This week in Jerusalem 436229

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Moshe Kahlon
End of war
The outburst between Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Mayor Nir Barkat has ended in a generous peace treaty – with NIS 100 million in additional funds for the city, in compensation for the damage caused by the current terrorism wave. Barkat first had to apologize for the campaign he publicly launched, getting municipality employees involved; Kahlon then decided to act as a gracious winner and finally allocated the money – NIS 70m. as a grant for enhancing city businesses, and NIS 30m. for short-term loans with very good conditions for businesses experiencing difficulties.
At Safra Square, all wish that the end of this tension will not repeat itself, and that from now on, Jerusalem’s needs will be addressed before protests are required.
In two separate cases last week, Arab residents of the city openly expressed their opposition to the glorification of martyrdom among very young children.
In one case, a father of a young terrorist (he has not identified himself by name) wrote on someone’s else Facebook wall that it is wrong to glorify these young people, who “go to die without even really understanding what death means”; while the second case involved a journalist.
Ehab al-Jariri, a Palestinian journalist living in the capital, posted an open call on his Facebook for Palestinian youth to “step out of this conflict,” adding “this is an adult issue, not for young boys and girls to get involved in” and beseeching Arab residents to stop lionizing the death of youngsters involved in terrorist attacks, as has happened more than once recently.
At the municipality’s education department, steps have been taken recently in this direction, such as introducing talks between social workers, educators and students in the schools, with the active participation of the parents association representatives in Arab neighborhoods. Last week, a meeting took place with the participation of municipality director-general Amnon Merhav, many of these representatives and education department professional staff, to find ways to reduce as much as possible the involvement of youth in the terrorism wave.
One decision made during the meeting was to place guards at the entrance of Arab high schools in the city, to prevent students from leaving to participate in acts of terrorism.
Saving Shabbat
The ultra-Orthodox Committee for the Sanctity of Shabbat, aimed at preventing desecration of the holy day in Jerusalem, is not satisfied by the achievements of the haredi list in the city council. Despite being part of the mayor’s coalition, the nine members of the two Ashkenazi haredi lists have failed to prevent the opening of new restaurants and bars that do business on Shabbat. As a result, the committee – in which several groups of haredim are represented, including the Eda Haredit – have decided to organize their own patrol around open venues on Shabbat, to convince people not to take part in the desecration.
Rabbi Amir Krispal, a committee member, says the tactic will be to track places that break the law – which defines exactly what is permitted and what is forbidden for such places on Shabbat – and call on the municipality to implement the law. Another step will be to add more Druse inspectors, who will check the situation on the ground on Shabbat and holidays.
Another way
A joint project between the Jerusalem Police and the municipality’s education department is focusing on at-risk youth on the edge of criminality. The eight-week program is comprised of learning, community work and social activities, all aimed at offering youth an alternative to the slippery slope. In return for completing the program, participants – who already have at least one file with police – have their files expunged. The program includes visits to the High Court of Justice, civic lessons, tips to cope with school studies and community work in their neighborhoods. The first group, 28 boys and girls, just finished the program