Michael Greilsammer plays in Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem

Me and my friend Teddy went to the Yellow Submarine, a music venue that is a sort of converted factory unit in Talpiyot, the southern industrial part of Jerusalem.  I went to this place last year to see Lazer Lloyd, an American Orthodox Jew who plays blues guitar, usually stuff by Clapton or Hendrix.   This is the third time I have been to see a gig of local band here.

I have been wanting to see Michael Greilsammer’s band play in Jerusalem for sometime now, he is a reggae artist who plays violin, with his wife Shimrit on guitar, the bass player is also well known from another Jerusalem based (although Indie rock) band.

I have got to listen to a few local Israeli bands on Youtube which I listen in the background whilst I am at work.

Michael has a new album out very soon, and despite waiting about 3 or 4 weeks for his first CD to be ordered, the local book shop chain Stiemetskis eventually told me they were not able to order it in, despite that Michael is a Jerusalemite musician!

Michael’s music doesn’t really fit any a simple genre, it is reggae but there is quite a bit of Irish folk in it too.   There is a familiar heavy bass and carribean beat to it, and the lyrics in the songs are Hebrew or French.   All his tracks seem to have a feel-good nice vibe and are very dancable too.

You maybe thinking that culture from Jamaica and the Caribbean seems as far away from Jewish life as possible, but  Jewish Klezmer music uses a lot of brass instruments and has a fast temp to it, familiar to reggae and ska which started to become popular in Europe and America in the 1970s.

I think Michael writes all his own songs, but there was a good cover of Lion Zion by Bob Marley and the Wailers.    All the other tracks were Hebrew or in French, there was a really nice atmosphere to this gig and would like to see them again.

Its well worth listening to some of his stuff on Youtube or on his below web site.



Cheap flights to Israel from Belgium

Found out today there is another budget airline from Europe to Israel, Jetairfly (which I guess are owned by Thomson, given their logo looks the same)


They only go from Liege, in Belgium.  Given you could get there from UK or France via high speed down the Eurostar tunnel in less than 2 hours from £39, this might be a good deal if Easyjet doesn’t appeal, or indeed for travellers from continental Europe.

The other nice thing about this, some Belgian Christians told me there are lot of Jews that live in Antwerp but they don’t seem to be interested in Aliyah (immigration to Israel)  maybe this is good to give them a taste of what living here is like.

Flights to Israel from Belgium start at 79 Euros each way but there is a 15 Euro admin fee and usual annoying credit card fees too.

Heres a map I made:-

You can see the annotations I made closer.

I assume its simple to get a bus or train from Brussels to Liege, but not been to Belgium in a long time.

Cloud seems to complete shroud over the whole of the city of Jerusalem

We have had a lot of rain lately which has been great, in fact more rain in one week then I have ever seen before.

This is a bizarre sight I see sometimes, there is a cluster of clouds above right over Jerusalem, and its as if the clouds stop right on the outskirts of the city.

Today, this is what I saw out of my kitchen window.

On the way to work I was riding past the King David Citadel hotel and looking east towards the old city, and the mount of Olives, I saw again, the edge of cloud seems roughly parallel with the edge of Jerusalem.

At the risk of sounding overly romantic or like a New Age-esque thing, seeing clouds above the city is something I have seen quite often here: https://britinjerusalem.com/2011/05/23/glow-of-light-in-valley-in-jerusalem-during-day-of-rage/

Before it came a catch phrase in IT I quite like looking at clouds on a flight, especially when you hovering just above what seems to be a field of clouds.

Anyway it gave me a nice start to the day when I was waiting for my tea to boil. 🙂

Laptop repair – replace keyboard on a 2006 model completely dead Macbook

You can skip this if you just want to read my writings in the holyland and are not a geek or want help fixing a portable computer.   I make these guides based on things I have learned from repair work I have done.  If its useful or you would like to ask me any questions feel free to do so at the bottom:

This was quite fun, first time I fixed an Apple laptop!

One of the worship team at my church had this Apple laptop which had accident involving a liquid spill, not too much, but enough to mean part of the keyboard was paralysed, and then the whole thing would no longer switch on.

Given the high cost of new Apple computers and servicing them requires a Genius bar (a specialist Apple centre with a silly name), so I thought I might be able to help.

Turns out there are quite a few damaged keyboards on ebay for Macbooks similar to this one, this one was made 2006.   Also the power switch is part of the keyboard assembly, so in the event the keyboard circuitry is defective the whole computer will not switch on.

So at the risk it might not completely fix the computer I asked if she wanted me to get a replacement keyboard, the price for the brand new part of US$60 from ebay from a seller in Singapore seemed good, just a 2 1/2 week wait for the parts to arrive.

The keyboard assembly comes as a whole plastic palm rest, keyboard and touch pad, including the power switch.   Strangely there only one cable that connects the whole thing to the Mac’s innards, your average Dell Inspiron has about 4 wires holding the keyboard, touchpad and power lights etc.   Also unusually, the Mac doesn’t have any lights for battery meter, power in, etc.

I took some time to look on Youtube and see how this 2006 Macbook comes apart, its quite different but pretty simple.

I used this 1 Shekel coin as pictured to twist the knob to allow the battery to be free.   Inside the gap where the battery was, is where we need to work next, you have to remove 3 screws holding an L shaped bracket, once this is off there are levers inside to remove the memory, there are more screws to come out, but taking all of them out is not necessary.

As its seems there was no moisture got into the body of the computer, it seemed hopeful, although there were some small broken bits of plastic where someone had been a bit rough with opening the case and broke innard pieces of the old keyboard palm rest whilst installing a bigger hard disk.

Really, by looking at the underside of the new keyboard assembly, there are metal chassis parts with holes in which are actually quite obvious which screws have to removed, including three more underneath and two by the DVD slot, and four on the back (note they are all different sizes) then with a spludger (plastic prising tool) you can lever the bad keyboard out and gently remove the cable.    The new one is just put in place with the keyboard attached, and then refit all the screws and fixings, and put the battery back in!

Pressed the power button and the screen lit up with the familiar ‘glong’ sound, its alive!  I have left the protective film on the palm rest.  The owner seemed pretty pleased to have it back working. 🙂

I would be happy to advise on laptop repair in exchange for tip or donations as I am a volunteer not paid doing IT systems admin and support for a Christian charity in Israel.   Feel to comment or ask if you would like some help. 🙂

British rock stars tour in Israel, this time its Peter Hook of New Order

Hat tip to IGoogledIsrael blog: Darn it!! Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order/Monaco fame did a gig in Tel Aviv, I am annoyed I didn’t know about this earlier!


I saw Hooky play in ‘Monaco‘ at the Wedgewood Rooms in my home city of Portsmouth in 1996 🙂

Its good thats hes back playing again, the last I heard after playing in different turns in both New Order and Monaco was that hes started a new venture called Freebass, a band with three bass players, I guess this didn’t work out and now he has a different band again.   Respect to him to dodge any political pressures from Israel-haters which are all over the internet.   I think need to scour Amazon for cheap used CDs to fill the gaps in my collection now.

Respect to Ashley (British chap) who runs IGoogledIsrael for his great mostly political-free site to music, entertainment and fun stuff that Israel has to offer.

Would of liked to go this gig.   Oh well.   I am going to see Hebrew/French speaking violinist reggae artist Michael Greilsammer play at the Yellow Sub in Jerusalem on Saturday with my good friend and fellow blogger Teddy Chadwick, I can’t wait 🙂

Silwan, not so ancient part of Jerusalem

At the city of David, the south edge of Jerusalem’s old city has the troubled Palestinian city of Silwan.   I have been here a few times, with great care, just to visit the museum that is there, read more on my previous writings on King David Museum, Hezekiah’s tunnels and Silwan troubles also Palestinian archeologist at Hezekiah’s tunnel

I came across these images from the excellent “Elder of Zion” blog which exposes Palestinian propaganda and their supporting Western friends.

Silwan is nowhere to be seen on this black and white picture which was taken in around 1915, a time where Palestine was owned by the Ottoman Turks and three years later it came under British rule.   So much for what you hear about land being ‘stolen’ in the media so often.   I do feel sorry for Palestinian people who want peace and want no part in any extremism, Silwan is a volatile part of town though.


There is some excellent links to some old archives of photos where you can see parts of Israel in its pre-1948 period from the British Mandate or Turkish periods.

Fix problems with Googlemail, calender, Chrome and Hebrew in Israel

When using Google’s mail and calender services in Israel, sometimes a few slightly odd things happen.

When using Gmail, the login screen changes to Hebrew without warning.   I think this mainly happens when using Chrome.   Quite a few people I know have switched from Firefox to Chrome, I haven’t done so because of this.    Its mainly a problem for travelers to Israel with a  laptop, and the browser finds your IP address is in Israel and pre-empts that you need Hebrew, which of course for people who don’t speak or aren’t very skilled in Hebrew this can be a problem trying to get it back to English!    Also, as an IT system admin in the holyland I use the business version of Gmail (no complex nightmares of Exchange for me!)   this happens when I create new email accounts for new members of staff, even though the Google control panel is configured for English.

Thus here above is a way to fix this if this happens to you.   Of course, the icon layout is reversed, if you find your language changed to Arabic instead or some other language, you can probably ‘guess’ where the options to change the language is based on this:

Also, I have also had a case when using Google maps, I see Israel with no place names at all, but all the surrounding cities (Damascus, Beirut, Amman, etc) labeled in Arabic?   I guess the maps are rendered according to preferred methods of a particular political viewpoint but sometimes it comes out wrong!   Google has a big R&D facility in Tel Aviv and Haifa and I think their headquarters for the Arab market are in Dubai.  Hope Google can fix these problems 🙂

Reformed skinhead spends fortune to erase tattoos of hate

Read this encouraging story today about a man who left a skinhead group, and wanted to rid himself of his facial tattoos, which had a lot of Nazi related symbols at the cost of $35,000.


The article didn’t state exactly why this man decided to come out of this kind of life style, maybe a good impression for his son, but did spot the picture of Jesus in his family’s home and the cross worn by his wife. 🙂

Motorcycle club rides solidarity with Israel

I went over to the Kotel (Western Wall) after meeting up with some friends to practice Hebrew in a coffee shop and before heading to church on Sunday afternoon.

When going down some steps about to enter through a security gate through the south-west corner of the Kotel Plaza, I got a glimpse of this:-

Thats a lot of luxury model motorcycles mostly Harley Davidsons and Honda Goldwings, gleaming with chrome, leather and special paint jobs.

These men were doing a private prayer by the fence in front of the wall.   I couldn’t resist chatting to them, turns out a few of them were Israeli bikers but most were on holiday from the US, some were Jews and most were Christians, but all of them had come to show support for Israel and the Jewish people and were here on a road trip and had their precious bikes shipped over here.

A lot of them had these special printed leather jackets for the event, and patches, tattoos as well as beards in size rivalling the Orthodox Jews there.

This was a welcome change to see folk in their closeknit motorcycle club showing support for Israel as opposed to daft protesters in silly million dollar yachts off the coast of Gaza, who had gone from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and were riding to the Dead Sea the next day which sounds great fun considering the breathtaking views of the desert when you head down there.

This was a great surprise to see at the Kotel, and it also made today’s Jerusalem Post too.  I know the Israeli government have been trying to branch out to niche tourism, ie: health conscious people going the the Dead Sea, so maybe they could market the holy land to more bikers too.    A ride all the way down the Negev desert with a beer waiting on a beach side bar on the Red Sea resort of Eilat sounds good to me!   For the time being I have to make do with my push bike which I ride over about four different sets of hills 6km every day to work!



Things that are different in UK after living in Israel

When I go back to the UK to see family and friends, there is a sense of reverse culture shock, I see quite a few shops and restaurants that have closed, opened or moved around my city, I think about 5 different friends have announced to me that they are having babies in the next year, and people I know that have moved to other towns.

Here is a humorous list of differences in the UK compared to life in Israel:-

  • Supermarkets only sell one type of Humous
  • Supermarkets don’t have Russian beers
  • People have less than 20 types of spices in their kitchen
  • British Arab and Muslim people are more likely to say ‘Alright Mate?’  when chatting to each other in the street rather than ‘Yalla Habibi?’
  • There are almost no 1990s cars in UK any more
  • Cars don’t usually have more than 6 dents in the bodywork
  • When you are out walking on a very hot day you don’t actually lose a whole pint of sweat in an hour
  • Bus drivers let you sit down before driving off 😉
  • Bus drivers don’t count cash/issue tickets/check their phones/change paper roll/talk to the chap sat behind them whilst driving
  • But buses and trains cost 3 times as much
  • Taxi drivers don’t try to rip off foreign people by saying the meter is “broken” or give a “special price”
  • Shops are open friday and often all year round
  • Post office costs 3 times as much
  • British motorists use their windscreen wiper switches more than their horn buttons
  • People only wear Crocs as indoor shoes
  • Light switches and electrical fittings are actually fixed to the walls with screws and don’t fall off
  • If you eat in an restaurant with outdoor seating, you don’t get 10-15 stray cats sitting there watching you for dropped food
  • People don’t get excited when it rains.  The exact opposite.