Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

In the first six months of this year,

Israel saw a record number of tourists.

That confirms my saying there have been

so many tour buses on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

This week also felt like a new record in the making.

No sooner had the Prime Minister of India left,

that the President of Rwanda arrived,

followed by the Irish Foreign Minister.

I thought someone made a mistake in the official guest book,

Israel President's official gust book

but the calligraphy was ready and waiting for the next guest.

I feel sorry for the person in charge of flags,

trying to keep the correct ones up for each official delegation.

But not just tourists and international delegations

have arrived in record numbers.

The World Maccabiah sports competitions are being held

from July 4- July 17, 2017.

10,000 athletes, from 80 countries,

compete for medals in Jerusalem and around the country.

Maccabiah flags were displayed outside of Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s official residence

 for a meeting of World Maccabiah delegates with

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Flags for Maccabiah outside Beit Hanasi in gardens with man representing South Korea sitting on ground

South Korea was represented by this man competing in Judo.

Most people were wearing regular clothing

Australia at Maccabiah at Beir Hanasi

but these Australians wore Maccabi shirts,

and stopped long enough to pose for a photo.

Children choir from Beer Sheva at Beit Hanasi for Maccabiah

The beautiful voices of a children’s choir group

from Beer Sheva provided entertainment,

between the effusive and positive speeches.

Attention was given to break of protocol when

 President Rivlin hugged the Indian Prime Minister.

But after the official photo with leaders of World Maccabiah,

the President again broke protocol

and walked to the back of the room

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin meets with Maccabiah

to take selfies with members of the Maccabiah group.

The affection and excitement was impressive.

US Olympic swimmers Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg for Maccabiah at Israeli President House

Also impressive were

Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg,

USA gold Olympic medalists.

And much less familiar swimmers,

Maccabiah swimmer from Suriname at Israeli president residence for Maccabiah

like Yigal Kopinsky of Suriname.

I could go on and on with the interesting countries

and delegates from Puerto Rico, Barbados, and more.

But I want to share what happened on the Jerusalem streets

with tens of thousands participating,

not just a few special individuals.

For the Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run,

runners in Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run Emek Refaim Street

streets were closed as tens of thousands of runners,

took 5 or 10-K or half-marathon routes.

Hundreds were taking photos and selfies with phones,

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run runner with a camera

but this was first time I have seen a runner

participating in a race with such a serious camera.

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

Near the end of the routes

which went back toward the starting line,

Jerusalem Israel Maccabiah Night Run

runners turned toward the Old City.

runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night run

A  friend waved on her way back to Jaffa Gate.

Runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run shower near end of route

A cool shower was waiting near the finish line.

For Jerusalem, it was a hot night.

Street closed due to Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The final stretch was past the Old City Walls

where spectators waited to cheer runners on,

Light projection on Walls of Old City

with the 50-years unification of Jerusalem light show

playing in the background.

People taking a selfie photo at end of Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The smiles at the finish line next to Mamilla Mall –

were priceless.

The Maccabiah sports range from golf, with one male playing,

to ice hockey in new Jerusalem rink,

to bridge, and of course tennis and swimming.

And chess,

where Natan Sharansky played 20 opponents,

at the same time.

He won 17 games and tied 3 others.

Some make light of these “Jewish Olympics”

but Jason Lezack representing the athletes, spoke beautifully.

I think his words are important enough to share:

 

For additional photos:

Maccabiah 2017   HERE

and   Night Run    HERE

Prime Minister Modi in Israel: Warm Hugs and Agreements

Prime Minister Modi in Israel: Warm Hugs and Agreements

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

was in Israel from July 4- 7, 2017.

 The royal warm greetings and government attention was unprecedented,

starting with a large airport reception

with hugs and flags and music and lots of officials.

President Reuven Rivlin hugs PM Modi at Beit Hanasi

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin greeted Modi

outside Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

breaking protocol with a hug instead of handshake.

Walking red carpet into Beit Hanasi PM Modi of Indie

Both men then walked the red carpet to the residence,

Modi signing guest book with President Reuven Rivlin watching

and Prime Minister Modi signed the guest book.

President Rivlin and PM Modi shake hands after signing guest book in Jerusalem Israel

Time for another warm handshake moment,

In Jerusalem Israel India Prime Minister Modi signed official guest book

after the warm message.

Official meeting of Israel President Rivlin and PM India Modi in Jerusalem, Israel

Media crowded into the official reception room.

Most of the press left for the next stop on the full itinerary,

President Reuven Rivlin introduces head of Israeli Army to PM Modi of India in Jerusalem, Israel

and missed the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Army

Gadi Eizenkot, arriving to shake hands with Modi.

Then at the King David Hotel,

Lunch table at King David Hotel for PM Modi of India and those officials signing agreements.

the table was set for a lunch meeting between

the Prime Ministers and delegation officials.

Media ready for speeches of Israel and India Prime Ministers at King David Hotel i

The lunch went longer than scheduled

but the cameras were ready

Israeli government MK Kara and Stelinlitz at King David Hotel for India Israel press conference

while Israeli Ministers chatted and also waited.

PM Modi and Netanyahu enter room for press conference at King David Hotel Jerusalem Israel

The Prime Ministers made their entrance,

Prime Ministers Israel and India at press conference

and gave their speeches

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi of India hug in Jerusalem after signing of agreements

followed by more hugs.

There were numerous jokes,

of this warm and hugging visit,Sign for Modi in Israel

and of Modi in Israel.

Photos of the Prime Ministers wading into the sea,

signing agreements, hugging, and

meeting terror survivor Moishe Holtzman

made some news reports.

They also went to see the Cochin Synagogue exhibit in the Israel Museum.

The attention showered on the Indian Prime Minister,

was more than I have seen for any recent international visitor.

 Israel’s Prime Minister acted as host and tour guide.

The love, respect, and worship, that the Indian visitors

showed for their Prime Minister was impressive.

The extensive agreements that were signed have great potential

for both countries and beyond,

Globe photo shopped over bald head in photo of important press conference

 the whole world should be applauding.

(Thanks to my friend Ron for photo-shopping the globe here.)

After all the waiting for the official ceremonies,

the tallest man in the room was seated in the front row,

and his bald head blocked my camera view.

Jokes, hugs and smiles,

the potential of this visit must be acknowledged.

Additional photos: King David Hotel  and Beit Hanasi.

Jerusalem More Than Dream

Jerusalem More Than Dream

“Next year in Jerusalem”

has been for centuries,

the mantra of the Jewish people.

At the conclusion of the Passover seder

and at end of weddings by breaking a glass,

 the destruction of Jerusalem was remembered.

From May 1948 to June 1967,

the years under Jordanian occupation,

Jerusalem Old City Walls

reaching the Kotel, Western Wall or

walking near the Temple Mount,

was only for the imagination or in a dream.

A view from a look out at Notre Dame,

over a dangerous No Man’s Land,

was as close as a Jew could get.

For those under the age of 60,

the drama and trauma of the Six-Day War,

and the resulting victory are taken for granted.

The rush of feelings, of a miraculous deliverance

against giant Arab armies attacking on all sides is lost.

The significance of

Jerusalem 50 and its many celebrations are shrugged off,

Birhat Kohanim at Kotel on Pesach 5777

for today tens of thousands can reach the Kotel Plaza to pray.

However, the Six-Day War,

also saw the return to Gush Etzion,

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

a distance 16 kilometers south of the Knesset.

And in the north,

Kinerret at Sunrise

 the beautiful Kineret, Sea of Galilee,

Golan, Kinneret

had Syrians in those Golan Heights towering above.

 Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus

was closed after a convoy of medical staff was ambushed

and 73 people were murdered in April 1948.

Memorial at Hadassah hospital to the convoy which was attacked and murdered in 1948

This memorial wall in the Mt. Scopus memorial garden

was backdrop for a reenactment of Hadassah getting its keys back

from Mayor Teddy Kollek, in June of 1967.

And the West Bank,

which was for centuries known as Judea and Samaria,

Benyamin region of Judea and Samaria

 the land of Benjamin,

West Bank land of Bemyamin

stretches as far as the eye can see,

Tel Shiloh in Judea and Samaria

and includes Tel Shilo,

which for 369 years was location of the Holy Ark,

before the time of King David and the Temple in Jerusalem.

50 years.

Half a century.

This is a wondrous time to be in Jerusalem, Israel.

The days of choking polluted air

from vehicles stuck in heavy traffic on Yaffa Road,

Jerusalem light rain train Israel Yerushalayim

are vanishing memories, as the light rail trains run by.

50 years,

things are far from perfect,

but I would not want to go back to 51 years ago.