Every year, on one morning of Chol Hamoed Sukkot, the gates of Beit Hanassi are opened. The public is invited inside the gardens of the Israeli President’s official residence to see the Presidential sukka.

Sign in garden of Beit Hanasi

The theme this year was “Healthy is possible” at Beit Hanassi.

Elmo at Beit Hanasi

A giant red Elmo wore a sticker supporting the healthy theme.

MK Yael German and Shimon Peres on Sukkot Open house

Health Minister Yael German sat on stage with President Shimon Peres wearing the same sticker.

Shimon Pere and Yael German watch dancers

Piles of fresh fruits and vegetables decorated the stage in front of the ballet dancers.

image dancers on stage,

Dancers perform every year in the free shows provided for the audience, those people who make it inside to the standing-room only garden.

judo demonstration image girl tossing boy

But this year a demonstration of a judo school and

performance at Beit Hanasi

acrobatics were added to support the healthy theme of the day.

There were songs encouraging children to drink water, lots of water.

Performance on stage for Open Sukka with President

90-year old President Shimon Peres did not just sit there, but got up and joined in with one song on the tambourine.

Red fruits and vegetables photo

Red, lots of red, healthy foods were on display.

A sample of Israeli mini-veggies were given out, there were none of the usual cookies and junk food at this event.

That was great, but unfortunately, there were also

image of cigarette in hand

people smoking cigarettes.

When I asked one man with an official tag around his neck, how he could smoke at an event about being healthy, he said that it was “about food.”

Sorry, eating healthy food, drinking water and getting exercise are certainly important!

However, how can there be smoking at a public health event?

The holidays are over. The sukka is put away.

But I am still upset.


All Photos credit: Sharon Altshul