This week in Jerusalem 390144

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

Bicycle parking stands in Jerusalem (photo credit: JERUSALEM MUNICIPALITY)
Bicycle parking stands in Jerusalem
Recycling bottles
Bottle recycling may have been the subject of some negative attention lately, but for the children of Jerusalem, it is a mark of distinction: The city boasts the highest bottle-recycling rate (per child) in the country, according to Mayor Nir Barkat. Altogether, schoolchildren throughout the city increased their recycling by 20% in 2014 compared to the year before.
Congratulating the children on this achievement last week, Barkat expressed hope that Jerusalem would soon become the country’s leading city in terms of waste separation and management, thanks to a joint effort by the schools and the municipality to promote environmental issues and recycling.
During 2014, 34% more educational institutions joined the city’s recycling projects than in 2013, bringing the capital’s total number of recycled bottles to 3.5 million.
The Dvir Hadash school for children with special needs ranked first in this area among the city’s schools for the third consecutive year, having recycled 637 cans and bottles in 2014. One of its students, Muhammad Hamudi Subhi of Beit Safafa, represented the school at the ceremony that the municipality and the company in charge of gathering the bottles held in honor of the occasion.
Riding green
In an effort to encourage residents to leave their cars at home and use other modes of transportation to commute to work, the municipality is installing hundreds of bicycle parking stands throughout the city, mostly in the center of town.
In addition, residents will soon have access to a network of free shuttles that will take them to and from work. The shuttles will run from the Har Hotzvim area to Homat Shmuel and Gilo via the Begin Highway.
The Environmental Protection Ministry is earmarking a budget, which the municipality is matching, for the two projects in order to promote environmental services and improvements in the capital. The total cost is NIS 60,000 – a small price to pay to curb pollution in the city.
City council member Tamir Nir (Yerushalmim), who holds the transportation portfolio, said last week that it was the ministry’s agreement to finance the project – which had been in the works for a while – that had made it possible. He added that the project was only a first step toward reducing traffic and pollution in the city.
Folkman’s folly?
Roy Folkman, once one of Mayor Nir Barkat’s closest assistants and today No. 9 on Moshe Kahlon’s Koolanu list for the Knesset, found himself in an embarrassing situation recently.
One of the founders of the New Spirit student movement 10 years ago, he later worked for the municipality under Barkat as head of its Strategic Planning Administration. After a time, Folkman, one of the country’s foremost experts in that field, left the municipality and established his own company.
His company recently won a contract with the municipality for two large projects in his field of expertise: strategic planning for urban renewal.
No one disputes his ability to do the job, but the problem is that there was no public tender for the contract, as is required by law.
The municipality explained the move by saying that since Folkman was practically the only expert in that field, he could be exempted from a tender.
However, that’s not what city council member and Control Committee president Pepe Alalu (Meretz) thought, and he ordered that a public tender be published immediately.
Next generation
A new Youth Council – the council that represents the youth of the city, elected once a year following their annual convention at City Hall – has been elected. Oren Shabbat, 17, a student at the René Cassin High School, is the council’s new chairman, and its secretary-general is 17-year-old Noam Ben-Harush from the Reut High School.
The first item on the council’s agenda is to take serious and wide-ranging action against racism and violence among the city’s youth, both in schools and in places where teens hang out.
Mayor Nir Barkat, who was the guest of honor at the meeting, expressed support for that project and offered the municipality’s full cooperation.
He suggested a competition among the capital’s schools for that purpose, with a significant prize for the winners.
The Youth Council has 26 members, representing all the high schools in the city, with each school selecting its own representative. Its main task is to bring young people’s needs to the attention of the municipality’s education administration.
French welcome
More than 4,000 French Jewish families attended the municipality’s aliya fair in Paris on Sunday. The purpose of the gathering was to display the benefits and facilities that Jerusalem can offer immigrants should they choose to leave France and settle in the city.
A large team of representatives from various municipality departments – including education, employment, absorption, welfare and community services – answered participants’ questions. In addition, representatives of the Jerusalem Development Authority and the contractors’ union were on hand to give information about renting or purchasing apartments in the city.
At the head of the delegation was Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, who presented the services that the neighborhood councils and community centers had to offer – such as preschool and nursery programs, as well as afternoon programs for schoolchildren.
At present, Jerusalem has 30,000 French immigrants, most of whom arrived in the late 1970s. During 2014, 6,128 Jews made aliya from France; 961 of them chose Jerusalem, and the number of Jews from France who are interested in settling in the city is constantly growing, said Turgeman.
French delights
Want to eat some good French food but don’t want to go all the way to Paris? No problem as of next week – the third French Culinary Week will be celebrated in Israel, and of course, in the capital. Organized by the French Embassy and the French Institute of Israel, 21 French chefs will join Israeli restaurants and offer the public new and unique menus, showcasing the gastronomy of the Rhône-Alpes region. Executives from the Paul- Bocuse and Vatel cooking schools will participate, as will Gérald Passédat of Le Petit Nice, the first chef of a three- Michelin-starred restaurant to do so in Israel. Chef Simone Zanoni of the two- Michelin-starred Trianon Palace will also attend; opening in 2014, it is the first kosher gourmet restaurant in Paris under the auspices of the Beit Din. Bon appetit.
Defacing dancers
Signboards of the local Vertigo Dance Company were vandalized last weekend, with faces of the female dancers covered with black spraypaint.
The boards announcing a new company show, Global Vertigo, were on display on the side of Road 1 leading to the city, from Sakharov Gardens to the Bridge of Strings. This is not the first time this company’s signboards have been defaced, as the same thing happened last year; thus far, despite police investigations, no suspects have been arrested. The acts of vandalism occurred less than a week before the premiere of the show at the Jerusalem Theater. Vertigo is a professional, Jerusalem-based dance company sponsored by the municipality.
A new chapter for the Book Fair
The Jerusalem International Book Fair will run next week, from February 8 to 12, but unlike former years, the event has left its traditional location at the Jerusalem International Convention Center for a multi-location production.
The fair will take place at the First Station, the Cinematheque, the Khan Theater, the YMCA, Confederation House and Mishkenot Sha’ananim – with free entrance to all events in all locations. The Jerusalem Prize, awarded to an author who expresses in his writings the freedom of the individual in society, will be awarded this year to Ismail Kadare, Albania’s best-known poet and novelist, whose books have been translated into 30 languages. The prestigious prize will be awarded by Mayor Nir Barkat at the opening event. The location change may cause some difficulties for visitors from outside the city, who will have to navigate the city to reach the First Station and the additional locations (all in the Baka’a-Talpiot-Center area) but the event will be improved by the diversity of the sites, which are all among the best representatives of Jerusalem’s architectural charm. For more details and the detailed program of the fair, visit