THIS WEEK IN JERUSALEM: Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

“This nightlife that has developed here over the years is ruining the lives of residents in the area, and harming our income from our hard work as merchants,” said Nino Peretz.

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May 30, 2019 10:41
2 minute read.
THIS WEEK IN JERUSALEM: Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

THE DAVIDKA mortar in the eponymous square will soon be temporarily displaced.. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Hazardous nightlife

Sometime between late Sunday and early Monday this week, two drunk men attacked one of the merchants in the main alley of the shuk at Mahaneh Yehuda. Thanks to two vacationing soldiers who were there at the time and managed to neutralize the attackers, there were no serious injuries or damage, but that was more than enough for stall owners to renew their call for a radical change in the market.

“This nightlife that has developed here over the years is ruining the lives of residents in the area, and harming our income from our hard work as merchants,” said Nino Peretz, the former president of the market’s merchants association.

It was Peretz’s two sons who neutralized the drunkards, and it is Peretz who has for some time been calling for limits on changes to the market. His goal is to protect the shuk’s original character as a place of trade for vegetable, fruits and other fresh foods, and to limit the number of eateries and bars open until late at night. Recently, the municipality started keeping public toilets in the market open until 3 a.m. in order to prevent bar customers from urinating in the alleys, however, that was only for a few days. Smoke, noise, odors and a general disruption of the quiet needed by local residents is at the heart of these complaints, along with the call to preserve the authentic character of the famous market. A small ad hoc committee that includes representatives of all the businesses should work out an agreement that is in the best interests of all the parties – and soon.

Davidka’s facelift

The famous Abraham Hostel at the junction of Jaffa and Hanevi’im streets will soon become a 35-story tower. The old building, once used by the municipality’s tax authority, will be linked to an additional eight-story building that will include housing units, a renovated hostel and a variety of businesses. That building will be augmented by a 40-square-meter public toilet open 24/7 – the first of its kind in the city.

The plan that was approved earlier this week by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee. City Council opposition leader and committee member Ofer Berkovitch (Hitorerut) has requested that most of the housing units be small apartments affordable to the city’s young couples, instead of adding more luxury units that would be used only a few weeks per year by wealthy foreign investors. Altogether, the project will add some 170 apartments and 50 hotel rooms to the renovated Abraham Hostel that will replace the present one. As for the Davidka mortar on display in the square of the same name, it will have to be displaced, at least during construction. This will be the second time the home-made weapon has been moved since it was first placed in the square at the end of the 1948 War of Independence as a memorial to the defenders of the city.




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