This week in Jerusalem: Frightened neighborhood

Residents of French Hill are upset about the rallies in the nearby Arab village of Isawiya.

French Hill 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
French Hill 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Frightened neighborhood
Residents of French Hill are upset about the rallies in the nearby Arab village of Isawiya.
Last week, a large group of young Palestinians, their faces masked, marched through the streets of the village carrying guns and, according to some Jewish residents, even firing them. Residents claim that it took a long time until the police intervened and put an end to the demonstration. As a result, a group of French Hill residents who live near the entrance to Isawiya asked the police to block two of the entrances to the village and let only one be open. Ezra, who lives near one of the entrances, says the situation has become worse over the past few months, and the Jewish residents feel the police are not doing enough to protect them.
The local neighborhood council organized a few meetings between the Jewish residents and representatives from Isawiya, who maintained that it was mostly acts of provocation by some youth, while most of the village residents wanted to live in peaceful coexistence with their Jewish neighbors.
Among other claims, the French Hill residents say they are subjected to what they consider blatant provocation by young Arabs who drive through the neighborhood at night at top speed, putting the residents in danger. The police have decided to add more night patrols and to consider further steps.
Echoes from the past
The Israel Antiquities Authority has discovered some archeological remains from the Hasmonean period. The findings were discovered in excavations in Kiryat Hayovel under Hantke Street, one of the neighborhood’s main arteries (on the way to Hadassah- University Medical Center, Ein Kerem). According to the IAA archeologists, the findings will provide a lot of information. Not a lot is known about the customs of daily life in the Hasmonean period, so these findings will shed light on that era. So now that we have a chance to learn about the daily life of our ancestors, perhaps it will help us understand how residents should live today.
A Pilates pioneer
Body and Soul, the first Pilates studio in Jerusalem, is celebrating its 13th anniversary this month. Meira Eliash-Inbar, who has returned from spending a few years in the US, decided to introduce Jerusalemites to the secrets of a healthy body through this technique. Her studio was the first to introduce to the public what had been reserved for professional dancers. In addition to an impressive array of mechanical devices, the opening of the studio was more the result of her personal need. After practicing Pilates for many years in New York, Eliash-Inbar wanted to continue doing so in Jerusalem, so she opened her own place. The first task was to find professional instructors for the specialized training. Since then, many others have taken the initiative, and today Jerusalem has a wide variety of Pilates studios. But on its 13th anniversary, it’s nice to remember the pioneer.
Poetry, the right side
Poetry has been a highly esteemed subject in this city since the time of King David. For generations, poets have praised the charms of Jerusalem in almost every language and style, and now another style has been added to the list. A group of residents, led by Adam Dobrzynski, has created a group called Poets for Israel (in Hebrew it is called Poets to the Right of Israel). The members plan to focus, develop and share poetry that is based on the love of the country and the Zionist ideology. Considering that most of the poetry these days more focused more on individual expression, this move sounds innovative. But what remains to be proven is that ideology produces good poetry, no matter what the poet’s opinions are. For the moment, Dobrzynski promises that the poets in his group will share their love of the homeland and the people with high-quality poetry for the delight of us all, or at least for poetry aficionados.
Artistic tunnel
Ever walked through the dark, narrow tunnel beneath the Jerusalem Central Bus Station? Over the years, it has become a shelter for the homeless. After all, the snack bars that were there in the 1990s have closed down one by one. Instead, the tunnel has become a non-sheltering place, at least for women walking there alone at night, as well as teenagers, who have been attacked or cursed by alcoholics or junkies hanging around.
Well, a new era has dawned on the tunnel as the result of an initiative by a group of local teenagers. Extensive renovation work has been done there, and murals by artists – locals and foreigners – now adorn the interior walls of the tunnel. The teens, all members of a team working on social topics for a local TV channel operating from the Ginot Ha’ir neighborhood community center, have taken it upon themselves to rehabilitate the place. Things have reached such a high level of involvement that Mayor Nir Barkat has approved an annual budget to maintain the graffiti and the murals in the tunnel – and elsewhere in the city.
Dancing the Jerusalem Syndrome
The Jerusalem Dance Theater and choreographer Lior Lev will feature a new work inspired by one of the most well-known symbols of this city – Jerusalem Syndrome – which annually strikes scores of people from around the world, of all religions and beliefs. The work is a choreographic expression of the relation between reality and imagination, like the syndrome itself.
The premiere takes place on December 16 at 9 p.m. at the Gerard Behar Center. For those who are not familiar with the various expressions of Jerusalem Syndrome, the dance company will present the work to the residents of Tel Aviv at the Suzanne Dellal Center. Who knows? This might reduce some of their fears of the Holy City.
For details and tickets, call 625-1139.