This Week In Jerusalem: Not so much fun

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

April 26, 2019 18:01
4 minute read.

Children play in a park (illustrative). (photo credit: PXHERE)

Not so much fun

To benefit families with working parents whose children were on vacation from school during the Passover week, the municipality opened weeklong kaitanot (vacation programs) in the schools at no cost. Some 50,000 children were registered for the project, but not all children seem to have been included, particularly from the non-haredi sector. A source in Safra Square cited technical problems in the registration procedure, but parents whose children were not invited to join the program said that they were told this was the result of a shortage of teachers for the project.

Rough sailing next week

On Tuesday April 30, the first day after Passover vacation, teachers’ aides in the city's 450 afternoon programs will go on a one-day strike. The 900 employees declared that they had no choice since the municipality has refused to respond to their demands regarding their employment contracts. Negotiations that have gone on for months have not reached any conclusion or agreement, and the teachers’ representatives – the Koah La’Oved employees' committee – say that there is no other option. These are not municipal employees or part of the Histadrut, and therefore must conduct their struggle to obtain basic social rights separately.

Pray for peace

There was a large-scale prayer at the Old City's Hulda Gate yesterday and this morning between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., led by representatives of the three Abrahamic religions, to pray for peace for all people. Participants were invited to sing together and take part in whirling dervishes.

Dear guests

Jerusalem hosted more than a million visitors this holiday week, including Jews celebrating Passover, and Christians celebrating Easter on Sunday and Monday. Hotels across the city reported 90% to 95% bookings – many of them multigenerational large families, mostly from America and Europe. The Jerusalem Development Authority, which monitors the figures on incoming tourists to the city, identified a growth trend in tourism to the capital, including hotels bookings. Two of the major attractions were the traditional Kohanim blessing for Jews on Monday at the Kotel and the walk along the Via Dolorosa for Christians – both in the Old City.

A pub and a community

The city has a second community pub. The Beit Hakerem Bar, located in the old Neighborhood Committee House on Hehalutz Street in Beit Hakerem, has opened after months of struggling to get a permit to use the building. The nonprofit community-owned initiative is also open on Shabbat.

Take a hike

The organizers of the Jerusalem Walk, a local non-official initiative have launched a crowdfunding appeal.

The Walk was launched six years ago in response to the traditional Jerusalem Day March, which includes entry into the Old City's Muslim Quarter. The Walk proclaims a message that combines love for the city with the will to protect its unification without expressing any negative attitude toward any residents or sector.

Thousands of participants walk together along Hamesila Park, conveying a message of co-existence.

Opera at a Train Station

The First Station doesn’t have trains to wait for anymore, but listening to good music there can always be a treat, especially during holiday week. The First Station invites the public to a series of concerts featuring opera stars from Israel and abroad. The series starts on Saturday night and will continue into next month. There will be open and light opera pieces with well-known opera stars and ensembles, musicals and operettas. The first performance is Love and Desire in an Italian Opera, which is about infinite love and inconceivable sacrifice, with Leonora Liu (Italy) and Yuli Rourman (The Israeli Opera) at 9 p.m. Entrance is free.

Infrastructure now

There is something of a construction boom, and residents and environmental activists have raised concern about the lack of infrastructure guidelines. Now Construction Committee head Eliezer Rauchberger (UTJ) has ruled that no plan for urban renewal in the pinui/binui (evacuation/construction) framework will be approved unless it includes provision for public facilities such as kindergartens, daycare centers and synagogues.

The ruling hints at an intention to ensure that such projects are accessible for religious and haredi residents and has many positive aspects. Until now, construction projects submitted to the committee were required to take into consideration public transportation and parking solutions, but there were no guidelines regarding public or religious infrastructure.

Rauchberger is the first to make provision of community needs a condition for approval for renewal projects. The next step should be implementation of a comprehensive regulation of this nature to apply to all construction projects in the city.

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