This week in Jerusalem 409202

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Tamir Nir
Commuting to work
Yerushalmim city councilman Tamir Nir’s pledge to launch a shuttle service to Har Hotzvim for Gilo and Har Homa residents is coming to fruition. Residents of these two large neighborhoods in the city’s southeast who work in Har Hotzvim on the opposite side of town have been suffering for years from a lack of direct transportation to and from work.
The heavy traffic, as well as the need to change buses at least twice in order to reach their destination, has been a long-standing issue.
Nir, who at the start of his involvement with Yerushalmim put the need for good public transportation at the top of his list, has finally managed to launch the project. Last Monday, the first shuttle was initiated. It is being provided free of charge with funding from the municipality, the Environmental Protection Ministry and Har Hotzvim’s administration.
The project’s major purpose is to reduce the use of private cars as much as possible and, in so doing, lower the pollution levels in the city.
Shabbat at the movies
For those who were planning to spend Shabbat at the movies more often with the opening of the Abu Tor center, there is some bad news. Slated to open on July 15, the center is still not operational, and no alternative opening date has yet been announced. The Abu Tor complex, in which YES Planet will screen movies seven days a week, was supposed to offer an alternative to Cinema City, which is not permitted to open on Shabbat. The Abu Tor center also includes shops and restaurants, which are not ready to open, either.
Sixteen cinema halls will be awaiting spectators in Abu Tor, with 300 seats in each. The owners of Cinema City might be very interested in being open on Shabbat as well, but thus far it is not happening, as there is some concern about the difficulty of competing with a new place that was designed to function on Shabbat from the start.
Back at city hall
Many remember her as the heart and soul of the first phases of Hitorerut, which ultimately raised the faction from a bunch of young adults determined to remain in Jerusalem to a large, four-seat party on the city council. Today Meirav Cohen, married and the mother of two, is back at Safra Square. She is not on the city council this time but rather will serve as director of the city’s newly established Economic Development Council, aimed primarily at assisting young adults undertake financial and businesses activities in the capital.
Cohen, who left the council three years ago, declared at the time that she was not convinced the political arena was the only one in which she could promote her projects.
After heading the Israel Consumer Association for a year, she is back at Safra Square as part of the new generation of leaders carrying out the mayor’s vision to promote all aspects of Jerusalem life that could keep the young generation here.
And one out of Safra Square
Yossi Sharabi, director of the Culture and Leisure Department at the municipality, is leaving to become CEO of the Culture and Sports Ministry. Sharabi, who began his career at the Jerusalem Society for Community Centers and Local Councils, and then led the Pisgat Ze’ev Local Council, has been working at the municipality since 1998.
He has a degree in law and has been a major force behind the recent cultural events in the city center, among other projects. For the moment, it is not clear who will replace Sharabi, as he is moving to his new position at the end of the month.
A journey through time
A new activity for Jerusalem lovers and visitors to the city during August: daily guided and self-guided tours of the Old City’s northern walls, including the Roman Square (beneath the walls) and Zedekiah’s Cave, which will be open to the public for the first time. The guided tours, organized by East Jerusalem Development Ltd., will provide an opportunity to learn about various layers of the city’s history and discover some of its ancient secrets. There will be three tours daily, the first at 9 a.m. in English. Cost: NIS 35 for adults; NIS 18 for children, seniors and students. For more information:
Swimming in East Talpiot
The first in a series of neighborhood swimming pools planned by the municipality is being constructed in East Talpiot.
Earlier this week, Mayor Nir Barkat and newly appointed Jerusalem Foundation president Johanna Arbiv laid the cornerstone for the $35 million pool, which will be located in front of the Seligsberg High School. Construction has been made possible through a donation by the Alan Greenberg family of the US, one of the foundation’s longstanding supporters.
This pool will be followed by additional pools in several other neighborhoods – including one in Beit Hanina – providing more community and familial leisure and sports activities in the capital.