Real Clear Israel Press Release: President Rivlin Welcomes President of Ukraine Poroshenko / Christmas Schedule & Preparations for Tourists in Jerusalem

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

Tuesday, 22 December 2015 / 10 Tevet 5776


President Rivlin welcomes President of Ukraine Poroshenko

President Rivlin: Today, Ukraine and Israel enjoy wonderful progress and cooperation – in education, medicine, culture, and in economics, where our trade has grown from strength to strength.

President Poroshenko: “Ukraine stands with the State of Israel”

President Reuven & first Lady Nechama Rivlin this morning (Tuesday), hosted at the President’s Residence an official welcoming ceremony for President Petro & Frist Lady Maryna Poroshenko of Ukraine, who were on a state visit to Israel. The Presidents stood together for the national anthems, inspected an honor guard of the Israel Defense Forces, and delivered brief media statements before going on to hold a working bilateral meeting.

In his remarks, President Rivlin noted, “In the Ukraine, we remember a long history, a history of one thousand years of Jewish life in the cities and towns of the Ukraine; in Kiev, in Odesa, in Lvov – and even in the imagination of the great Shalom Aleichem, in the little town of Anatevka. Life that was almost totally wiped out by the Nazis who wanted to destroy Jewish life, and the Jewish people. We also know however, that from these great, beautiful cities came the seeds of hope who rebuilt Jewish independence.”

The President thanked the Ukrainian President for his country’s decision to return Torah scrolls and other Jewish artifacts which were taken over time, “This is a sign of our good relations and should be just one step, in the strengthening of these ties. Our future depends on us, learning the lessons of the past, and we must condemn together all forms of hatred and racism.”

He concluded, “Today, Ukraine and Israel enjoy wonderful progress and cooperation – in education, medicine, culture, and in economics, where our trade has grown from strength to strength.”

President Poroshenko thanked the President for his warm welcome, and said, “I have arrived as a president of a country, which every single day wins back its independence, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity. Although our stories are different we have many similarities, one of which is about building up a successful state against turbulent regional realities, and under continuous attack from terrorism. That is what we are doing in the Ukraine these days, and that is what you are doing in Israel for many years now.”

He praised the resilience of the Israeli people over the years and said, “I have always admired the faith and determination of the Israeli people, and we can learn a lot from the Israeli people’s bravery and patriotism, and the way in which the Jewish people have built up their country. Titanic efforts have been made to raise the country from the ashes, and save its culture and traditions. Since its independence, your country has faced serious external military threats, in spite of which you have undergone a remarkable transformation. You have propelled Israel to the top in the science, the economy, in military power.  Your country stands united, and my country is on a similar path and the same stand. I see my visit to Israel has an opportunity to endorse unbreakable bonds between our nations, and exchange with you about common challenges and ways to overcome them. Your knowledge and your experience, is very important for us here Mr. President.”

He stressed, “So as I begin this visit, I declare that Ukraine stands with the State of Israel.”

President Poroshenko concluded by extending an invitation to President Rivlin to visit Ukraine early next year.

Attached photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Schedule & Preparations for Tourists in Jerusalem

Communicated by the Jerusalem Development Authority Tourism Department

Jerusalem is getting ready for Christmas, with the local Christian community and tourists from around the world, from all Christian denominations, and many other visitors from all faiths and backgrounds are making plans to enjoy the festive period. Jerusalem has become an increasing attraction at Christmas for faith travelers and culture tourists wanting to see first hand the birth place of the Bible, during the height of the festive season.


The city of Jerusalem, holy to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, has a special ability to welcome those of all different faiths, and provide an inspirational experience for each and every traveler.


On Christmas Eve, thousands of Christians living in Jerusalem and many guests who come to Jerusalem for the holiday arrive at the various churches, to celebrate the most important holiday in the Christian calendar. Below are the some details of the various Christmas Mass prayers and ceremonies that are scheduled to be held on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day in Jerusalem, further details of which are available in a guide, produced by the Jerusalem Development Authority for visitors to the city.


Church of the Holy Sepulchre – perhaps the most important church in the Christian world. The Church marks the place where the last events in Jesus’ life took place, revered by many Christians as the place where Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected.

Located in the heart of the Christian Quarter on Saint Helena St., tourists can take buses No. 1 \ 20 \ 60 from the central bus station to Yitzhak Kariv St. and from there continuing on foot to the Jaffa Gate, through David St., taking the first left onto Hanotsrim St. and then a right on the second street onto Saint Helena St..


Church of Our Lady of the Spasm – is in the Armenian Catholic Church, 4th station along the Via Dolorosa, is dedicated to the moment Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, saw her son in agony on his way to the crucifixion. The church was built in 1881 on the remains of a church from 4-5 century AD. The Church can be found on Ha-Gai Strreet and the corner of the Via Dolorosa. Mass begins at 10:00 on Christmas Day, but Mass is not held here on Christmas Eve.


Visitors can arrive either through the Damascus Gate, Bus No. 1 \ 1A from the Central Bus Station or by foot through Jaffa Gate to the market – walk along David St. to the end, turn right onto Ha-Shalshelet St., at the end take a left onto Ha-Gai St. and walk till the corner of the Via Dolorosa.


Lutheran Church of the Redeemer – named after Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism in the 16th century the church was built in 1897 on the ruins of the Church of Santa Maria and was inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The church can be found on Muristan St. Market, in the Christian Quarter and Mass begins at: 23:00 on Christmas Eve. Tel: 02-6276111


Dormition Abbey – The Church Mount Zion is dedicated to the tradition that on this spot Mary, Jesus’ mother fell into an eternal sleep. The Church belongs to the Benedictine Order is built on the remains of the Byzantine basilica Hagia Sion. Mount Zion is also the place where the Last Supper took place and is the location of the tomb of King David. A choral Mass begins at 20:00 on Christmas Eve, while an impressive Christmas pageant starts at midnight. Tourists can arrive there using bus No. 78 to Mount Zion. Tel: 02-5655330


Church of Saint Salvador – The Church and Monastery were built in 1885 by the Catholic Franciscan Order of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Franciscan Monks’ role is to be “guardians of the Holy Land” – Custodia Terrae Sanctae. Mass begins at: 19:00 on Christmas Eve, and 08:30 on Christmas morning. Arrival is through the New Gate entrance – via the light rail (Safra Square Station), crossing the IDF Square junction and turning left onto the New Gate. Take the first left onto Saint Francis St. Tel: 02-6266777


Convent of Notre Dame de Jerusalem – Our Lady of Jerusalem is the French Catholic compound in Jerusalem. Built in 1889 and sponsored by the Comte Marie Paul Amedee de Piellat , the complex includes the Notre Dame hostel and the Catholic administrative center. This is one of the most impressive compounds in Jerusalem from the 19th century, and was built in the Baroque style. There are two tall towers standing, and between them a statue of Mary, the Madonna, and an infant Christ in her arms.

The address of the church is 3 Paratroopers Road (Ha-Tsanhanim St) and Mass begins at: 22:00. It is recommended to arrive half an hour before the start of Mass. Tel: 02-6279111


Church of St. John the Baptist (St. John Ba-Harim) – St. John’s Ein Kerem,  is a Catholic Church is dedicated to John the Baptist, who, according to tradition was born there. The church was first built by Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD. The Church was destroyed in 614 and was re-built by the Crusaders. During the 19th century the Church underwent renovation and was cared for by the Spanish monarchy. The address is Mevo Ha’Sha’ar, Ein Karem, and Mass begins at: 00.00 on Christmas Eve. Visitors can take the Light Rail to Mount Herzl station (last stop) then continue by bus No. 28 / 28 A. It is recommended to arrive half an hour before Mass begins. Tel: 02-6413639

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