Jerusalem: Flags, Flames, Flyovers, Flowers and Finally Fireworks

Jerusalem: Flags, Flames, Flyovers, Flowers and Finally Fireworks

After the Passover holiday flags begin to appear on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets.

Flags for Israeli Independence Day

Flags on supermarket fences,

Israeli flags on private vehicle

and flags on all types of vehicles.

Israeli flag on gate of community center on Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem

Flags large and small are displayed on community and public buildings.

Israel flag large on building

These new apartment buildings win for the longest flag I have seen this year.

Air stunt Israel Independence Day practice

The annual practice flights for Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day, included a new stunt.

That fourth plane was not out of formation, but had turned upside down in a spin.

Airplanes practice for Israel Independent Day in Jerusalem

Look high above the Knesset building, in the clouds to see it coming back in formation.

However, this video clip of one maneuver should give you a better idea.

Helicopter before Israel Independence day

This is one helicopter circling over Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s house.

On Yom Ha’aztmaut the President hosts the first of a long day of events, and helicopters fly over at the opening.

Memorial flame outside Israel President's Residence

Outside of Beit Hanasi, besides the flags there is a memorial flame.

Before the festivities of Yom Ha’atzmaut,  Yom HaZikaron, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism is commemorated.

A siren is sounded for one minute at 8:00 pm and another at 11:00 this morning.

Shops were closed last night. Jerusalem streets were quiet.

Memorial services were held at the Kotel, Western Wall, with President Rivlin, while hundreds of smaller solemn gatherings were held in Jerusalem.

Most Israeli cities have their own military cemetery and memorial, but the largest is in Jerusalem.

Entrance to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

Extra flags were up after Passover at the entrance

Israeli flags on Mount Herzl

to the military cemetery on Har Herzl, where more flags were flying.

Israeli Ethiopian memorial in cemetery on Mount Herzl

There is a special memorial for Ethiopians who lost their lives.

Lone soldier graves on Mount Herzl Jerusalem Israel

A special section for lone soldiers is adorned with military souvenir flags.

The main section was being prepared immediately after Passover.

A shade from the sun and a small white plastic stool was placed by each grave.

I went early to get photos to share.

Cemetery on Mount Herzl close up of white stool for Yom HaZikaron

Today tens of thousands of people, from all over, will fill Har Herzl for Yom HaZikaron.

A photo without crowds of people would be impossible.

Jerusalem Israel military cemetery on Mount Herzl one grave of soldier who died 19 years old

Looking at the age here, I remembered being in the Beer Sheva Military Cemetery on Yom HaZikaron, in 2001, with a group of high school students after the March of Living trip to Poland.  What the teens noticed was how many of the stones had 19 as the age they died. A number so close to their age captured their attention.

On Yom HaZikaron, each grave will have a small flag and flower, as Israelis remember 23,741 fallen soldiers.

Memorial for victims of terror in Jerusalem

The 3,150 victims of terror are also remembered.

Pin for Yom HaZikaron with Red Everlasting flower Dam Hamaccabim flower

Since 1955, as on the traditional blue sticker for Yom HaZikaron, is the Dam HaMaccabim (Red Everlasting) flower.  The flower on a pin is new this year, part of the Dam HaMaccabim Project

“According to legend, every drop of blood of the Maccabees that fell to the ground was absorbed into the land, and from it sprung the beautiful flower with its blood-like red blossom…

The Israeli people have known so much bereavement over the years, and yet we are not a sad people…we have channeled our losses into a national culture of growth, of bringing forth new life…”

So again as the sun sets, the mood shifts.

Independence Day Jerusalem Israel street signs

Signs are up, ready for celebrating 71 years Israel Independence in Jerusalem.

Fireworks at Har Herzl for Israel Independence Day

Fireworks from Har Herzl will be seen over the Jerusalem streets as the festive celebrations begin.

A week of extreme highs and lows, joy and sadness, on the real Jerusalem streets.

Southern Israel Red Alerts in Alumim

Southern Israel Red Alerts in Alumim

Sometimes you have to get out of Jerusalem, Israel, to appreciate the view.

View from Highway One Jerusalem Israel

All this rain we have been having may dampen our spirits, but it is fabulous for making the countryside green.

View from Jerusalem Highway 1

From the roads leading out of Jerusalem the valley is at its best.

Israel lines along road

Once on the road south, you see flat land and wires stretched across it.

Southern Israel farm land from highway

Farmers working between the rain storms along the way.

Sign from Red South Israel spring flower Adom Festival

February and March, and southern Israel is famous for its red flower festival.

However, once again southern Israel has red alerts, not flowers.

Kibbutz Alumim sign southern Israel

The sign at Kibbutz Alumim was the same as  on our previous visit in December 2012.

Kibbutz Alumim security fence

The electric security fence was opened carefully for our arrival.

Kibbutz Alumim green fields southern Israel

The green fields of the agricultural kibbutz stretched into the distance.

Kibbutz Alumim fence with warning sign to border of Aza

But it you turned around, another sign warned of the Gaza border ahead.

Kibbutz Alumim view of Gaza southern Israel

From the fields of Kibbutz Alumim, the Gaza border and buildings beyond are clearly in view.

Kibbutz Alumim bomb shelters near factory

Because of missiles and rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel, these bomb shelters are situated next to the factory. Workers have seconds to get inside to safety when a red alert warns of an oncoming projectile.

Kibbutz Alumim Iron Dome southern Israel

Alumim has two Iron Domes positioned for protection from Hamas and its rockets.

Kibbutz Alumim in spring southern Israel green

Why live in southern Israel? It’s beautiful. Israelis have made the desert bloom.

Aluim collection of rockets and missiles fired at southern Israel from Gaza

When Hamas is not firing these missiles, it is a wonderful place.

Long time resident Esther took time to share with us a bit of her story.

Southern Israel Kibbutz Alumim bomb shelter in home, bedroom safe room.

Rafi’s house, and every home, has a bomb shelter bedroom. Sealed rooms have again become a necessity with nightly rockets from Gaza.

Twenty years living under fire from Gaza. Esther and others try to keep a positive attitude, to make music chimes from missiles.

Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel

Kibbutz Alumim had no red alerts when we were there last week, after a night of terror when a house in Sderot was hit. However, the newest round of red alerts included Alumim. The residents of southern Israel are weary, tired of red alerts, and want to go back to being known for their red flowers.

March Madness Jerusalem Style

March Madness Jerusalem Style

In the United States March Madness means the college basketball championship playoffs.

In Jerusalem, Israel, March Madness has a very different meaning.

First there is the weather, which is constantly changing and so hard to predict.

Water after heavy Israel rainy season

This year with heavy rainfalls, low lying areas are full of water days after a storm.

Outdoor activities have to be re-planned. One rainy afternoon we went to the Israel Museum.

Jerusalem sunset time view from Israel Museum

Loved the sunset view from inside the museum.

March madness means Purim is coming, with costumes, treats of sweets, and parties galore.

Megilat Esther in Israel Museum

Special Megillot Esther, scrolls with the story of Purim, are on display in the museum.

Megilas Esther in Israel Museum

Of many sizes, from small to this large illuminated one, both of these stand out in the collection.

Israeli Museum display of Purim noisemakers - groggers

This case contains special noise makers that are used to block out the name of Haman as Megillat Esther is read at night and again in the morning of Purim.

Across the corridor from these noise makers and the Jewish holiday collections is a special exhibit on Rambam, Maimonides.

Rambam Germany 1355-56 maimonides at Israel Museum

Thirteen handwritten, works of the Rambam are displayed in a dark room, in special cases, including this one from Germany, from 1355-56, written in ink, with tempre and gold leaf.

Maimonides Guide of the Perplexed

From the early 1300’s, a handwritten Guide of the Perplexed, also illustrated.

Maimonides Mishnah Torah at Israel Museum Kaufmann 1295-96

The Kaufmann Mishnah Torah, dated 1295-96, is also in the impressive collection.

From the calm of the Israel Museum, back to madness.

It  is impossible to keep up with the number of international conferences.

Jerusalem International Conference Center stairs for Our Crowd.

Over 18,000 people from 183 countries were registered for Jerusalem innovation conference Our Crowd. The crowded halls and spaces of the Jerusalem International Conference Center were at times packed with people moving from speaker to event. The room for the panel on cannabis was closed after capacity was reached. The lines for Beyond Burger, a plant meat substitute, were  just mad, hard to believe how long people waited while other food stations had no lines. I ate waffles, never got a bite of burger. More photos HERE 

Man in garden of Israeli President looking at statue of herzl

State  Comptrollers from Europe and Asia are meeting at an official gathering this week in Jerusalem. A delegation visited Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence and received a brief tour of the gardens and its history before meeting with President Rivlin.

intv and DIGITELL19 conference check in at YMCA

The Innovative TV Conference (intv) brought television executives from around the world to Jerusalem for two days at the YMCA on King David Street.

YMCA Jerusalem view outside day of TV and digital events

Overlapping for its first day with intv, the DIGITELL19, also was at the YMCA, before taking off to Mitzpe Ramon in the south, and then going to Tel Aviv.

Digitell 19 conference at YMCA

One of the sessions at YMCA for DIGITELL19 was ‘Xtream Marketing’ presented by SodaStream’s Matti Yahav, Chief Marketing Officer. The conference sponsored by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs brought an international group of pro-Israel social activists together. I only took a few photos. The “secret sauce” for SodaStream, the 4 ‘Ps’ is here, but some of participants were also a secret, so I only posted a few on Facebook HERE.

Logistic center for israeli elections in Shoham

Most of the conferences do not involve the real streets. However, the upcoming Israeli election is hard to avoid.  A visit to the Israeli Elections Committee Logistic Center was interesting.

As messages from various political parties invade our phones and homes, in this building in Modiin Industrial Park in Shoham, the boxes for election polling stations are being packed.

Logistic center for Israel elections

Each box has everything down to the paper clips counted out and sealed. Work goes on 24/6 to be ready to deliver before the April election day.

Sample voting booth for Israel elections

Notice the new boxes being made to accommodate the 46 political parties, plus one blank ballot for a write-in option.

After the election 250 tons of paper will be recycled. No politics here, just posting the logistical madness.

If you are interested in knowing more about the various parties, their names, ages and positions.. check out a clever voting guide – HERE

But, before Purim, before elections….

Hanging banners for jerusalem marathon

The Jerusalem Winner Marathon is running on March 15th!

Runners on new paths for Jerusalem marathon

Runners are training on the streets. Landscaping and paving along route is going at a mad pace to finish before the 40,000 runners from 80 countries start to line up at 6:45 am.

Jerusalem schools are closed. Museums in the area are closed on Friday, as they are near the starting point of the marathon.

The Bloomfield Science Museum is closed on Friday for marathon, but in honor of PI day, on Thursday afternoon, is open and free.

Signs for Jerusalem marathon

Marathon direction signs are posted along the routes where Jerusalem streets will be closed from 5:00 am until after 1:00 pm.

March Madness Jerusalem style gets really going after the marathon.

Photo of family in costume on Jerusalem Israel street on Purim

For Purim one never knows what or who one will find on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

This year the city has a long list of events planned all week.

The day Purim is over, the Passover marathon begins, from March Madness to Passover Panic.

Where to go and what to do with so much happening Jerusalem streets!?