This Week In Jerusalem 368759

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Fresh fish
Mothers’ little helpers
The Yerushalmim party on the city council and Tnu’a Yerushalmit have organized a massive initiative. Young volunteers will help the wives and families of called-up reservists with a wide range of tasks, from moving apartments and cooking to babysitting, providing transportation or walking dogs. So far, more than 300 volunteers have reported to the organizers.
Deputy Mayor Rachel Azaria points out that these relatively small tasks of everyday life can make a big difference, especially during the school vacation when husbands and fathers are away from home.
There is still a lot to do, such as finding out who needs help, what kind, and coordinating with the volunteers.
Anyone interested in joining the initiative can contact Omri at
Fresh fish from the front
One way to help residents of the South who are coping with the missile attacks is to order fresh fish for Shabbat from the Dubkin brothers, who own fishponds in Moshav Tekuma, five kilometers north of Gaza. The local business was the major provider for all the banquet halls in the region, but due to the situation their business is floundering. The Tzedka nonprofit organization has taken upon itself to help the Dubkins. Orders can be sent through their website (, and you will receive your fish according to the delivery days in your area (Jerusalem’s is on Thursdays).
In the heat of the war
Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman submitted a complaint to police on Tuesday morning against Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance director Elinor Sidi. Earlier this week, Sidi had called on her Facebook account for people to set the Prime Minister’s Office on fire and for IDF soldiers from the Golani unit to refuse the draft, saying they were all cannon fodder because of their Mizrahi origin.
Sidi has since expressed regret, explaining that her words were the result of extreme emotion caused by the announcement of the death of 13 IDF soldiers from the Golani unit, within 24 hours of fighting in Gaza. Aged 32 and a single mother to a son, she was appointed director of the Open House for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in 2012, and up until this point hasn’t been involved in any scandal. To her credit, over these past few years, she has tried to obtain funding and facilities from the municipality through discreet talks with high-ranking officials and city council members – in contrast to former directors of the Open House, who sometimes used the local press to put pressure on former mayor Uri Lupolianski.
Nobody knows what lies at the heart of her blatant declaration, but Turgeman has already announced he will personally see to it that the Open House does not get one shekel from public moneys as long as Sidi continues to be its director. This affair has caused a lot of anger and apprehension among the LGBT community, who fear that Sidi’s declaration will cause a lot of damage to the image of the community and its members.
“It is unbelievable that just now, when we have achieved a lot of sympathy among a large part of the city’s residents, this might set us back 10 years, to the atmosphere of hatred we faced then,” said an Open House staff member who asked not to be identified. The man added that the best thing to put an end to the crisis would be Sidi’s rapid resignation, “but I’m not sure that’s what she is going to do.”
Iron dome, the flying version
Following the massive damage to the light rail in the riots perpetrated by Arab residents after the murder of young Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir, one solution set forth by police and the operating company is an unmanned aerial vehicle that would fly along the rail and issue attack warnings.
The UAV would fly a little ahead of the passenger cars and photograph the rails and the track ahead, with the camera feed relayed directly to the monitoring security center. In this way, any case of rioters waiting for the light rail to arrive in order to attack would be viewed on-screen in real-time, enabling police to intervene immediately.
Nevertheless, riots have continued all week long, with stone throwing along the rails – particularly in the Shuafat and Beit Hanina neighborhoods, and near Damascus Gate. For the moment, the work to repair the heavy damage caused by the massive riots two weeks ago has not yet been completed, and light rail service hasn’t been resumed in these two Arab neighborhoods. However, a shuttle bus service is enabling area passengers to reach their destinations.