This week in Jerusalem 485638

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

The Jerusalem Film Festival at the Sultan’s Pool (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jerusalem Film Festival at the Sultan’s Pool
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A new era
The plan ready for more than a year has been kept secret from almost all city council members. Totally approved and supported by the head of the local planning and construction committee, the idea is to build a completely new, wellplanned neighborhood for haredim, remote from the rest of the city, which would take into consideration all the particular housing needs of the sector – including succa balconies – and would put an end to the mass entry of haredi families into secular neighborhoods.
Everything was ready, apart from the green light to publish the project and call for tenders to build. Among the reasons for this delay was the fact that the planned neighborhood is located beyond the post-June 1967 lines.
But now, mostly due to the change in the American-Israeli political atmosphere, the project has been made public.
The new neighborhood for the ultra-Orthodox near the old Atarot airport in the northern part of the city is to incorporate 10,000 to 15,000 units, parks and all the facilities required to make it one of Jerusalem’s most attractive projects.
Risky balconies
Are you a resident of Rehavia, Malha, Beit Hakerem or Ramot who has built a balcony over the past few years? You may be among the 150 residents who have been required of late to run a special engineering inspection for safety of the balcony. The request comes from the dangerous buildings administration office at the municipality, following concern that in these cases, the balconies were planned by a practical engineer and not, as required by the law, by a certified engineer. Upon receiving the letter from the municipality, residents are required to schedule such an inspection, which they have to pay for, and undertake all corrective measures requested by the inspecting engineer.
Those who do not do so within 14 days from receipt of the request are subject to a NIS 3,150 fine.
No music tonight
Musical events at the Sultan’s Pool are treasured experiences for music lovers, but can be something of a nightmare for the residents of the Yemin Moshe neighborhood, located just above the site.
After a few years of struggles between the residents and the municipality (and later on against Ariel, the city’s subsidiary company) an arrangement was worked out limiting the number of events during the summer season.
Now, however, Ariel is attempting to significantly increase the number of events scheduled for the coming summer to include a variety of performances and special festivities linked to the 50th anniversary of the city’s reunification.
The local residents are split among themselves.
Some are willing to acquiesce to changes in the agreement, but they seem to be a minority. The majority of the residents, represented by a local committee, refuse to countenance changes to the agreement they worked out.
By seeking to stage 40 events instead of the 27 that both sides had consented to, Ariel has stirred up old resentments among residents of the prestigious neighborhood who do not want to spend so much of their summer besieged by noise until the late hours of the night.
Some of the residents opposing the expanded event schedule claim that even now some of the events continue beyond the agreed-upon 11 p.m. closing hour.
Where have all the containers gone?
A number of city residents have been suffering from a shortage of green garbage containers for several weeks. Complaints have reached the municipality from neighborhoods such as Bayit Vagan, Kiryat Hayovel and even Homat Shmuel (Har Homa). In some cases, residents have been told that the shortage is due to a lack of budget for these bins, since so many of them were burnt during protests in haredi neighborhoods such as Mea She’arim and Geula.
Burning garbage containers during protests has been going on in the haredi sector for years. The municipality’s attempts to reduce such occurrences by imposing fines through the local community centers in those neighborhoods have met with little success.
Nevertheless, a municipality spokesman assured In Jerusalem that there is neither a shortage of new containers nor a budget shortage to purchase more. The simple truth is that the municipality’s cleaning department works according to a schedule that determines when to buy new containers and add them to the already existing ones. New containers should be distributed soon in neighborhoods experiencing a shortage.
Beware of suspicious food
Hundreds of kilograms of food – including significant amounts of meat – cooked and raw – were destroyed by Health Ministry inspectors during a recent inspection in the Mahaneh Yehuda area. The food items deemed not fit for human consumption and designated for destruction included salads, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish.
Some 200 kg. of food was removed from the outdoor market’s well-known Tzidkiyahu Delicatessen, as well as 100 kg. of meat from the nearby Jerusalem Steakiya. This action occurred at a particularly sensitive time, during the period before holidays.
Working together with the public health services of the municipality, the department’s inspectors have issued a guide for safe purchase of meat, poultry and fish in the various shops of the city.
Good deeds
Massuda Malka celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday, and the touching gathering marking the occasion became one of the highlights of the special Good Deeds Day observed across the country.
The figures reflect the fact that a growing number of people are showing interest in Good Deeds Day. No fewer than 40,000 residents – from students to senior citizens – participated in a series of projects and events exemplifying solidarity between different parts of society.
Malka did not celebrate alone; one of the most touching events of the day of good deeds was a party for nonagenarians.
These seniors shared many of their fascinating stories and memories, attended a dance show and enjoyed a program of popular songs.
This party was followed by another, organized by Café Europa and held at Safra Square. Holocaust survivors and residents of the city were invited to dance, celebrate and enjoy an exhibition of works of art created by some of them. Volunteers at Yad Sarah facilities, thousands of residents from the Arab sector, and many other people also took part in various activities planned throughout the city on this special day.
One trim too many
Residents in the Har Nof neighborhood are concerned that the municipality may have changed its policy regarding trees in their neighborhood. Considering the relatively high number of trees that have recently been uprooted or drastically trimmed, some have tried to find out what has changed on the issue.
A spokesman for the municipality explained that the consistent policy of the department at Safra Square that takes care of the preservation of nature and green environment in the city is to take good care of those that already exist and add more trees wherever possible. Routine trimming, it was explained, might sometimes seem a bit extreme to non-professional eyes, yet it is beneficial for the trees and a key part of the program for care.
Uprootings are quite rare, added the spokesman.
Avoided whenever possible, removal is generally the last resort in cases where trees have been attacked by parasites and can’t be saved.