This week in Jerusalem

The light rail is due to continue from its current terminal on Mount Herzl to Hadassah-University Medical Center.

Mayor Nir Barkat 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
Mayor Nir Barkat 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
The personal touch
Mayor Nir Barkat hasn’t given up on trying to bring the Channel 10 TV news department to the capital. During his current visit to the US, Barkat met with the owner of the channel, Ronald Lauder, in an effort to convince him that Jerusalem is ready to offer the network better conditions than any other place in the country, such as a substantial reduction on property tax and financial assistance for rent and moving expenses for those employees and their families who will have to move from the central region. Not that the Jerusalem Development Authority hasn’t already offered these conditions to the channel directors here, but Barkat believes that a personal touch might help move things forward.
Not to be taken lightly
The light rail is due to continue from its current terminal on Mount Herzl to Hadassah-University Medical Center at Ein Kerem, through Kiryat Hayovel. The roadwork has begun, but it seems that here, too, the project will not be a rose garden but a thorny issue. First to raise their concerns are the residents of Rehov Hantke, who have complained to the local planning and construction committee that the line has taken away large parts of their open spaces and has closed them behind walls without their consent. Pepe Allalu, a member of the committee and head of the opposition on the city council, told the committee that the residents “have a serious case” and should be taken into consideration before any more work is done on the project. The committee members, who will take a look for themselves to see how bad the situation is, have postponed any decisions for now.
Dancing in the street
Ginot Tza’ir, the youth department of the Ginot Ha’ir local neighborhood council, in collaboration with New Spirit (the student organization), is organizing the first street party for this summer (more to come, stay tuned), which takes place today between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Rehov Aza in Rehavia. The fun includes art, performers, events in some of the houses on this historical street, a picture exhibition (on Rehov Ben-Maimon), a dance party in the park at Rehov Aza 50 and much more, including special discounts at some of the shops. More details at
A municipal revolution
The local planning and construction committee, headed by Deputy Mayor Kobi Kahlon, has proposed a new project designed to build at least 100 housing units in three locations at affordable prices for the young generation. The project includes 80 units in the 400 houses planned near Malha; 40 houses (out of 200 in the whole project) launched by the university on Rehov Lehi in French Hill; and the Bililius project in Talpiot with 35 units in the 175 units already planned. This is the first implementation of the city council’s June 2010 decision, ruling that 20 percent of every new construction project approved by the local committee would be affordable for young couples and families. The conditions are that one of the partners in the couple is under 41, the couple doesn’t own any property elsewhere, and they are able to repay a loan.
Still standing
The director of the Society for the Preservation of Israeli Heritage Sites in Jerusalem, Itzik Shweki, is smiling for a change. Following a ruling of the local planning and construction committee, based on expert architectural advice, the landmark house on Rehov Cremieux will not be torn down. The building, better known as the house purchased by former prime minister Ehud Olmert, is listed but was nevertheless slated to be dismantled and reconstructed with two additional stories, a plan that Shweki and preservation activists wanted to prevent. Now it’s official: The house will remain as is, and no new stories will be added.
The holistic approach
The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center for Cancer Patients was named for the late MK Yuri Shtern, who championed the holistic approach to helping patients and their relatives cope with serious illness. On Monday, the center is offering an informative evening in English. Massage, natural nutrition, spiritual counsel and support are the bases of the center’s approach. Starting at 8:15 p.m., Dr. Gerald Schroeder will give a lecture and answer questions about the holistic approach to healing and its effectiveness. For further details, call 052-384-7322.
Good old rock ‘n’ roll
Clare Diane and the Graffitis will give one performance at the Yellow Submarine on Thursday, giving the aficionados of Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles a taste of the good old days. The serious blonde rocker of the Holy City, who represented us proudly at the Grammys, will give an energetic performance that audiences of all ages are sure to enjoy.
Festive march
Some 20,000 marchers are expected to take part in the event organized by the youth movements of the moshavim and the regional councils in honor of Jerusalem Day. The march will end with a public concert at Sacher Park on Monday, May 30, starting at 5 p.m., featuring well-known Israeli singers such as Shlomi Shabat, Idan Amedi and Avraham Tal, in the presence of President Shimon Peres and Mayor Nir Barkat. During the day, the Ben-Zvi Institute will give free guided tours within the city.
Hot tips for safe bonfires
The children and their parents who light bonfires in the Katamon-Talbiyeh neighborhoods already know her: Alice Weisz, who made aliya from Australia six years ago, says that every Lag Ba’omer she keeps a vigil all night long. Weisz, who owned a farm in Australia, knows a lot about bonfires and the way to control them before they can turn a festival into a disaster. The most important thing, she says, is to avoid lighting a bonfire under or too close to trees, including their roots. It is also important to frame the bonfire with stones or anything not combustible and to ensure that there is enough water to put out the fire at the end of the event. Weisz adds that nothing but cardboard or wood (but never any wood treated with paint, as it becomes toxic under flame) should be used. And never try to burn aluminum cans in a bonfire.