This week in Jerusalem 455247

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
In our hands
Here is some good news, unsurprisingly released close to Jerusalem Day (celebrating 49 years of a reunited city).
The Jerusalem 2020 plan – presented by Mayor Nir Barkat to promote the development of the city in various fields, and which the council already approved for last year’s Jerusalem Day – has now been ratified and financially backed by the government.
The plan, authored two years ago by a group of experts led by Profs.
Michael Porter and Richard Florida, includes projects with investors, businesses, industries and more. It focuses on Jerusalem’s natural advantages and enhances the ways these can be developed for the city and its residents; sectors for investment include bio-med, culture, medical sciences, hi-tech and academic institutions.
Please stay
Following the High Court of Justice appeal submitted by the mayor against the plan to move the new Israel Broadcasting Authority from the capital to Modi’in, MK David Amsalem, chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee, has joined the effort to prevent the move.
At last week’s committee meeting, Amsalem, formerly an employee of the municipality and not known to be a great fan of Barkat, required the Justice Ministry representative to explain the decision approving the departure from the capital – in apparent violation of the law specifying that any public broadcasting service must operate from Jerusalem.
The official justification for the move is that appropriate facilities have not been found here for the new public broadcasting authority, but Amsalem does not view this as reason enough to break the law. While all wait for the High Court decision, Amsalem announced he was working on an amendment to the existing law, “so that nobody will try to interpret it” in a way permitting the move.
He called on the prime minister to “get involved in what is a real national issue.”
Ontario for Jerusalem
A prestigious delegation from Canada led by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and some of her ministers visited the city’s Bloomfield Science Museum last week to promote a collaborative program between that institution and the Ontario Science Center.
The two museums will focus on a joint international exhibition on innovation, development of informal education in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as promoting scientific education among girls – one of the main achievements of the Bloomfield Museum.
During her visit, Wynne met with the awardees of the Young Scientists and Developers competition held at the museum.
Protecting the dead
The city’s finance committee approved a special budget of NIS 8.5 million this week to reinforce security at the Mount of Olives cemetery.
In view of repeated and increasingly violent attacks on mourners, visitors and facilities at the site, Barkat is acting to bolster security.
For years, the ancient graveyard has been a target of stone throwing, grave desecration, and dumping of garbage and filth among the tombs. The mayor’s proposal for a joint effort of the Israel Police, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Prime Minister’s Office has resulted in a new program to reinforce security during and after funerals.
There have been several new programs over the past 15 years to reinforce security at this important site, but they have not managed to completely solve the problem of violence and vandalism there.
Master chef, the healthy side
How can you maintain the freshness of ingredients in your restaurant? How can you ensure that everything inside stays clean and healthy? These questions and more will be answered as part of a special municipality initiative as part of a course for city chefs.
The course, in cooperation with MATI Jerusalem, aims to improve the quality of service provided by restaurants and eateries in the capital, and to help them get permits certifying compliance with the rules and requirements of the health department and city affairs.
This is one of several courses planned by the municipality; future ones will be aimed at enabling businesses owners in all fields to upgrade their offerings to the public.
Jerusalem Day – the alternative
Following instances where celebrations of the reunification of Jerusalem deteriorated into disturbances against Arab residents in the Old City, an attempt to keep this day more tranquil is underway this year.
A joint project of several groups, the effort will promote a more tolerant approach to Jerusalem Day, featuring activities such as civil debates between political opponents, yoga in three languages and volunteers addressing these issues with light rail passengers.
The Jerusalem Intercultural Center’s Michal Shilor, a key project organizer and mentor, says there are many occasions throughout the year for open dialogue between parties.
Jerusalem Day, however, had become a day when sides have tended to make less effort to listen to and understand each other, sometimes causing the atmosphere to become hostile.
This year the group will attempt to set a different tone for the day of celebration that is more inclusive and facilitates a dialogue of peace. More details at: or on Facebook (Yerushalayim Sovlanit.)
Signing at last
More than 500 employees of Yad Vashem this week signed a collective employment agreement that upgrades the status of 250 temporary workers to that of permanent employees with all relevant benefits.
The agreement is perceived by workers as “no less than a revolution,” according to Yiftach Meiri, president of the action committee formed to represent employees at the prestigious institution.
The last collective agreement between Yad Vashem and its employees was signed in 1988, when the Histadrut labor federation was the sole representative of workers’ committees.
The Koach La Ovdim – Democratic Workers’ Organization, a new general trade union that split from the Histadrut years ago, is the group behind this new agreement.