THIS WEEK IN JERUSALEM: Party's over

Until now, and despite the heavy roadworks which started three weeks ago, drivers who used the public lanes in the city entrance area were not fined. But this “party” is over.

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August 28, 2019 19:58
3 minute read.
THIS WEEK IN JERUSALEM: Party's over

THE KNESSET building: Englargement in the offing?. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Party over
Until now, and despite the heavy roadworks which started three weeks ago, drivers who used the public lanes in the city entrance area were not fined. But this “party” is over, and as of this week, enforcement of the rules is applied, with up to a NIS 500 fine for any private car using the public lanes. The Shazar Avenue, from its beginning at the Binyaney Ha’uma, is as of now, strictly for use of public transportation, for the coming three years. Jerusalem Police, with reinforced staff, will stop any private car using this avenue and give a fine on the spot. Boarding passengers will be allowed only in the public parking areas between the String Bridge and the Navon Train Station.

New home for the Knesset
The local planning and constructing committee approved a plan to add a new wing to the Knesset, but the district committee, which is the highest authority, rejected it and ruled for a new plan that would be much smaller. The reason behind the decision: The proposed plan would hide a large part of the present iconic building. As a result, the head of the district committee, Shira Talmi-Babay, sent the planners back to prepare a new plan in place of the present one she rejected. However, the debate over the plan to enlarge the Israeli Parliament building has not been canceled, and is still on the agenda of the committee, under the condition that changes will be included that do not hide or minimize the original iconic building constructed in the early 1960s. While he does not contest the prerogative of the district committee, the president of the local committee, Deputy Mayor Eliezer Rauchbeger (United Torah Judaism), pointed out that he approved a reasonable addition to the existing building, including a special attention to environment issues. City Council member Elisha Peleg (Likud) was the only opponent to the plan at the local committee, arguing that he was not convinced that all the existing spaces inside the present building had been wisely used before a request to enlarge the building was submitted.

Don’t worry, be happy
According to a recent survey run by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalemites are next to last in being happy with their place of residence (right before residents of Bat Yam,) while the happiest about life in their home city are the residents of Kfar Saba. The results show the situation on the ground for 2018 and include insights regarding the quality of life of adults in terms of satisfaction from their conditions – transportation, traffic, working and dwelling. According to the survey, only 73% of the Jerusalemites are satisfied with their life in Jerusalem. However, a local and more complex reality stands behind the figures. When we separate the figures between the west and east sides of the city, the results seem much different. If taken separately, it turns out that 87% of the Jewish population of Jerusalem is satisfied to live here, while the satisfaction in the Arab sector drops to only 49%. Considering that neither Kfar Saba or Tel Aviv holds large communities of Arab residents, it seems that after everything – traffic issues, environment and dwelling – residents of Jerusalem, at least the Jewish residents, are quite happy to live here. Generally speaking, the survey shows that across the country, Jews are more satisfied with their living conditions and environment than Arab residents, with 87% and 69% satisfaction, respectively.

Money for garbage
Ever heard of a study on garbage? Whether you did or not, it is exactly what is taking place now in Jerusalem, with the first study run by the municipality, to get a clear picture of residents’ habits regarding their garbage. Mayor Moshe Lion has approved NIS 50,000 for the study, which will include details on how much garbage (by volume) is taken care of every day across the city, the cost of that activity, the figures on human resources requested, the transportation needed, and of course, how much garbage the capital produces per year. The results of the study will include comparisons to other large cities, and will help to calculate the real cost of the task – perhaps to determine a realistic estimation of the budget needs for such an important issue. So far, according to the municipality’s figures, Jerusalem produces 450 thousand tons of garbage per year.


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