This week in Jerusalem 409957

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

Shabus (photo credit: MULI GOLDBERG)
(photo credit: MULI GOLDBERG)
The Grateful Dead 
A municipal project in the city center may quickly become a new point of conflict with the Muslim community.
The project, which the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee approved a week ago, involves the construction of a hotel on the grounds of what is today the Experimental School. However, two major obstacles stand in the project’s way: the lack of an acceptable solution for where to relocate the school, and the fact that a large part of the plot is currently a Muslim cemetery.
The location, on the lower part of Hillel Street, is close to the Mamilla graveyard, which has been at the center of the controversy over the Museum of Tolerance’s construction. The capital’s oldest Muslim cemetery, it dates back to approximately the 12th century and has already been damaged by the work on the museum. As such, there is serious concern that reactions to the hotel plan might be even harsher.
The High Court of Justice has already allowed the construction of the museum, though, and at Safra Square, the understanding is that this time the result – in the event of an appeal – will be the same.
Shabus out of town
The “Shabus” enterprise – private buses from various neighborhoods to the city center and back on Fridays evenings, at a reduced cost and with non-Jewish drivers – is gaining support: This week, it has reached Mevaseret Zion and Ma’aleh Adumim. Between 6 p.m. and 4 a.m. every Friday night, the minibuses travel from Arnona, French Hill, Pisgat Ze’ev, the German Colony, Talpiot, Kiryat Hayovel, Beit Hakerem and Rehavia to the city center.
For details on when the next Shabus will ride into your neighborhood, you can check the Glimpse application.
Signs of conflict
The decision to display traffic signs forbidding driving instructors to drive inside the Arnona neighborhood has caused a lot of anger among critics and counter-critics. The signage forbids entry only on Shabbat, which some say makes it clear that the move targets Arab instructors – those most affected by the prohibition.
Neighborhood activists, with the backing of Meretz city council members, have issued a call to remove the signs, and the council approved the decision last week – but the signs are still there. The president of the driving instructors’ association in the Arab sector, Akram Tutah, posted a video of the signs on his Facebook wall alongside an expression of his fellows instructors’ resentment, but this, too, has failed to produce concrete results for the moment.
La Familia strikes again
Following the disgrace of local Beitar Jerusalem fans’ disorderly conduct last week in Charleroi, Belgium, Mayor Nir Barkat invited members of the soccer team’s fan association in the city to a meeting this week. There, Barkat made it clear that the police were planning drastic steps against the troublemakers and their supporters, to “eradicate the racism and hooliganism that has invaded the club’s fan association.” The mayor added that he welcomed the fan group’s condemnation of these acts, and that everything possible must be done to eradicate the bad influence in the association.
He also called on Beitar owner Eli Tabib – who has vowed to sell the soccer club in the wake of these events – to hand the team over to someone else for free, “just as he [Tabib] got it free of charge