Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

Misgav Ladach Street in the Jewish Quarter. (photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)
Misgav Ladach Street in the Jewish Quarter.
(photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)
Now you see it, now you don’t A new app launched by the Visitors’ Center in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter enables visitors to see a reconstruction of Jerusalem as it looked 2,000 years ago.
Special technology enables users to see the Temple Mount before the destruction of the Second Temple, without the two mosques currently on the top. In the aerial images, one may view a combination of past and present, depicting real people praying and standing by the Western Wall, while above them a virtual image of the Second Temple appears, which excludes the Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Feminism, the next generation
Should a municipal committee in charge of women’s rights be presided over by a woman? That is the question raised by city council member Laura Wharton (Meretz), who is challenging Aaron Leibowitz’s (Yerushalmim) position as head of the city’s committee on women’s status. Leibowitz replaced former councilwoman and leader of the list, Rachel Azaria, upon her moving to the Knesset. Since his appointment eight months ago, he has won respect and trust due to his deep involvement in women’s rights.
Wharton didn’t say that Leibowitz was not “feminist” enough for the position but stated that while almost all the senior positions at the municipality were still in the hands of men, putting this one in the hands of a man was perhaps too much.
Leibowitz has rejected Wharton’s complaint, arguing that he is a true feminist and, moreover, has been judicious about adding women to his team.
Act of war No. 1
Mayor Nir Barkat has decided to openly fight back against the government. Following the National Planning and Building Committee for Preferred Housing Projects’ decision to approve the construction of 1,650 units – 203 of them for senior residents – as part of the Mitzpe Neftoah (Ramot Slopes) project, despite city council opposition, Barkat wrote to panel members and to Construction Minister Yoav Galant. “No construction plans should be promoted without the participation and approval of the city,” he insisted, saying it is in fact a bypass to revive the Safdie Project, rejected a decade ago by the municipality.
Barkat announced he will appeal to the court on this matter, calling on the government and the committee to “instead focus on ways to add some 30,000 units that can be realized by adding to existing construction,” which would help consolidate city housing. As it stands, the project has been submitted to the Interior Ministry’s planning committee, where the public may present their objections.
Act of war No. 2
Mayor Nir Barkat also strongly reacted to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s refusal to provide financial compensation for businesses harmed due to the recent wave of terror in Jerusalem. In a letter to the minister shared with the media, Barkat insisted that it was time for Kahlon “to stop being disconnected from Jerusalem and instead announce his office’s highest possible support for the city rather than holding small and medium-sized business owners hostage to his politics.”
The issue behind these declarations is the request of the mayor and his coalition members that the government set aside special funds as compensation for the damage caused by the last wave of terror. Thus far, the treasury’s reply has been negative, and Barkat says that even his request for a meeting with Kahlon has not been granted, while the city suffers.
Peace through medicine
While it is still officially non-Zionist (not to mention openly anti-Zionist), a growing segment of the Eda Haredit (part of Natorei Karta) is taking part in several aspects of Israeli society. One of these cases happened last week when high-ranking officials from Hadassah University Medical Center were invited to the bar mitzva of the grandson of one of the community’s leading rabbis. Sources in Mea She’arim say that while medical issues have more or less been quietly accepted over the years for obvious reasons, this time there was something of an official step forward. In attendance were not just officials from Hadassah but also representatives from the Health Ministry – currently in the hands of United Torah Judaism, considered by Natorei Karta to be “collaborators” with the “Zionist state.”
The bar-mitzva boy’s grandfather, Rabbi Shimon Broyan, has been promoting some level of cooperation between the Eda Haredit and Hadassah. Officially, this is out of concern for the health of his constituency, but all agree that inviting them as well as Health Ministry representatives was more than just a polite gesture – and, as the source says, “the scope of the pragmatic approach to the state is getting larger.”
Walk on by me
In recent years, more cases of Alzheimer’s have been identified among younger adults, making it no longer the exclusive domain of the very elderly. Awareness and information about the earliest possible identification and handling of the disease are critical.
Melabev, the Jerusalem-based organization that has taken the lead in providing care for those with Alzheimer’s and support for their families, is holding its annual event next week. The Moonlight Walk – a symbol of the darkness that envelops the patients and the need to reduce the darkness of ignorance, fear and lack of awareness – will take place on November 24 in the Ness Harim area, with 2-km. and 3.5-km. routes offered, for family members, supporters, Melabev care team members and friends. The Windmill musical group will entertain marchers at the end of the path.
The center provides consultation, activities for patients and their families, and various options for care, also undertaking research on the disease. Registration and details: