Jerusalem Grapevine: Knocking on doors

News briefs from around Jerusalem.

November 3, 2016 20:25
3 minute read.
Mayor Nir Barkat

Mayor Nir Barkat. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

CANCER IS one of those diseases in which there are often no visible symptoms. It is amazing how many healthy-looking people are walking around with one form of cancer or another. While medical research has helped countless patients to control the cancer and even to become cancer-free, as yet there is no absolute cure for cancer, despite the incredible degree of research going in Israel and the rest of the world. However, in many cases, it can be arrested, and the ability to do this derives from the intensive research that has been and is being conducted around the globe. But research costs money, and it’s not always easy to get the required funding.

There’s an old English saying that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. That is more or less the philosophy behind the cancer Door Knock campaign. Towards the end of October, the Jerusalem Branch of the Israeli Cancer Association launched its annual campaign at the Jerusalem Municipality, in the presence of Mayor Nir Barkat. The association’s national campaign kicked off earlier in the week at the President’s Residence.

The Door Knock campaign has been running nationally for some 56 years. This year’s Jerusalem participants included pupils from 24 schools and seven youth groups from around the city.

Barkat said that their participation in such an important mission was a positive educational obligation.

RESIDENTS OF the German Colony, Baka and Old Katamon are gearing up for the major battle relating to the extension of light rail service in their neighborhood. It would seem that the majority are opposed to having the Blue Line running through Emek Refaim Street, which they argue would spoil the character of the street, as well as the character of the side streets, which they say would suffer permanent traffic congestion. Those in favor of the light rail on Emek Refaim are equally passionate, arguing that the street will be safer with far less traffic and therefore less pollution.

Noting that the First Station has already taken away a lot of business from Emek Refaim and that there are several empty storefronts for rent, opponents to the light rail say that the construction period will ring a death knell for smaller business operations that have been fixtures on Emek Refaim for decades. Some also wonder how construction will affect the soon-to-be opened Isrotel hotel and whether the owners would have chosen this site had they known in advance what was in store in terms of light rail construction.

At a meeting that residents’ representatives had with Mayor Nir Barkat, they were given until December 1 to submit a community study of three possible alternate light rail locations, including the current Emek Refaim plan, which some people are afraid will negatively impact on property values during the construction period; the previous plan for Harakevet Street, and a more recent plan for Hatnufa Street. The latter plan would also serve the population of the new planned residential complexes, some of them as high as 30 stories, meaning far denser population in those areas. But it would also provide more convenient access to the Talpiot shopping and service zone.

To ensure that the pros and cons study of each location is taken seriously by Barkat and the light rail planners, those opposed to its running through Emek Refaim have been working through the Ginot Ha’ir community center and have hired professionals in addition to neighborhood volunteers, several of whom have professional expertise in this realm.

There have been many long hours of meetings, including joint meetings with people who want the light rail to run along Emek Refaim.

Despite disagreements sometimes within families, sometimes among friends, a huge effort has been made to avoid feuds because all concerned realize that the neighborhood does not belong to any one person but to everyone who lives there. To give people who are undecided a better understanding of the situation, special walking tours are being conducted through the neighborhood by Hava Teperberg and Alan Baumgart, who are explaining the various options and are also talking about environment, cost, preservation and other issues so that every resident who is genuinely interested can make an informed decision and hopefully reach a consensual conclusion. The tours will continue until November 16.

Meanwhile, on Monday, November 14, there will be a residents’ meeting at 8 p.m. at Beit Yehudit, which is the headquarters of the Ginot Ha’ir administration. Fur

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