Court: No public toilets over Ein Kerem ruins

Ein Kerem residents won another victory in their fight to stop the Tourism Ministry from turning their historic neighborhood into a “Disney World,” when the High Court of Justice on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction prohibiting any further work on a new tourism development until the court hears the full appeal at a later date.
The ministry and the municipality, in an effort to develop infrastructure for a tourist influx, are attempting to build public bathrooms and enlarge the plaza next to the historic Ein Kerem Church of the Visitation. The plaza would serve as a new overlook point to accommodate large tour groups, which sometimes block narrow Hama’ayan Street.
But residents say the new toilets are located over ruins from the Second Temple period, and the construction will irrevocably change the character of the unique neighborhood. A monstrous concrete building currently sits in the wadi below the spring as the case winds its way through the courts. Activists are planning a number of tours of the area on Saturday to highlight its archeological and historical importance.