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A host of events is in store this week throughout the country to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the unification of the capital, but of course the hub of the festivities will take place throughout Jerusalem itself.
Organizers promise that the traditional eve of Jerusalem Day agriculture parade this year will be bigger than ever, with 10,000 participants - actors, acrobats, artists, marchers on stilts, bands, dancers and 11 floats - set to start out from Safra Square on Tuesday at 6 p.m. They'll roll their way down Jaffa, King George and Bezalel Streets, ending up at Sacher Park. There at 8:30 p.m. a free back-to-back musical extravaganza will host popular Israeli artists Mosh Ben-Ari, Yehoram Gaon, Shlomo Gronich, Hadag Nachash, Harel Skaat, the Idan Reichel Project, Yishai Lapidot, Avihu Medina, Keren Peles, Ninet Tayeb, Shakatak, Shlomi Shabbat and others will perform their own material alongside Jerusalem-themed classics such as "Lakh Yerushalayim," "Bab El Wad" and "Shibhi Yerushalayim."
Simultaneously, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Jerusalem's Independence Park will rock out with performances by Aviv Geffen, Shalom Hanoch, HaDorbanim, The Giraffes, Shotei Hanevuah, Tomer Sharon and local Jerusalem bands. Entrance to the event costs NIS 55.
Women who prefer to celebrate Jerusalem's reunification in a more religious environment are invited to attend a women-only concert from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Binyanei Hauma, hosting performances by Eti Ankri, Haim David, Aaron Razel and others.
For those hyped up into the wee hours of the morning, free guided walking tours by night will begin and end at Independence Park, visiting Old City Ramparts, Mishkenot Shaananim and other locales. And that was just Tuesday.
Wednesday is Student Day at Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus, an event combining street theatre, dance performances, photography exhibitions, and concerts by Beit Habubot, Geva Alon, Dafna and the Cookies, Din-Din Aviv, Monica Sex, Tomer Yossef and others.
For those seeking a more educational Jerusalem Day, take advantage of free entrance to the Israel Museum and Science Museum. Or, become a spectator at the final round of the world-wide childrens' quiz on Jerusalem at 4 p.m. at Binyanei Hauma. In its earlier phases, over 30,000 children from around the world participated in the contest, with 36 contestants from the Argentina, France, Israel, Panama, South Africa and the United States competing on Wednesday.
As the week comes to a close, Thursday and Friday will host the Tour de Jerusalem, a two day biking competition across the city. Altogether, the Municipality of Jerusalem expects to draw thousands of visitors from across Israel, in addition to masses of its own population, to the jam-packed schedule of events it is sponsoring.
Information: in Jerusalem, for the Municipal Hotline, dial 106. Outside of Jerusalem, (02) 531-4600. Visit www.jerusalem.muni.il.
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