mystery head of state visits Yad Vashem

Just before this shot, I saw some large limousines and police cars outside with flashing lights, it dawned on me people from the government had come to visit the museum.  There was a moment of hesitation if it would be frowned upon to take pictures, but I got a pic of these men heading towards the entrance.  It seems the man in the middle with the hat who had a the smart very senior looking green uniform with a lot of badges and tassels appears to be a head of state of a visiting nation.

I have been told that if a senior member of a foreign government comes to Israel, there is a policy that they have to come to Yad Yashem at least once, to gain understanding of what many of the grim events the Jewish people have faced before they got a nation of their own again.

These flags were hung out on a street close to the King David hotel.   I have seen other countries hung out here when there is visiting dignitaries coming, another time recently was the flag of Cyprus.

Not sure what nation this is, maybe a small Caribbean island I think?

Caves in park in Yemin Moshe behind King David hotel

Behind King David Hotel is some more archeology.

Just realised this tomb has a circular stone rolled next to it.  Look hard and you can see this tomb has an iron door too, which is locked.

This one is nearby, different to the one shown in the above three pics.  Doesn’t have an obvious entrance.

Not sure who these tombs belonged to, or how old they are.   Suggestions please?

Yom Kippur in and around Jerusalem

This week I had my Christian friend John come to visit, John is an older gent also from Portsmouth UK, but originally from Malta.  He has Jewish roots, and his family came from Armenia.

He is here to see the Feast of Tabernacles which is coming up soon which is hosted by the ICEJ, International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem.

So I got to show him a lot of sites around here, a few days ago it was Yom Kippur, a holiday, in which Jews fast for a day.

We went around the UN headquarters at the end of my street and around the forest overlooking the city, then made our way into town.

There are no cars around the centre of town.   None at all.   I might see a police car once an hour or so.  This is normally a busy street.

This was unusual.   There were a lot of Arab families in the park picking some of the wild olives.   This man and his son was smarter than the others, as a large tarrapaulin was laid out to catch the dropped ones.  Funny as in the year I have been here, I have never seen anyone pick fruit from trees in public places here.

The world famous King David hotel.   Top right. This nice wooden counter just had one Arab chap manning the desk, as everyone is observing Yom Kippur.  As well as the beautiful decor here, there is a Sukkot (tent/shed type structure.  Bottom right. Some of the staff from the kitchen are taking a break chatting on the tables as no-one will be eating until about 6.30pm.

John got chatting to a elderly Canadian couple there, who have lived in Jerusalem for 30 years now.  This chap was talking about a nearby building called ‘Yimcer’   then I realised he meant the YMCA, which is opposite the King David 🙂    He told me off as I was drinking some water from a bottle, I didn’t realise the fast included water from then!   oops.   For me as a foreigner I think its unwise to fast from water, as the extreme heat can make you feel very unwell if you do.   But I did use this day to do some praying and abstain from food from darkness Wednesday till Thursday.  I had a whole chicken in a slow cooker for when we came back home to my flat.   I am a recent convert to slow cookers, just the thing when you want to come home and have dinner more or less ready. 🙂

Leviticus 23 : 27 says more about this event.

The outside of the YMCA.   Although the ‘Y’ is a Christian organisation and originally a Youth Hostel.  Its now a proper hotel and owned by Muslim, but still known as the Jerusalem YMCA.  Sadly I didn’t see anyone do any comedy dancing either.  Not that it would be a appropriate with most people fasting that day. 🙂

Walking along the walls with Dutch Christian couple who mentioned on earlier post ‘never be silent’.

The really interesting thing about John’s Armenian Jewish and Maltese background is the Maltese language is a mixture of mostly Arabic and some Hebrew and Italian, so this meant he could converse with the Arab taxi driver who took us home later. 🙂

The Jews have a generous amount of feasts and holidays in their calenders, next one is Sukkot, a kind of religious campsite outside your house, more soon….

Riding to work – commuting Jerusalem style Part 2

first bit –  second section –  Third and final


Get to these nice modern flats with neat gardens, turn right..

Nice long downhill ride, not much effort here!  turn right at the end of here and go past some shops.

Turn left here by these lights.  You can see the walls of the old city ahead and the towers of a Greek church.

These derelict railway station looks sad.   Not sure why there are no trains any more in central town.  You can see where the windows are there was a fire at some point.  Oddly enough on the right looks like a car covered with a tarpaulin, it actually is some kind of modern art exhibit with a big solid fibre glass cover over it.  Someone’s nicked the plaque on it, so I don’t know who designed it or whether it was a bizarre punishment for someone parking illegally. 🙂

There are nice parks either side of this main road as I ride uphill.  There is also a nice fountain on the right and this place is often a choice for weddings for people to have their pictures down, especially with Arab and Ethiopian people.

Also on the right not visible is the windmill from the old district of Yemen Moshe.

This is the outside of the world famous King David hotel, and on the right, directly opposite side of the right is the YMCA.  Youth hostels are usually thought of as simple affairs for casual travellers on a budget, but this one is huge and is impressive as the hotel it faces.

This is the King David’s rival, no not Goliath, but certainly Goliath in size.  The Citadel seems to be the main choice for foreign heads of state to come and stay, but also I sometimes see poster outside advertising a forthcoming boy’s Bar Mitzvah, a birthday or some other type of big party.

Mamila shopping centre.  Looks super modern from outside but has several buildings inside that have been removed from elsewhere and carefully dismantled with numbers written on the bricks and then reassembled carefully again.

Another hill upwards.  Sheesh, I don’t think anyone in the bible ever got fat.  Going anywhere is up and down hills all the time, this road joins onto Jaffa Street.

first bit –  second section –  Third and final