This week in Jerusalem 494546

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

On Jerusalem Day last Wednesday, members of the Tag Meir movement presented flowers to passersby in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter (photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/TAG MEIR)
On Jerusalem Day last Wednesday, members of the Tag Meir movement presented flowers to passersby in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter
(photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/TAG MEIR)
For and against
While thousands of Israelis, locals and visitors from across the country and the world celebrated 50 years since the day IDF paratroops commander Motta Gur announced that the Temple Mount was in our hands, there were at least 50 Jews from the US who preferred to protest against the celebration gathered at the Damascus Gate.
They demonstrated together with some Palestinians to make their point against this special day. After a while, the group tried to prevent the police from shutting down shops along the path of the Flag Dance; four demonstrators were arrested. Meanwhile, a small group of Jewish merchants on the western side of the city decided to shut down their own businesses in solidarity with the shopkeepers on the eastern side ordered by the police to shut down.
But the center of attention was the growing number of Jerusalemites who celebrated in a march along the former railway line that has become Mesila Park, in a celebration of the reunification of the capital. They distanced themselves from the march through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, which necessitated the temporary closure of Arab shops. Instead, a few dozen peace activists marched through the Muslim Quarter and down Salah a-Din Street and presented flowers to passersby.
Planning Beit Hakerem
Residents of Beit Hakerem who are strongly opposed to new plans for their neighborhood submitted a few weeks ago to the local planning committee have presented their detailed opposition to the plan. While committee chairman Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman has already expressed his reservations regarding the plan, it is not clear whether there will be a totally new plan – as requested by the residents – or just a few changes that seem far from satisfying.
The committee is to meet on Tuesday, June 6 and, according to neighboring activists it might be a stormy one. Residents oppose not only the plan to add a few high-risers to the neighborhood, but the entire general plan, which they fear would change completely the quiet character of the neighborhood.
Jerusalem in San Diego
Another less expected aspect of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem could be found in The San Diego Jewish World, which published a long and detailed article on the changes undergone by the city since June 1967 accompanying a guided tour of the city led by Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkowitz. Writer Yoni Peres depicted the story of Jerusalem over the last 50 years through all its political, social, economic and security aspects.
Jewish readers in San Diego now know almost everything they need to know about the development of the city and the plans for the next 50 years. Most importantly, they can learn what Diaspora Jews can do to support these large plans – not only through donations, but first and foremost by visiting and spending time here.
Food for the soul
Artists House, one of Jerusalem’s most venerable art institutions (founded by Boris Shatz, who created the Bezalel Art Academy) is launching a series of exhibitions during this month. One that is raising attention is works of Peter Yaakov Meletz, recipient of the Meiron Sima Visual Arts Prize for this year. Meletz will guide visitors through his exhibition, called “Open Me a Gate,” and will give a gallery talk on Saturday, June 24, at noon in the upper gallery at Artist House.
Waiting for the train
Following the total helplessness of the Transportation Ministry and the municipality facing the refusal, thus far, of the CityPass company to reach an agreement on the financial aspects of the light rail line to Hadassah-University Hospital Medical Center in Ein Kerem, the Knesset is taking action. Earlier this week a special public meeting chaired by MK Israel Eichler announced that this situation cannot continue and urged the ministry and the municipality to find a quick solution.
The extension of the Red Line to Hadassah has been delayed for almost three years, mostly due to disagreement between the parties over the final cost of the project and, more specifically, whose responsibility it is. One of the results of this situation was the decision by Mayor Nir Barkat not to sign a new contract with the company for the additional lines of the light rail.
The last battle
The Israel Antiquities Authority has revealed some findings that indicate where the last battle for Jerusalem took place some 2,000 years ago. Ancient arrowheads and catapult stones were found in a dig financed by the City of David – Elad association, which established and runs the archeological park just below the Old City’s Dung Gate.
The findings reveal the path of a road where some of the most bitter battles during the destruction of the Temple occurred. These findings are on display, while the IAA plans to continue excavating the road for the next five years.