Bats in Jerusalem

After a day of cycling past workman set up decorations and security arrangements for the US President visit, go to work, read in a coffee shop (normally do this from 5pm to 7pm on certain days)  then go to a bible study, then head to a bar and have a beer with some friends afterwards, I grab my bike and head back past David HaMelech Street, I see a bat fly in the street in big circle, quite different from a bird.

I then saw it disappear into a small tree, thinking to myself there was no way I can ever spot this creature in the branches, I walk my bike underneath it, I quickly grab my camera and shoot directly up above me, as I am right under the tree, thinking it would probably get spooked by the flash.

P1060611b

Can you see him?

There is plenty of old buildings they can roost in as well as a trees.  I have seen them hover around palm trees, not sure if they are attracted to palm dates or insects there.

bat

 

Advertisements

Obama’s first visit to Israel

P1060605

This week, there is a lot of buzz around Jerusalem as US President Barack Obama comes to visit.

The logistics in handling a guest like this seems mind boggling.  The above big poster was torn a short time after this was taken.

P1060606  P1060607

On Monday, I go past the famous King David hotel to go to work on my bicycle.   There are rows of tents with air conditioning set up, as Obama is staying here.

Large chunks of the centre part of town are cut off as Obama and 500 of his staff are here, requiring a mammoth security set up with police and military people all over, closed roads (at one point Highway 1 – the 35 mile motorway that goes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was shut) I don’t think at any given time in modern Israel’s history has anything has to be planned quite like this.

This is what the King David normally looks like:-

On Tuesday, I go to a bible study a few hundred yards from here.

Today I heard on the news that during talks, Obama can call Netanyahu ‘Bibi’  – seems that the US Pres ought to be a bit more savvy with being formal than this.    Wonder if its ok from Binyamin Netanyahu to called Obama ‘Barry’ or ‘Bazza’ or something.  😉  although I pray that the Lord would speak to him and reveal to him to continue to stand alongside this nation.

For me, I’m looking forward to when another great leader comes to town to visit; our Messiah Yeshua, or Jesus is more familiar to the English speaking world, Jerusalem is due for a return from the Messiah of the world one day soon.

King David Museum, Hezekiah’s tunnels and Silwan troubles

At the weekend I went around the outer parts of Jerusalem’s old city walls.   Outside of the dung gate, is the south east corner, you head around the corner to see Absalom’s tomb and the Mount of Olives.

Here there is a junction which contains a volatile mix of neighbours.   On the corner is an archaeological dig, containing artifacts that date from King David’s time.   On the same street this is the entrance to the Arab town of Silwan.   This is a much troubled district, and the name Silwan often comes up when there is news of conflicts in this city.

On the news this week you may have seen a picture of a car with a boy in the air upside down in the air having being hit by a car in Silwan after stoning this particular motorist, it seems the Subaru driver sped up or swerved to avoid being hit by the youths.   Seems strange there happened to be someone with a camera who did such a perfect shot of this moment.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=190682

A few houses from the corner is this Arab shop with political message outside.

About 3 or 4 more houses across is The City of David museum which has a cinema with a 3D film of biblical history of this place and a guided tour of the buildings and a chance to go under Hezekiah’s tunnels.  I went here last year its well worth a visit.   The tunnels are a mile long of walking – in complete darkness; and, upto your knees in water. 🙂   I didn’t get a picture of the exact front part of this as there armed guards in front.   But looking through the windows you can see the nice decorations outside.

Looking behind back to the old city walls and there are about 40-50 soldiers in uniform getting off a bus.  (not visible, but just around the corner)  Glancing back to the museum front, there is a lone security guard, armed, but unusually (that I have never seen someone holding a handgun out of a holster) he has a pistol in his hand.   Again, I glance down the street to see a group of Arab kids gather outside a shop.  There is nervousness on both sides and the police and army are on alert from recent troubles.

Below you can see the green flag which has a logo representing Israel’s national parks and historical places.  Heading down this street as a foreigner to see the museums is safe but because extra security measures in place, but just a short distance down here, not past the museum where this barrier is.   Beyond this there are rowdy children throwing rocks at the fence where the historical digging is, there is rubbish everywhere and some of the cars look vandalised.

But here in the unpredictable middle east, throwing rocks can be a prelude to starting a war where each side retaliates.  This is one of the many contested bits of property here, ironic given the historic sites and archeological digs that showed who lived here long ago.

I can’t emphasise enough “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and I do feel sorry for the Arab people that live here and are given different messages by different authorities, I hope and pray that Arab people will find their way out of darkness of the regime that governs them (Hamas and Hezbollah)  into the loving arms of the Father.

King David harp bridge

This is the King David Harp bridge, which is almost finished.

When I say its almost finished, the bridge carries the lightrail train which is very behind schedule.  The structure of the bridge is all fine, just the rails and the overhead electric system is not operational.  You can see  that the trains curve around this house on the right then up over another busy main road.

I was past here  the other day as I was with a colleague dropping of food packages to some needy local people in apartments around the corner from here, mostly elderly holocaust survivors.

Its a unique and interesting idea.  I am wondering if the wires have to be tightened or adjusted sometimes.   Who remembers the problems with the wire bridge that goes across the Thames in London? 🙂

More interesting information on this modern Jerusalem monument here.

Priestly tombs

Took another visit to some of the tombs in between the outer walls of the old city and the Mount of Olives

This is Zechariah’s tomb

Here is the tomb of Absalom, King David’s rebellious son who got his hair stuck in a tree and was killed.  Both of these you can’t enter the gap underneath.   Apparently a lot of the stone work was unfinished and the back of the tomb the stones and not hewn as neatly as the front.

There are some more interesting caves and places to explore..

…but it appeared to be all closed and locked up when I was there.  Some ancient writing can be seen though if you have sharp eyes to look high up.

King David Citadel light show

Went to an exciting outdoor show last weekend in the Old City.

Inside the David Citadel has a huge collection of illusions done with projectors. Check out this video.

Think of the castle with audio recordings of some people from hundreds of years ago speaking and shadows of the people of the time moving around. Once a group of 15 of us had walked around the edges of building we sat down for the main part of the show, this is an stunning piece of illuminated theatre which shows the walls on three sides of us were covered by moving imagery of Jerusalem’s history.  It was thoroughly enjoyable and unique way to show history in a spectacular way.  Even with the large group of us as were there early we managed to secure really good seats on a balcony.