colorful piece of graffiti,

and poorly translated signs

are always good for a smile or laugh,

Warning sign with incorrect English written on sign near construction

like this one posted across from Cinema City

near the Supreme Court Building.

near scene of protest police tape after event near Rose Garden Jerusalem

The strike is finally over.

It will take awhile to clear the mountains of trash accumulated

  while the mayor and finance minister feuded.

But at least children are back in school,

so parents can go back to work.

Now back to normal?

It has rained again, and the sun has come out again.

It’s that time of year when the water from the tap

is colder than the water in the refrigerator.

Hope we can go back to complaining about the cold.

Large Hebrew poster for movie at Bet Avi Chai

But if reality gets too ugly again,

 we can go to Beit Avi Chai to see a movie.

It’s free.

Future Israeli Leaders in the Negev

Future Israeli Leaders in the Negev

The southern Israeli desert called the Negev

has been in the news this week.

Sadly, two lives were lost there,

and the details are still emerging.

On a recent trip to the Negev 

we passed dozens of Bedouin encampments

Beoudin along road in Negev

like this one along the roadside.

Thousands of Bedouins live in hundreds of homes like these

that just “popped up” along side the Negev roads.

But I would rather share a new, special “village” with you,

Army base in southern Israel Kiryat Ariel Sharon

an elite army training base named for Ariel Sharon.

Entering the grounds, a large

Kiryat Ariel Sharon negev

outdoor stadium is on the right side of road.

Near the entrance,

Negev army base shul

 one of three synagogues sits on the main square.

IDF base commanders

The commander of the base, Colonel Avi Motola,

says he feels more like a mayor, with a budget and services

for 10,000 soldiers who are on the training base.

Map of Negev army training base

A map of the base, larger than some Israeli cities.

Different army units training at Negev base

This slide shows the governing structure of the IDF and its branches

on this state-of-the-art consolidated training campus.

A convention center, pool, library and more are planned.

There are six dining rooms with huge kitchens to serve up meals.

New army base in Negev

This view from one central location

IDF Training base in negev

and another show the barren desert in background.

Desert lands take up a third of the country.

New infrastructure, such as roads, were built to benefit everyone.

Civilians work on the base, which helps the local economy.

The plan is for families to come and further develop

the surrounding Negev cities.

Inside the training center,

Room to train medics under conditions of battlefield

simulator rooms have sound and smoke

to prepare young soldiers for action.

Especially impressive are the areas to train medics.

Room to train medics in IDF Negev base

On the ground covered by a “blood” stained blanket

is a dummy with equipment around the walls.

The window on right lets medical teams be supervised.

Room to train medics

There are multiple rooms, reflecting the various terrains.

Training with artificial bodies and body parts

Medics training at new base in NEgev

helps prepare efficient medical response teams.

With the shorter attention-spans of new recruits,

plus shorter terms of service,

new means of more effective education are crucial.

Basic training is three weeks,

the special courses can last from 3 weeks to 14 months.

Simulators to teach driving in Negev army base

Young soldiers learn to drive on these simulators.

The large truck dashboard and weather conditions

are two factors which can be programmed.

New planted tress in army base in Negev

Outside were new plantings to landscape the campus.

IDF soldiers lying on ground relaxing in Negev base

One journalist on our trip commented on the relaxed

atmosphere of the base, so different to army life in China.

Soldier talking on phone in Negv

This is a perfect spot to sit in the shade and talk on phone.

Female IDF soldiers walking in army base with backpacks

As more young women are serving in IDF,

it was impressive to see their presence on the base.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look

Field in name of Ariel Sharon in Negev

into the training of new officers for the IDF.

Oh, the last words as you exit,

Go in Peace says sign at exit of new army base Ariel Sharon

Go in peace.