This Week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs,

Jerusalem Festival of Lights 521 (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Jerusalem Festival of Lights 521
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Smoke gets in your wallet Smoke gets not only in your eyes but also into your wallet. That’s the lesson learned earlier this week by the owners of one of the city’s biggest bars. The Jerusalem District Court tripled the fine implemented on the owners of the Ha’oman 17 Bar from NIS 5,000 to NIS 15,000, for allowing people to smoke inside the bar.
The court’s decision is seen as a victory for the municipality, whose inspectors have a lot on their plate in this regard, as it seems that too often the law is not enforced. On top of this, it is hoped at Safra Square that setting this example will prevent the law against smoking in public spaces from being broken in the future.
Among the charges against the owners are the fact that the guard at the entrance didn’t prevent customers from entering the bar while smoking, and at the bar itself customers who were smoking were served without being asked to stop.
O Jerusalem? Ah, Jerusalem! In the early ’70s, two French journalists wrote what was soon to become a real success: a book on Jerusalem after the Six Day War, which they entitled O Jerusalem! Ah, Jerusalem! is a new musical being developed for tourists and planned to run in 2013. A group of amateurs got together to prepare the musical and will begin a professional first reading of the play this week. Ah, Jerusalem! is co-produced by New York producer Bernie Kukoff and Jerusalem composer Danny Paller, with the assistance of producer Rami Beja and consultants Elan Ezrachi and Beth Steinberg. Kukoff will direct the show, which he wrote along with Lucile Lichtblau and Alan Gelb. Music and lyrics are by Danny Paller. The session will take place at the renovated Yad Ben-Zvi auditorium in the Ben-Zvi Institute in Rehavia today at 1 p.m. Entry is free of charge, but seats should be reserved through
A ray of sunshine Phase 2 in turning Jerusalem into a solar-powered city is kicking off. Forty solar power systems will soon be added to the existing 50, installed on roofs of schools across the city at a total cost of NIS 50 million. The goal to get more clean energy at less cost. (Once the installation is complete, the maintenance cost is very low – close to nonexistent.) The project, expected to be completed by November, is being conducted by the Solarpower company under the supervision of the Moriah municipal subsidiary.
At its maximum capacity, it will supply about 1.7 million kilowatts of power.
Moving house The Shikun and Binui Solel Boneh construction company has won the tender to build new offices for the state comptroller at an estimated cost of NIS 130 million. Scheduled to be completed within two-and-a-half years, the project will include a 10-story tower above one underground level and parking for 200 cars. The construction company will also be in charge of the maintenance of the building for at least 10 years following its construction.
Local civil guards Save the date: On Monday at 7 p.m. at the Labor Party branch at 9 Alharizi Street in Rehavia there will be a gathering, but it is not about elections. Esti Kirmayer, the party’s Jerusalem district head, has decided to pave the way for one of the most interesting initiatives born out of the protest movement of 2011.
The civil guard are groups of social activists in various cities who follow the decisions of those elected by municipal councils and monitor the use of the taxpayers’ money. Kirmayer began the initiative with a four-week course on how a budget is established and what tools are necessary to understand the decisions of a local finance committee. Now it is the turn of the other committees at City Hall.
“You need first to understand and learn about the procedures in order to bring change and influence,” Kirmayer says. She invites all residents who care about quality of life in the city to attend.
Raising the bar For the second year, the municipality’s Youth Authority is launching an initiative that combines the pre-High Holy Day atmosphere with the need to offer leisure opportunities to the city’s youth.
“Bar Da’at,” scheduled for Tuesday, will take place in 20 bars and other venues across the city, where a (not-too) serious lecture will be followed by a performance by local musicians. Last year it was a success.
See for details, or simply show up at your bar of choice.
Something for everyone The new construction project between the central bus station and the International Convention Center is raising lots of interest – perhaps not exactly the kind its planners expected. The project, which will include thousands of square meters of space for businesses and hotels, so far does not include any plan for affordable housing for the young generation that wishes to remain in the city.
But some of the organizations that represent the interests of that sector of the population have applied to the mayor, requesting that some changes be made to the project. Their alternative plan proposes that at least 20% of the area of the project (which includes 12 towers) will be directed to affordable housing for young residents. According to the plan, the plots on which these housing will be built (including public housing and housing for seniors) will be given at no cost to the construction companies, enabling prices to reach no more than NIS 1 million for each of at least 2,000 housing units. So far, there has been no reaction to the proposal from the local planning and construction committee.