Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Haley Effect and enjoying Jerusalem

As I began to practice self-control in the most minor aspects of my life, I realized that self-discipline is truly the basis of self-respect. And self-respect is what we need to heal from past traumas and face all the difficulties in our lives today.

Love Yehuda Lave

The "Haley Effect"

  Zvi Herman    
 Monday, 25 June 11:46 AM

In many Jewish households on Friday nights, parents bless their daughters in the names of our matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. We do so to hold our highest role models to our girls. Lately though, I've had the creeping inclination to consider another name to this list of women in whose footsteps I hope my daughter will follow: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Haley represents our country with bold, honorable and principled leadership. In no forum are these traits more lacking than the United Nations. In no place are they more sorely required. And on no issue does this present itself more clearly than her proud and consistent stand in defense of Israel.

Just this week, Haley  announced that the U.S. delegation would withdraw from the UN Human Right Council – in large part because of its history of unfairly targeting and condemning Israel while turning a blind eye toward human-rights violators like Syria, Iran and North Korea.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the 10th emergency special session of the General Assembly on: "Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory." Credit: U.N. Photo/Evan Schneider.

Earlier this year, when mothers and fathers in southern Israel were forced to wake their children and run to bomb shelters as rockets rained down from Gaza, Haley reassured these parents that their fears will be heard.  Not only did she condemn these attacks, but she also called for a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on Gaza-based terror.

This may seem like a logical response to such violence, but it was the first time that the United States had called for such a meeting to address the issue, despite the fact that more than 10,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza during the last 17 years.

Unsurprisingly, the emergency meeting to examine the true injustice—Palestinian terrorism—hasn't been scheduled. But the move flipped U.N. standard operating procedure to condemn Israel in an emergency meeting for defending itself against terror—be it rockets, riots or stabbings. It's not the first time either that Haley has grabbed headlines for her leadership.

Recently, she  vetoed a resolution sponsored by Kuwait that made no mention of Hamas, yet condemned Israel for the "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate" use of force "against Palestinian civilians," and then she forced the Security Council to consider a measure condemning Hamas as a terrorist organization. And just this week, she gathered enough votes to pass an amendment to a Palestinian-backed resolution that would have condemned Hamas. When her amendment was sidelined by a procedural maneuver, she called the effort to obstruct the vote "shameful."

She has stopped the United Nations from  appointing a Palestinian diplomat to a U.N. mission in Libya.

She has stopped the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein from  publishing a blacklist of companies that do business with Israel in the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

And she has  stopped a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would have called for the reversal of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital.

These moves have made her the most popular politician in America. A recent Quinnipiac University  poll found that 63 percent of American voters approve of Haley's decision-making skills. Her approval spans party lines: 75 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats say they approve of how she's handling her job.

I've seen the widespread admiration for her leadership play out in public. She has been lauded in the press, feted at pro-Israel conferences and will be the keynote speaker at the annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington Summit on July 23.

When she speaks, the pro-Israel community listens.

Last month, I was privileged to attend the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, where I experienced this "Haley effect" myself. The mere mention of her name elicited spontaneous and prolonged applause from the crowd in attendance. She has the respect of her fellow diplomats, the admiration of Americans of all political stripes and the appreciation of the Israelis.

How could I not consider her to be a role model for my own daughters?

No, Nikki Haley is not a Jewish matriarch, but she is a heroine for Israel nonetheless, who is well on her way to being the world's next great diplomat.

Shari Dollinger is the co-executive director of Christians United for Israel.

  701 Yoga Mats Paint A "Dream" Picture Of Jerusalem

  Zvi Herman    
 Monday, 25 June 11:50 AM

 Hundreds of yogis practicing their lotus pose, sun salutation, and meditation gathered in Jerusalem's Valley of Ben-Hinnom on Thursday to celebrate International Yoga Day.

Participants engaged in collective yoga, sound healing, and meditation in Hebrew and Arabic, as part of an event organized by the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Schusterman Foundation.

701 colorful yoga mats were laid out on the grass against the backdrop of the Old City walls, forming one big art piece called "The Big Dream – Jerusalem 2048". The mats were quite literally "dreamed up" by Jerusalem residents who were asked to imagine the view outside their window in 30 years.

Together with local artist Amit Trainin, The Big Dream created yoga mats printed with artwork that envisions Jerusalem in 30 years from now. Photo via Facebook

Sharonna Karni Cohen, founder of Tel Aviv startup, took these "dreams" to local artist Amit Trainin, a professor at Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, to transform the inspiration from hundreds of individual answers to a united piece of artwork that envisions the future of Jerusalem.

The giant artwork was then graphically sliced into hundreds of pieces, which were numbered and printed on yoga mats.

"The Big Dream is about turning our ideas into a powerful visual reminder of what we want to achieve on a personal and collective level. Through yoga, we find the balance between dreams and reality," said Karni Cohen, who founded Dreame in 2014 to help people commission original artwork from  their dreams.

The yoga mats were flown in by Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airline that opened a direct flight to Israel last year.

"This unique artistic project at Ben-Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem shows, with great talent, our residents' dreams for the future of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. It is not by accident that it is said of Jerusalem that it is a city that unites – my personal dream for Jerusalem is that we will continue to see connections between people, communities, cultures and dreams," said Ariela Rejwan, Deputy Director General and Director of the Society Culture and Sports Culture at the Jerusalem Municipality.

In an effort to further develop the Valley of Ben-Hinnom Park, the Jerusalem Development Authority said they are advancing cultural and recreational activities. As a result, Friday yoga practice has become a Jerusalem weekend tradition for residents of the city.

Last year, The Big Dream project took over Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where a giant art installation pieced together from 1,500 yoga mats showcased three artists' visions of Israel's future.

Sponsored by the municipality and the Indian Embassy in Israel, the event included a variety of yoga classes for the public led by renowned teachers from India an

Hiking in and around Jerusalem - Mishkenot Shaananim, Mahaneh Yisrael and Nahalat Shiva

Zev Stub    
Sunday, 17 June 2:53 PM

From the website (with permission), a website for outdoor activities - hikes (tiyulim), walks, family cycling and outdoor swimming - in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Mountains, Judean Desert, north and south of Jerusalem, and Shefela (up to 75 minutes drive from Jerusalem, with directions for public transport), with interesting articles on the history, geography, geology and botany of Israel. 

This non-circular walk visits the first three Jewish residential areas built outside the Old City walls - starting at Mishkenot Sha'ananim, passing through Mahaneh Yisrael, and ending at Nahalat Shivah close to the center of town. It can also be shortened to a circular walk through Mishkenot Sha'ananim and the adjacent neighborhood of Yemin Moshe. Yemin Moshe is an extremely beautiful area with picturesque streets and pretty gardens and there are impressive views of the Old City walls. 

Time: About 2½ hours 

Distance: 5½ km

Difficulty: This is a very easy walk, but is not stroller or wheelchair friendly because of the many steps. 

Starting point: The walk starts at the intersection of Keren Hayesod St., King David St. and Jabotinsky St.. There are WC's close by in Bloomfield Garden near the water fountain.

Directions: Enter into Waze "Mishkenot Sha'ananim' or 'משכנות שאננים"

Parking: There is metered street parking by the windmill. 

Public transport: Public transport is advised, since this is not a circular walk. Enter into Moovit "Yemin Moshe".




The windmill stands out on the Jerusalem landscape as a fitting testimony to the many projects carried out in Palestine by this special person, Sir Moses Montefiore. In actuality, this particular project was well intentioned but not very successful. There was insufficient wind, replacement parts were expensive and had to be imported from Europe, and after a few decades it was rendered obsolete by newer diesel technology brought to Jerusalem by a miller in the nearby German Colony.

Nevertheless, his other projects were innovative and monumental. All of them answered the needs of the time, although sometimes it took potential beneficiaries a while to realize that this was the case.

Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) made his initial fortune as a stockbroker in London, and he decided to retire at age 40 to devote his life to philanthropy and charitable deeds. As a philanthropist, he not only gave away his own money, but was entrusted by others for their charitable contributions, and this made him even more effective. 

His effectiveness for Jewish causes was much aided by a number of factors. He had developed a reputation for philanthropy from being active in prominent non-Jewish causes. He had connections with the English aristocracy, including Victoria, the Queen of England, who lived close to him in Ramsgate and who believed in the central role of the Jewish people. He was also a brother-in-law and business partner of Lord Nathan Rothschild of the famous Rothschild banking family. Like Montefiore, he also had a very hands-on approach to his Palestine projects, and undoubtedly they compared notes. Montefiore visited Palestine seven times between 1827 and 1875. He was very affected by his first visit in 1827 and he determined to lead a strictly religious life from then on.

He took upon himself the function of ambassador at large for the Jewish people in countries in which Jews were experiencing difficulties, and he was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1846 for his services to humanitarian causes for the Jewish people. He was President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews for 39 years - the longest time a single person had held this position. He was elected Sheriff of London in 1837.

He took upon himself the function of ambassador at large for the Jewish people in countries in which Jews were experiencing difficulties, and he was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1846 for his services to humanitarian causes for the Jewish people. He was President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews for 39 years - the longest time a single person had held this position. He was elected Sheriff of London in 1837.

Montefiore had a considerable influence on the early expansion of Jerusalem, and his name is connected to a number of  neighborhoods in the city. The Ottoman Empire ruled Palestine for about 400 years, until the First World War. The Turks had no interest in Jerusalem and it remained a backwater of their empire. The Jews in Jerusalem lived only in the Old City, as its city walls provided them protection. However, their living conditions were extremely difficult. There was severe overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and a water supply from cisterns that were often polluted and responsible for disease. It was clear to visionaries such as Moses Montefiore that the Jews had to develop residential areas outside the Old City. However, living outside the city walls was dangerous. Non-Muslims were also not permitted to purchase land.

The Crimean War changed this situation. The Turks won this war with the assitance of the European powers, and one of the conditions of the final settlement was that non-Muslims would now be allowed to purchase land in Palestine. This enabled Moses Montefiore to buy a large plot of land just outside the city walls, albeit at a very inflated price, and Mishkenot Sha'ananim was built on this land. This land purchase would also be used later for building Yemin Moshe. (This change in Ottoman policy also permitted the purchase at about the same time of land for the Russian Compound by the Russians and the German Colony by the German Templers). 

The settlement of Mishkenot Sha'ananim, which means " peaceful habitation" , was Montefiore's first effort to persuade Jews to live outside the Old City. When it was completed in 1860 there were no takers, despite his apartments being rent-free. He upped the offer by offering a stipend. A few people signed on, but they returned to the Old City at night to sleep, as they were too scared to permanantly move outside the city walls. However, However, there was a cholera epidemic in the Old Cityin 1865, in which about a third of the population died, provided the impetus for people to look seriously at his new apartments. In response, Montefiore built a second building to provide additional housing.

The success of this project provided the impetus for the development of other residential areas in Jerusalem. Thus, Mishkenot Sha'ananim can be considered the first stage in the development of modern West Jerusalem.   


The walk:

  • From the intersection of Keren Hayesod St., King David St. and Jabotinsky St. head down Bloomfield Avenue and cross Heinrich Heine St towards the windmill plaza to view the windmill and exhibit.

This windmill was built by Moses Montefiore to provide an occupation for the people living in his new settlement and to provide cheaper flour for the people of Jerusalem. However, it was not one of his greatest successes. Eventually, after 19 years of use, it broke down and was not repaired, since a diesel-powered flourmill was now in operation in the German Colony.

The mill in front of you is not entirely original, as it was damaged during the War of Independence. Renovations based on photographs of the original were completed in 2012. The windmill is often closed, but when open, you can examine the workings of the mill and view the museum exhibit of the life and public works of Sir Moses Montefiore.

A reconstruction of  Montefiore's carriage is also on display next to the mill. This is how he travelled around the world helping the Jewish people. The carriage added to his aura and effectiveness. His original carriage was severely damaged in a fire here, and this one was reconstructed in 1990. Note the word Jerusalem on his coat of arms.

The building immediately below the observation area, is one of the two buildings of Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

  • Exit the area of the windmill, and turn left down the hill along Hatsayar Ya'akov Shteinardt St. in the direction of the Lion Fountain. There are a number of observation plazas in this area, but the best viewing is from a small observation plaza on the left with a wooden platform and benches, a telescope, a plaque clearly identifying points of interest, and a recording in Hebrew, English and Arabic describing the area of Yemin Moshe and the Old City. 

With the help of the sign, identify below the Valley of Ben Hinnom, a favored site for child sacrifice to Molech during First Temple times. Beyond your view, it joins with the Kidron Valley and partially surrounds the City of David. On your left is the south-west corner of the Old City wall. Ahead of you is Mount Zion and the prominent Dormition Abbey. Below in the distance is the village of Silwan, predominantly Arab, but also with some Jewish residents. Beyond this is the separation barrier that divides land under the jurisdiction of the Palestine Authority from that under Israeli control. On the right is the village of Abu Tor, a mixed Jewish and Arab neighborhood. You can also see the roof of the Begin Center, and behind this St. Andrew's Scottish Church built by the British during the Mandate period. 

  • Where the road curves to the right to the Adenauer Conference Center, go straight ahead on the footpath. Just before the Lion's Fountain, take the first path on the left. This leads through a pleasant park to another observation area providing a view of Mishkenot Sha'ananim on the left and the Begin Center on the right. Continue down the steps to Nahon St.  
  • At the beginning of the Bnai Brith Bridge that crosses Hebron St. is a Peace Monument made by Yigal Tamarkin. The verse in Hebrew and Arabic on the statue is the well-known verse from Isaiah 2:4 that speaks of turning swords into ploughshares, which is why the lower part of the monument is made from metal from military vehicles and farming equipment. 

The monument was commissioned by Abie Natan (1961-2008), the well known humanitarian and peace activist. He advocated for peace with Egypt, and after the Six Day War for peace with the Palestinians. He is famous for his Voice of Peace radio station which once broadcast from a ship outside Israeli territorial waters. The monument was erected at the edge of no-mans land, opposite the Jordanian border, just a few months before the Six Day War.

  • Follow Nahon St. to the left and in a few minutes you will come to an archway on the left with wooden doors, which is a front entrance to Mishkenot Sha'ananim. Go through the archway and walk up the steps ahead and you will get a good view of the building by peering over the metal gate. 

The land for Mishkenot Sha'ananim was purchased by Sir Moses Montefiore and the project made possible with money from the estate of Juda Touro, an American Jewish businessman from New Orleans. Montefiore was the executor for his will in which $50,000 was earmarked to fund Jewish settlement in Palestine. The first building was built in 1860. The metal work is from Ramsgate in the United Kingdom, which is where Montefiore lived, and shows his hands-on involvement in the project.

Each apartment had 2 rooms and an outhouse, and was (and still is) numbered with Hebrew lettering. At the top of the building is a plaque in Hebrew in the shape of a Magen David commemorating its two benefactors – Juda Touro and Moses Montefiore. 

Security, actual and perceived, was of paramount importance for this new project. Note how the roof has parapets, which were meant to resemble those of the Old City and to convey the feeling that these buildings were as safe as the Old City. Its name, which translates as " peaceful habitation", also conveyed a message of security. On a more practical level, the communty was surrounded by walls with secured gates, one of which you are now standing by. 

After the Six Day War, when this entire neighborhood was renovated, these buildings were turned by the city into a cultural center and guesthouse for writers, intellectuals and musicians.  

  • Continue along Nahon St. past the restaurant to the end of the street, and then turn left onto Yemin Moshe St. From this point, you will be doing some zig zagging to view Yemin Moshe and its two synagogues.

Yemin Moshe was established in 1892-1894 by the Montefiore Welfare Fund. The land around Mishkenot Sha'ananim had been previously bought by Moses Montefiore from the Judo Touro estate and the project dear to Montefiore's heart of settling Jews outside the Old City wascontinued after his death.

Following the War of Independence, this area was on the armistice line with Jordan and became a dangerous place to live because of Jordanian sniper fire. It was populated by new immigrants and the area deteriorated. After the Six Day War and the reunification of the city, Yemin Moshe was redesigned as an upscale neighborhood and the immigrants living here were relocated. Compensation was provided for alternative accommodation, but one cannot but feel sympathy for these people. Over the years they had created a community here in very difficult conditions. 

Nowadays, this is a beautiful neighborhood with picturesque buildings, attractive gardens and quiet. Much of this quiet is due to the fact that a large proportion of the owners of the buildings here live outside the country for much of the time. 

  • Go up the steps and take the first right onto Ha-Mevasser St. At the end of this road, turn left onto Ha-Migdal St, and then take an immediate right onto Pele Yoez St. On the right, you will see Beit Yisrael Synagogue, the original Ashkenazi synagogue of Yemin Moshe. This synagogue was dedicated in 1899 and was one of the first synagogues to be built outside the Old City. The building was renovated in 1967 after the Six Day War and now houses an active "Anglo" congregation.    
  • There is a small pretty garden ahead. Before this, turn left onto Ha-Metsuda St. There is a white plaque on the four-storey building on the left that memorializes Avraham Michal Kurschenbaum who, just before the start of the War of Independence, used a Bren gun to prevent an Arab horde from attacking Yemin Moshe. He was shot by a British marksman from the King David Hotel, as the British had ruled it illegal during their Mandate for Jews to have weapons.
  • After viewing the plaque, turn around, retrace your steps down a flight of steps, and take the first turning on your right, which is Ha-Tiqwa St. This road has two paths, an upper and lower one. Take the upper path as it is more picturesque. After crossing Ha-Migdal St. this road leads directly into Malki St. 

Just before the end of this road, you will see an inconspicuous building on your left, which is the original Sephardi synagogue, the Beit Knesset Hasephardi Hagadol. Between the War of Independence and The Six Day War this was a thriving synagogue, but when the area was gentrified, the Sephardim, who until this time had been living rent-free, had to leave. The synagogue still has Shabbat services and I am told there are original inhabitants who come back here from other parts of the city to attend services. 

  • At the end of Malki St, turn right onto Yemin Moshe St. and go up the steps. Take the first right onto Tura St. (the street is not signed at this point). Continue on this street until you come to its end at Metsuda St.   
  • At the end of Tura St., go down and then up the stairs on the left to a Jerusalem treasure - to a quiet and beautiful garden, the Boustan Abraham Gozlan. Climb up the path to the top of the garden and then turn right. Continue on this path until you overlook the fountain. With the peaceful sound of running water in the background, relax a bit,  and then explore the garden (see the photo below).

At this point, for a shorter circular walk, retrace your steps along the top of the garden and return to the windmill plaza via Heinrich Heine St. and the beginning of this walk. Alternatively, continue as below for a longer walk that will take you into the center of town.

  • Opposite the fountain, turn left and exit the park onto King David St. between building number 27 and the King David Hotel. Before reaching these buildings, notice on your left some rocky ruins in a depression. This is a Second Temple-era burial cave, sometimes identified as King Herod's family's tomb. 
  • At the end of Elimelech Admoni St., turn right onto King David St. and continue past the King David Hotel on your right and the YMCA building on your left.
  • Cross over King David St. at the second pedestrian crossing just before Paul Emile Botta St. Cross Abraham Lincoln St. and then Moshe Hess St. and you will soon see an alleyway between the two buildings of the King David Residence. Take the steps down to the former Mahane Yisrael quarter.

Mahane Yisrael is the second neighborhood built by Jews outside the Old City walls, in 1868. It was formed by Moroccan Jews from North Africa who felt they were not getting a fair share of Sephardi communal funds, and under the leadership of their dynamic leader, Rabbi David ben Shimon, decided to go it alone and build their own neighborhood. The experience of Mishkenot Sha'ananim made people realize that this type of project could be accomplished, and that living outside the city walls was not excessively dangerous. This is therefore the first neighborhood outside the city walls built by the inhabitants themselves. 

The neighborhood was small and the houses were not well built, but it was constructed with considerable enthusiasmAt the back of the central courtyard on Hama'ravim St. and Zamenohoff St., where there are still a few original buildings.

This must be one of the most beautiful courtyards in Jerusalem. It forms the garden patio for the building housing the Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center. This building belonged to Rabbi David ben Shimon, but was deserted after the War of Independence when this area became a no-man's-land. After the Six Day War, the building was renovated as a cultural center and museum. Moroccan artisans were brought in specially to produce the mosaics.

  • Exit the courtyard by the 3rd alleyway on your left, opposite the second water fountain. Turn right when this section of alley comes to an end, and continue to Agron St.
  • Turn left on Agron St., cross over the road at the pedestrian crossing, and take the immediate first turning on your right between Independence Park and a cemetery from the Mamluke period. The Mamilla Pool (now empty of water) which is in the cemetery was part of the water system built by Herod during Second Temple times to provide the city of Jerusalem with water. Continue on this road until its intersection with Hillel St.
  • Cross Hillel St. and go a short distance along Yoel Moshe Salomon St. until you come to the intersection of this street with Yosef Rivlin St. On the wall of the wine shop there there is a small plaque with information about Nahalat Shiva, the 3rd settlement built by Jews outside the city walls. Now walk a short distance along Yosef Rivlin St. and follow this road to the left at Havilio Square. At the building marked #14, turn left into the Nahalat Shiv'ah quarter.  

In the 1860's, seven brave families pooled resources to form the Builders of Jerusalem Society, bought land and built the third Jewish neighborhood outside the city walls. Most were descendants of disciples of the Vilna Gaon, and they believed that building up Jerusalem was part of the Divine plan for Redemption. The neighborhood has an Ashkenazi and Sephardi synagogue. Recently, the entire area was slated for demolition by the Jerusalem Municipality as the area had become very dilapidated; but there was considerable resistance to this among Jerusalemites. As you can see, the will of the people prevailed! It's now a delightful place to wander through.

  • Follow the alley to the right, and walk through the center path this neighborhood until you come to the two synagogues of this quarter - Nahalat Ya'akov, the Ashkenazi synagogue, on your left, and Ohel Yitzhak, once the Sephardi synagogue but now a Chabad Center, on your right. Past the synagogues, turn left into the alleyway towards Yoel Moshe Salomon St. You will pass a popular kosher café/restaurant/second-book store on your right called Tmol Shilshom which has outside WC's.  
  • Turn right on Yoel Moshe Salomon St., and this will lead you to Jaffa Rd. at its intersection with Ben Yehuda St. This is the end of the walk. The closest stop on the light rail is a few minutes away on your left.


Nearby places of interest:

The Begin Museum at 6 S.U. Nahon St.: This museum near Yemin Moshe is well worth a visit. Menachem Begin emanates Jewish pride and the story of his life and political activities is quite inspiring. The museum is in the form of an experiential multi-media exhibit that takes you on a time journey. It is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.00 AM-4.30 PM, Tuesday 9.00 AM-9.00 PM, and Friday and holidays 9.00 AM-12.30 PM. Tours have to be booked in advance.  You can fill in this form online or call 02 565 2011. The museum commentary can be heard in Hebrew, Engish, Russian, Arabic, French or Spanish.  

There are also three museums close to Nahalat Shiv'ah you may wish to visit:

Friends of Zion Museum at 20 Yosef Rivlin Street, Nahalat Shiv'a. This museum presents a 3-D virtual tour of the non-Jewish political figures, academics, businessmen and military officials who through their faith forged a bond between Jews and Christians. The museum isopen Sunday to Thursday 9.30 AM-6.00 PM, Friday 9.30 AM-2.00 PM, and Saturday 10.00 AM-6.00 PM. You can book a tour in Hebrew or English at 02 532 9400 or look at their website to see how booked-up the tours are and just show up. There is an admission fee.

The Museum of Jewish Music at 10 Yoel Moshe Salomon St. is a unique museum that shows the influence of the diaspora on Jewish music. There are several rooms with displays of different instruments from different parts of the world and many of the instruments can be heard. You can go on an organised tour or do a self-guided tour with a computer pad and earphones. Tours and pad explanations are available in English. There is staff to help you if you have any technical difficulties. A highlight of the museum is a reality display of the ancient Temple. It is impressive, although only tangentially related to the theme of the museum. The museum is open Sunday to Thursday 9.00 AM-5.00 PM and Friday 9.00 AM-1.00 PM. There is an admission charge. Their phone number to book a tour is 02 540 6505 or contact

The Museum of Italian Jewish Art is at 25 Hillel St.  This museum displays impressive Italian Judaica from the Rennaisance to the present. One exhibit is an entire synagogue that was brought over from the Italian city of Veneto. This beautiful synagogue had ceased to function since the First World War. The museum is open Sunday, Tues and Wed 10.30 AM-4.30 PM, closed Monday, Thursday 12.00 AM-7.00 PM, and Friday 10.00 AM-1.00 PM. The museum is closed Shabbat. The synagogue is used by Italian Jews for services on Shabbat. There is an entrance fee.


The colorful streets of Yemin Moshe are a delight to wander through.



Listen to the running water and relax in this beautiful and little-known park, the Boustan Abraham Gozlan. It be reached from Metsuda St. as in this walk, from Heinrich Heine St. and from King David St.


The courtyard in front of the Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Cente courtyard in the old Mahane Yisrael quarter must be one of the most beautiful courtyards in Jerusalem. 



| "Glamping" under the Israeli stars

Zvi Herman    
Wednesday, 20 June 3:01 PM

by ISRAEL21c

 How would you like to be flown by helicopter to Israel's largest natural crater for a gourmet chef-prepared dinner around a bonfire, serenaded by professional musicians, then partake in a little star-gazing before retiring to a luxurious tent with a relaxing desert yoga session and delectable breakfast the next morning?

Or maybe a stay in a boutique Golan vineyard with 30 of your closest family and friends, and learning to cook a foraged meal or riding ATVs is more your speed?

Glamping under the stars in Israel. Photo by Daniel Bear

These are some of the custom experiences offered by Itay Kadish Katz's company, a luxury camping company he established in 2012 while staying in an upscale hospitality tent in a picturesque Israeli valley.

"I awoke early in the morning and purchased [the domain name]  Glamping right then and there," says Kadish Katz, who also owns  EasyCamp and  Happy Glamper, which focus on varying levels of luxury and comfort from simplistic to posh.

"Around the world it is already clear that the next big thing in Airbnb-style tourism is experience-based tourism and this is exactly what glamping is," he explains.

Photo courtesy of Glamping Israel

Aside from putting the idea of experience-based travel into action, glamping allows for the following: connection with the Israeli land on an up-close-and-personal level without having to "rough it," and bringing tourism out of the cities and into the expansive wilderness that makes up a large portion of the Jewish state.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism, known for its alluring ads featuring attractive Israelis sunbathing on beaches, is now also encouraging tourists to head southward to the desert for vacation time.

"The Pop-Up Oasis project, which we just completed with the cooperation of the Ministry of Tourism in April, generated a definite buzz in the area," Kadish Katz says of the Negev:  Pure Desert Magic campaign and social-media contest designed to draw European visitors to the Negev.

Charline Wolff, a 24-year-old biology student from Germany, was one of several winners of the customized five-night glamping experience, which included jeep rides, guided hiking, Segway tours and a star-gazing experience in Timna Park near Eilat, as well as touring in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

A personal butler even made Wolff a vegan meal to fit her dietary preferences.

"My mother tagged me on the Facebook competition post because she thought I would like it as I love being in nature so much. Before taking part in the competition, I had only really heard about snorkeling and diving in Eilat and the vegan foods and fun lifestyle in Tel Aviv. I hadn't even realized there was a desert in Israel," said Wolff.

Pop-Up Oasis contest winner-Charline Wolff, right, and friend. Photo by Yonatan Keren

Eco lodges, khan tents, yurts

Eco lodges, khan tents, yurts

Unless you win a contest, a glamping trip in Israel will cost you at least ₪2,000 ($560) per night per couple, says Kadish Katz, "but certainly the sky is the limit."

Upscale is just one facet of the burgeoning field of glamorous camping. The options range from eco lodges, Bedouin-style khan tents and yurts to just about anything else you can dream up that will offer comfortable accommodation close to nature, or more elaborate activity and sensory-based experiences than you'd get from traditional camping. What they all have in common is style, sensible comfort, and amenities.

Inside an eco-lodge at Desert Days in Tzukim. Photo: courtesy

Eco lodges like  Desert Days in Tzukim in the western Negev and on  Kibbutz Lotan in the Arava Valley of the eastern Negev take the concept beyond comfort and feeling at one with nature. On Lotan, you have the option to learn about eco-sustainability through building, organic gardening and even composting courses.

Each guest house in Lotan's eco-village is built from sustainable eco-materials and has a composting toilet. The area, known for its agriculture and bird-watching, offers serene scenic mountain views just a half hour north of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.

Other options such as the  Yurt in Amirim, outside Safed (Tzfat) in the Galilee, embody a modern inn-like setup, albeit still technically under the stars, and can be booked through online sites such as Airbnb and

Traditionalists can choose their level of glampdom at sites like  Shayarot, a Bedouin-style campsite with options ranging from traditional tents to air-conditioned cabins equipped with a kitchenette, to a piece of earth between palm trees. Whatever level you choose, you'll have access to a hot shower, flush toilet and cool drinking-water fountains.

"Israelis love the outdoors — camping and hiking — but they also love to feel special. In glamping they can have both," comments Dror Guriyon of  Silent Arrow, a luxury campsite in Mitzpeh Ramon that attracts backpackers from around the world. There guests can prearrange tai chi sessions, survival workshops and even a lesson in desert archery.

Glamping accommodations at Silent Arrow, Mitzpeh Ramon. Photo: courtesy

Rinat Bashan from Desert Days adds, "[Glamping] offers the possibility to feel close to nature, close to the earth, in a desert landscape, and on the other hand indulge in a comfortable bed, a hot shower, a fully equipped kitchen, hammock and firewood. We maintain simplicity and work with natural and local materials, thereby enabling nature to be present and penetrate the heart."

Bashan's eco-friendly earth cabins and Bedouin-style accommodations are made of sustainable materials like mud, straw and stone.

As the glamping movement picks up steam in Israel, you really can have your cake and eat it too — in comfort and style.

Israel glamping photo

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