This week in Jerusalem 438949

Peggy Cidor's round-up of city affairs.

Cinema City Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Cinema City Jerusalem
Thou shalt not eat
No less than 500 kilograms of meat, poultry and fish were destroyed following an inspection of district veterinary officials at the Hamotzi restaurant near Mahaneh Yehuda.
This second inspection at the well-known restaurant, the brainchild of MasterChef winner Avi Levy on the corner of Agrippas and Mashiah Baruchof streets, left no other option to the inspectors – who found meat without indication of its origin or date-of-use expiration, and poultry and fish not kept as required.
Numerous restaurants and eateries have opened in the famous market surroundings over the past few years, adding further appeal to a neighborhood that has become attractive to locals and visitors from across Israel and abroad. However, some merchants have claimed that the health services have not always been effective enough, and that despite a significant improvement in the cleaning of the market area, sanitation is still not up to par in many cases.
As a result of the findings at Hamotzi, a lawsuit was submitted against the owners, but the restaurant has not been required to shut down for now.
Levy responded on his Facebook account that his products were a well-known Tnuva brand, and that the lack of labels on them was the result of a practical decision not to store full packages of meat in his freezer, but rather to separate them into pieces.
He commented in his post that he couldn’t understand how, on top of all the difficulties restaurant owners face – including repercussions from the security situation – he now had to cope with attempts to ruin his reputation.
The fact that the inspection team arrived with a TV crew led him to the conclusion that this was a planned ambush, Levy said.
The inspection team, which operates within the Health Ministry, noted that it had already checked the restaurant on a recent visit, and the same results were found then as well.
Nano art
A joint project of the Hebrew University and Jerusalem Municipality combines art and nanotechnology for a variety of original applications, such as a nano puppet theater and innovative nanometric technology for the treatment of certain types of cancer.
Several local artistic dance groups, such as Machol Shalem and Hazira, are involved in this special project, which brings together different worlds. Launched this past week, the project aims to bring into play the classical approach combining scientists and artists in line with the vision of Leonardo da Vinci, proposing an ongoing encounter between the two sectors. Each discipline will submit a joint project (embracing both the sciences and art) to a jury that will chose the best one for the year 2016.
Off the roof
The roof of the Cinema City complex is now officially illegal, and has to be removed and replaced by March 2017.
Following a decision of the appeal commission from March 29, it has been ruled that the roof is built according to an illegal construction permit, and changes in the present situation must be completed within a year.
The decision deals with two different elements of the situation – first, that roof is higher than the nearby official governmental buildings – among them the Supreme Court. Another problematic aspect is the use of the roof as a closed area that has become a roofed mall, for which no permit has been given. However, despite the finding that the height of the visitors’ center established on that roof is illegal, the court did not demand that immediate action be taken now that construction is completed.
The complex was originally designed to include an open space for the use of the public at that location – beneath the Foreign Ministry, the State Comptroller’s Office and the (planned) new prime minister’s residence – but is now, in fact, a closed and roofed area for business (a mall) with a paying entry. The court has given the owner until January 2017 to restore the situation in compliance with original plans.
Agripas 12, the first – and so far only – collective art gallery in the city, presents an exhibition as of tomorrow (Saturday) of new works by Alejandra Okret – “Fe de Erratas.”
Curator Tamar Gispan-Greenberg has gathered new works of Okret, who is herself a member of the gallery collective.
A gallery talk will be presented on Friday, January 22, and the exhibition itself will be launched on January 2 at 7 p.m.
The gallery, located at 12 Agrippas Street, has become the home of various artists who periodically present their works there. The collective approach enables the artists to expose their works to the public without having to be part of private galleries, instead sharing their love for the arts and their capacity to operate collectively.
Hit the roads
A petition by the Ir Amim NGO to the Jerusalem District Court regarding the conditions of the roads in Kafr Akab (a neighborhood that is part of the city but situated beyond the security barrier) has received a positive court response. Residents of the north Jerusalem neighborhood initiated the petition.
The court ruled that the municipality, which is obligated to provide services to all of its taxpaying residents, must produce a plan for the development, improvement and repair of roads – including sidewalks, which are totally nonexistent there – as well as the sewage system. The municipality is required to fulfill the court’s decision within three months. In addition, the municipality was ordered to pay the appellants the court’s costs of NIS 25,000.
Advocate Moyen Odeh, who presented the appeal, said that this was the first time that the court ordered the municipality to fulfill its obligation to its residents.
We’ll meet in court
Mayor Nir Barkat last Tuesday submitted an appeal to the local court against the Interior Ministry’s Planning and Construction Committee, following its submission of construction plans for Mitzpe Neftoah.
Barkat, backed by residents and the city council, is strongly opposed to the plan, which threatens one of the largest green areas in the northern area of the city.
Despite the city council vote against the plan, it was pushed ahead for ministry approval.
The mayor has vowed in the past that he would not hesitate to go to court if the plan is submitted – and he implemented his declaration this past week. The construction plan is part of the former “Safdie Plan” to develop Jerusalem’s western side, planned and presented during the tenure of former mayor Ehud Olmert, and rejected 10 years ago by the city council.
Thanks to...?
Following the decision of the High Court of Justice on the Holyland affair, delivered this past Tuesday, one of the defendants, former mayor Uri Lupolianski, went to the Western Wall and did celebratory dances surrounded by family members and friends.
Lupolianski was sentenced to six years in jail for his part in arguably the city’s greatest scandal, for having taken a bribe of NIS 3 million to enable illegal construction in the extended project.
The High Court did not exonerate him from the accusation or from the verdict of the Tel Aviv District Court sentencing him to prison, but the judges decided to excuse him from serving jail time due to his poor health.
His sentence was commuted to six months of community service – but it never freed him from culpability.
Therefore, for many observers and residents, the burst of joy expressed in the dancing and a press release issued on the same day – in which Lupolianski compares himself to King David, no less, who praised the Lord upon his deliverance from his enemies – is embarrassing and in poor taste.
The former mayor also thanked also his wife and family for their support, and of course Yad Sarah, the nonprofit he established and to which he funneled the bribery funds.
Lupolianski is still convinced of his innocence and adheres to his position that the money was intended as a donation for Yad Sarah, and that it never occurred to him that it was for bribery.