Sukkot is a holiday that teaches us about the burning hatred of the nations of the world against Israel, and about the burning love of the nations of the world for Israel.
As the holiday of Sukkot comes to an end, we've completed Biblical readings about the apocalyptic international battle of Gog and Magog when Israel becomes the center and the target of the ultimate World War of nations that rabidly work toward our destruction. (Ezekiel 38-39)
Sukkot is also the holiday during which 70 bull offerings were brought up as sacrifices in Bet HaMikdash (The Holy Temple), corresponding to the 70 nations of the world, as per the request of Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon). Shlomo also asked Hashem to answer the prayers of non-Jews that came to the Temple (Isaiah: a house of prayer for all nations) on Sukkot.
To find virulent hatred of the 70 nations for Israel is not difficult - just open any newspaper on any day.
Finding international love of Israel is not as easy, but it was there today in the Jerusalem Parade. Marchers from all over the world strutted down Rechov Yaffo with blessings for Israel and the Jewish people. In their colorful costumes or t-shirts, they walked through town calling out to the crowd, "We love Israel. We love you. Shalom. Chag sameach."
Every country - Angola, Great Britain, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, Panama, Bolivia, you name it - paraded with delegations of varied sizes.
You could see the thrill in their eyes as they walked through the streets of Jerusalem. My family imagined that this was an event for which they waited all year long. They didn't just want to walk, they wanted to interact with the crowd, and they did, coming to shake hands and take pictures with on-lookers.
100 Years of Transportation
The Jerusalem Parade also celebrated 100 years of transportation in the capital with a procession of vehicles from horse drawn carriages through the steel sided buses that Jews rode in from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv during the British Mandate to the first Egged buses through...bam ba bammm....the Light Rail.
Mayor Nir Barkat and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (no relation to my Israel Katz) led the way. Then each of the vehicles passed to the oohs of the crowd, but when the long-awaited train came riding down the tracks of Jaffa Road, onlookers gave a thunderous cheer. My eyes actually began clouding up. Could it be that this ideal mode of transportation for which we had waited for so many years would one day become a reality? The train was sleek and beautiful. To the delight of the crowd, it clanged like a once-upon-a-time trolley as it inched down the street. (More on Voices' ride on the light rail here: http://www.voices-magazine.com/index.php?page=inside_page&id=25)
Blue and White Marchers
In addition to our international guests, seemingly-random Israeli groups marched in the parade: an IDF Nachal unit, Border Police, the IDF canine unit (including the canines), Beinleumi Bank, the pilots and stewardesses of Elal (it's kinda wierd to see your pilots singing and dancing down the avenue, but boy, did they have great rhythm), volunteer fire fighters, Bezek workers, the Regional Council of the Jordan Valley (at left, they did a terrific dance), Unilever, Kav LeChaim, along with many more.
In the I-wonder-why-they-did-that department, one bank had its employees dress up as Kohanim (High Priests of the Temple) - men and women alike.
The marchers were really into it, and that gave on-lookers the ingredients of energy and excitement that you need for a great parade.
As the Jerusalem Parade continued, Israel National Radio host Walter Bingham (pictured here with Voices Publisher Israel Katz) interviewed dozens of marchers, one after the other. We watched with amazement as Walter popped up in so many international groups, his microphone always ready.
Another curiosity was the Rafel Missile manufacturing company. The employees sang down the street as one of its employees carried a company sign, and another carried a "missile." The sign was in fact fascinating. Its name Rafel overlaps a photo of David's Citadel. Its missile logo seems aimed at the Golden Dome on the Temple Mount. (Hm, I couldn't help but wonder if that had been purposeful.)
We watched until the very end of the parade, and then left Rechov Yaffo along with everyone else humming hora music.