NORTH

The Energy and Water Ministry this week announced a decision to give a NIS 50 million grant for the construction of a natural gas distribution center for Haifa and the Galilee, the Local website reported. The decision was reached in consultation with the Finance Ministry to encourage the delivery of natural gas to periphery communities in general and the far north of the country in particular.

According to the conditions of the grant, gas will be delivered to six major points in the region: Beit Keshet, Amiad, Hatzor Haglilit, Kiryat Shmona, Ahihud and Karmiel, according to the report.

The grant, which will be given to the winner of a yetto- be-published tender, is one of two for the North and among six in the rest of the country, Local reported. The projects aim to establish and operate a distribution network for low-pressure natural gas.

The network aims to enable businesses and industrial plants that do not require high-pressure natural gas to connect to the natural gas distribution system, according to the report. It is hoped that it would allow the businesses, hospitals, factories and office buildings to convert their energy consumption to the cheaper, cleaner source of power.

Skydiver crashes into Mount Tabor and is killed

Skydiver Yoram Agmon, 50, of Afula was killed over the weekend when he crashed into the side of Mount Tabor. Shortly after noon on Saturday, Magen David Adom received a report of a parachutist who had crashed into the mountain near Shibli. Paramedics found the skydiver critically injured and unconscious.

Following lengthy attempts to resuscitate the man, they pronounced him dead.

Agmon was one of a group who were skydiving together, when at one point he entered an uncontrollable spin and was unable to open his reserve parachute, the Local website reported.

CENTER

Deputy TA mayor demands dialogue with protest leaders

Following a weekend of social justice protests that saw nearly 100 arrests and the introduction of vandalism and confrontation into the largely peaceful but loud protest movement of last summer, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi (Meretz) sent an urgent request to Mayor Ron Huldai to “stop the escalation by committing to immediate and direct dialogue with protest leaders.”

Noting that Huldai ordered municipal inspectors not to allow any tents to be pitched on Rothschild Boulevard, last year’s central encampment, Lehavi asserted that elected municipal leaders “have a responsibility to allow it to continue growing in order to bring about deeper change in society and implement the call for social justice.”

Condemning violence, she called for the city to recognize the legitimacy of protesting and to define the rules under which it can exist in the city. “The rules must be transparent, and the mayor’s clarification is needed for guidelines set for municipal inspectors and police.”

Those guidelines, she added, must be written with the agreement of all political factions in the municipal government. If a protest encampment is not allowed on Rothschild, she asked, where will it be permitted?

Poems appear on TA’s bicycle paths

Cyclists and pedestrians in Tel Aviv found poetry painted onto bicycle paths last week, an extension of the city’s Poetry on the Road project that got rolling last month. The children’s poems, by renowned poets such as Haim Nahman Bialik and Levin Kipnis, have been displayed on bus stops and billboards throughout the city for weeks, following the annual municipal-sponsored contest to select the texts. This week, they began appearing on bicycle paths for the first time.

In the contest’s eighth year, 65 illustrated children’s poems are being displayed throughout the city. Zohar Shavit, cultural consultant to Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai, said of the program, “Every year, the project is devoted to a specific theme. This year we chose children’s poetry, considering its important role in both children’s and adults’ worlds.” The publicly displayed poems are not just an intellectual but also an emotional experience, he added.

Ramat Hasharon focuses on accessibility

Ramat Hasharon Municipality held a seminar last week to raise awareness about accessibility for disabled persons in the city. The seminar was held in cooperation with the Commission for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities, the Justice Ministry and the Challenges movement. The event focused on explaining the importance of accessibility in the city to the municipality itself and its services.

Deputy and Acting Mayor Shira Evin noted at the event, “The Ramat Hasharon Municipality, in cooperation with volunteer organizations, youth and other activists in the city, has set a goal of turning Ramat Hasharon into a city that is accessible to all: parents with baby strollers, bicycle riders, people in wheelchairs, the visually impaired, the hard of hearing, children, the elderly – everyone.”

The city, she continued, “offers full services and opportunities for all residents and visitors to realize their rights and potential and to take an active part in the various activities being carried out throughout the city.”

Tel Aviv reintroduces quiet patrol

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality has announced the reestablishment of its quiet patrol during this year’s school summer vacation months. Called Keshet, a Hebrew acronym for “quiet summer in Tel Aviv-Jaffa,” the patrol includes five cars, in cooperation with Israel Police.

The patrols are intended to maintain residents’ quality of life in the summer months, as well as maintaining order in municipal parks and public facilities, and to respond to disturbances reported to the municipal hot line, 106.

The patrol began operating on June 20 and will continue through the summer vacation, ending its work on August 25. Keshet will patrol the city’s streets and parks seven days a week between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Pointing to what it described as Keshet’s effectiveness, the municipality said it dealt successfully with 1,330 complaints last year and made 1,206 visits to local schools.

Plan for new north Jaffa neighborhood moves forward

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Local Committee approved a plan for the construction of a new residential neighborhood in the Bezeq compound near the botanical gardens on the northern outskirts of Jaffa. The new neighborhood will be bordered by Herzl Street on the east, Hatehiya on the north, Segel Zvi Herman on the south and Hayated Street on the west.

The neighborhood, which is planned to have 670 new housing units of various sizes, aims to create a high-quality residential area while improving the quality of life and commercial districts along Herzl Street.

One and a half acres are allocated for public buildings for the benefit of residents, including an elementary school. In addition, the transportation infrastructure is designed to promote local access, specifically by green modes of transportation, including dedicated pedestrian and bicycle paths. Some 60,000 square meters are designated for residential units, 6,000 for commercial development and 4,000 for industry. The buildings will range between six and 16 stories.

The plan is in line with the city’s green outline program, the municipality said in a statement, which, in planning new roads and routes, gives preference to non-motorized modes of transportation.

In addition, the program promotes the creation and designation of plazas and parks for public use.

SOUTH

Eilat finds friends in high places

The city of Eilat has friends in high places. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has appointed Harel Locker, the directorgeneral of the Prime Minister’s Office, to head a task force to promote issues relating to the country’s southernmost city.

Although the immediate focus of the group will be on the problem of African migrants passing through and living in the city, its work is expected to address issues ranging from bringing a railway to the city, promoting business, tourism, trade, academics and making the city a center for marine biology research. To that end, a proposal was made to support the creation of an economic development plan in the field of marine biology, taking advantage of the special features of the region.

Doggy spa hopes to encourage adoption

As part of efforts to increase adoption rates for dogs held in the Eilat Municipal Kennel, volunteers from the Let the Animals Live organization ran a doggy spa event to make the potential canine companions more attractive to families. Volunteers washed the dogs and clipped their nails.

The animal organization and Eilat Municipal Veterinarian Dr.

Oren Abramovich said they hoped the volunteer program would continue as a monthly event. Pet adoption fairs take place at the municipal kennel on the last Tuesday of every month.

Other efforts to promote adoption include a program in cooperation with Arkia Airlines that flies unclaimed, abandoned and stray dogs to the center of the country, where there is more demand for pets.

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