Peres Succa 311.
(photo credit: Mark Nieman)
Dignitaries and entertainers are often warned to beware of children and puppies,
who tend – albeit unwittingly – to steal the limelight.
Peres, who hosted a bunch of tiny tots from Kibbutz Ramat Rachel who had come on
Tuesday to help him decorate the presidential succa, had no such
For one thing, he has a marvelous rapport with children, and they
complement him rather than overshadow him.
For another, the phalanx of
photographers – who took up every centimeter of space at the entrance to the
succa – were much more interested in the three-ton rocket that was being lowered
into the grounds from a giant crane and swinging precariously in the
“Isn’t the guy operating the crane getting any instructions?” one of
the photographers asked in alarm. It was fortunate that the rocket wasn’t loaded
When it is loaded, said a representative of Israel
Aerospace Industries, it weighs in excess of 22 tons.
It’s not every day
that one sees a rocket in one of Jerusalem’s upscale residential neighborhoods.
There was one last year as well, but for some reason, greater emphasis is being
put on its presence this year – perhaps as a warning to Iranian President
The rocket, which will be mounted on a simulated
launcher, will be one of the many scientific attractions to be featured at the
president’s open-house succa on Monday morning, October 17.
emphasis on exhibits will be science and the environment Yoram Raviv, the deputy
director general at the President’s Residence told reporters.
exhibits will feature the best of the best of Israel technology from
science-based industries and science museums,” he said.
Residence, he added, is the symbol of the nation, and there is no more
appropriate time than Succot for the nation to come to the residence and see for
itself what Israel has accomplished.
Throughout the rest of the year they
can read or hear about accomplishments, said Raviv, adding that this is an
opportunity to actually see some of the more important ones, and to be even be
able to touch them.
Traditionally, the president’s succa is decorated by
youngsters from two or three schools and kindergartens.
This time they
came from Ramat Rachel because the kibbutz is home to the president’s in-house
photographer and Chief of Special Operations Jossef Avi Yair
“Bringing the children from Ramat Rachel to the President’s
Residence was the simplest form of delivery,” explained Engel. Several of the
kibbutz parents also came along for the ride – not because they were so eager to
have a preview of Succot events, but because they wanted to photograph their
children with the president.
Also on hand were Chabad Rabbis Binyamin
Lifshitz and Ohana Gershom, who each year bring a lulav and Etrog from Kfar
Chabad as a gift to the president.
Peres took time out from other duties
to meet with the children who were growing somewhat impatient and repeatedly
asked through a microphone when he would join them. He shook hands with each and
every one of them, sang holiday songs with them, listened with them while the
rabbis explained the meaning of Succot and the way in which the lulav represents
all the characteristics of the Jewish people, and then asked the children to
join him in a blessing for peace and the strengthening of Jerusalem.
also asked them to join him in inviting all of Israel to visit in the succa next
In previous years, the president’s succa was located on a back
patio adjacent to the main reception hall. This year it is on the grass in
direct line from the entrance to the presidential compound. It is also smaller
than in the past.
The exhibits had not yet been properly arranged, and
the main reception hall looked like the set of Sesame Street with quasi-human
and animal figures in bright colors placed in and around hay wagons.
security reasons, visitors to the residence on Monday should ensure that they
have an ID card or passport to gain admittance.