Jerusalem launches Waze-linked parking website for tourists, olim

A round up of this week's events from Jerusalem: the city has launched a website to help visitors park, and has moved the driving test center away from an area with children crossing.

An Akira passenger plane from Tel Aviv lands in front of the Jerusalem airport terminal at Atarot, 1967 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An Akira passenger plane from Tel Aviv lands in front of the Jerusalem airport terminal at Atarot, 1967
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Drive, ride and park
Jerusalem has launched online info to help tourists and olim drivers to park.
The site at www.jerusalem.muni.il/en/residents/parking-in-jerusalem/ will tell you all you need to know about regulated parking, how to avoid a getting a parking fine and how to pay it is you get one. It also has also a map with a Waze application for parking lots in the city, plus, if you use public transportation, how and where to find your line.

Cheery cherry day
If you always wanted to enjoy the cherry blossom flowering season but are not prepared to fly to Japan, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Givat Ram has some good news. This coming Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can enjoy a guided tour of the cherry blossoms in the garden, experience a Japanese tea ceremony, an origami workshop, and more, all linked to the Japanese culture. There are special activities for children. End your visit with a picnic in the garden.

A lot to choo choo on
The National Infrastructure Committee held a debate earlier this week over the route to extend the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem train to the Western Wall. The plan was advanced by former transportation minister Israel Katz, who declared that “Trump Station” will be built adjacent to the Western Wall plaza, as a part of the Transport Ministry’s strategic plan for 2040. According to that plan, the train’s route will reach Jerusalem’s city center, the Khan Theater, and through a tunnel under the Hinnom Valley, arrive at the Western Wall.
This was presented as a solution for public transport users arriving from outside Jerusalem who seek to visit the Western Wall; other transport options (the cable car and light rail) offer solutions to those going the Old City basin from within Jerusalem.
The nonprofit Emek Shaveh, which deals with changes that could threaten antiquities or disrupt the conditions of Arab residents living close to the Holy Basin and the Old City, argues that this plan raises two primary obstacles:
1) Exiting the station and ascending to ground level will entail a complex encounter with archaeological layers.
2) The endeavor could be detrimental to the quality of the Gihon Spring water located in Silwan on the Kidron riverbed.
The Gihon Spring, a tourist attraction in the City of David, is a holy site in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In June 2019, the committee approved the plan to extend the train’s route to the city center and the Khan Theatre, but rejected the request to extend the line via an underground route beneath the Hinnom Valley through to the Western Wall, with a majority of 8 against 1. Still, earlier this week, the plan was submitted again, unchanged, and a budget of NIS 10 million was approved for the plan.

License to move
Following resident protests, the municipality has decided to close the driving license test area in Gilo within two months and move it to a location far from children and other pedestrians crossing the street.
Yovav Tzur and Elad Malka (Hitorerut) led the campaign to find an alternative solution. One of the reasons for the decision is linked to the roadwork underway for the next light rail line.

Text and textile
Dr. Esther Horowitz, a literature lecturer at Herzog College, will be teaching an innovative course in English on Thursday mornings in Jerusalem starting March 3. This new course will explore the ties between text and textile through the study of classic and modern Hebrew and English literature (provided in English) by S.A. Agnon, Nikolay Gogol, Susan Glaspell, the myths of Greek mythology and more. It will also focus on the many instances where for women the needle served as a substitute for the pen and will include exercises in practical embroidery stitches and techniques, based on the idea that as we occupy our minds with stories and poems, we can also occupy our hands with thread and cloth.
Registration required: www.herzog.ac.il/textand

Yellow is the new black
A few days ago, merchants and visitors at Mahaneh Yehuda were surprised to find the streets and alleys decorated with large yellow lines marking the spaces allowed for tables and chairs at the bars during the evenings and nights.
The shuk has become a beacon of nightlife in the city; bars, eateries and coffee shops and restaurants have multiplied, often replacing vegetable stalls. Complaints about narrow alleys blocked by chairs impeding passage of rescue vehicles; too much alcohol consumption, including by youths; noise, brawls and violence have finally spurred the police to act. Police Chief Yoram Yedid decided to create some order, and together with the municipality and temporary president of the Merchants’ Association, Tali Friedman, drew the yellow lines, issued rules as to how many chairs each bar can set out and more.
Not all of the merchants are happy. A protest was scheduled for Monday afternoon, but discretion prevails as all await the shuk committee election date.

Empowering women in Jerusalem
A four-day convention took place in Jerusalem earlier this week at the El Halev Center for Violence Prevention in Talpiot, as part of a week devoted to education for the prevention of violence. El Halev and ESD Global taught women and children from 22 countries about empowerment and self-defense. The goal was to help vulnerable populations protect themselves from violence.

Get a Fulbright for writing
Fulbright Israel is offering a scholarship to the 2020 International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Writers of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drama or screenplays are eligible, as are translators, journalists and biographers. Candidates should have at least one published volume, or a sizable number of works that have appeared in significant publications over the last two years. The writing program runs from August through November. Candidates need to apply by March 3. The scholarship provides a maintenance allowance, on-campus housing and basic health insurance. Dual American-Israeli citizens are not eligible to apply. For more information, go to fulbright.org.il.

Houses for whom?
The Housing Ministry is involved in a project to build some 9,000 housing units at the site of the former Atarot Airport, north of Jerusalem and close to the separation barrier. According to sources in the municipality, which is not part of the project, the houses are meant to be part of a new ultra-Orthodox neighborhood, with synagogues, yeshivot and ritual baths. However, haredi representatives at city council have said members of the ultra-Orthodox community have refused to live in the area. Sources cited a similar plan that the municipality tried to promote during Nir Barkat’s tenure, which was never approved.