This Week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

A new free shuttle will run between Givat Shaul (pictured) and northern parts of Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A new free shuttle will run between Givat Shaul (pictured) and northern parts of Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Here, there and everywhere
Here is good news for those who work in Givat Shaul and Har Hotzvim, two of the largest employment centers in the city.
The municipality – together with the Environment Ministry and the Jerusalem Development Authority – is launching a free shuttle that will run at specific hours along a fixed route that includes Givat Shaul, Har Hotzvim and northern residential points in the city. This project’s aim is to provide more public transportation that meets the exact needs of residents, following surveys run by the Master Plan for Public Transportation in the City.
Registration is required and users will receive special identity cards with their photos. As many as 13,000 employees working in the area will be eligible for this service – at a cost of NIS 1.3 m. In addition to commuter convenience, benefits of taking the shuttle instead of driving private vehicles include reducing pollution, easing traffic at rush hours and ameliorating the parking situation near the congested work sites. More details at
Moving in, knitted kippa-style
Apartments with balcony views of the Temple Mount, with the Great Synagogue nearby and the Western Wall within walking distance, have apparently spurred dozens of families from the national-religious sector to purchase units and move to the Boutique Hanevi’im project on 25 Hanevi’im Street.
Purchasers include well-off couples, who about a year ago began relocating from central cities such as Petah Tikva, Ra’anana and Kfar Saba as well as from Judea and Samaria, who are downsizing from their large homes. A considerable portion of the apartments have also been acquired by American and French buyers. A central sales point is that the building is situated on private land, not church-owned land.
Good news for those with the funds to afford it, but not necessarily the lower-cost housing that would make living in Jerusalem accessible to the average buyer.
A blogger, architect and an artist
Gallery Agrippas 12, the first and only member-owned art gallery in the city, is launching an interesting new exhibition.
On Thursday September 28, Sharon Raz, the noted blogger, architect and photographer who documents old and abandoned sites, will be hosted by the gallery to present his latest works – this time his paintings.
Oded Zaidel, a partner and one of the founders of the gallery, will present his most recent photographs, although he is primarily a painter. Zaidel’s work is focused on neglected and abandoned industrial zones that he has been documenting for years.
Gallery Agrippas 12 is located on Agrippas Street near the Mahaneh Yehuda market, with the entrance through Alboher Alley. The doors open at 8 p.m. There will be a gallery talk on the last day of the exhibition, on October 21. Free.
Fire, fire
According to figures provided by the firefighting authority, some 657 fires were reported in the Jerusalem region in July and August, about 100 cases more than the same period last year.
The increase is attributed to the summer’s acute dryness and heat waves. Some fires were the result of human error; others were deliberately set. These figures pertain only to fires in open and public spaces, and do not include fires in private venues as houses or buildings.
Even when comparing only extremely serious cases of fires necessitating the deployment of more than a usual team of up to 10 firefighters, there has been a significant increase, with four such cases this year compared to only one in 2016. One of those serious fires broke out in Lifta and the Jerusalem Forest on July 20, requiring residents threatened by the heavy smoke to be evacuated – including from a seniors’ home.
Game over
Is it the end of the political career of city councilor and member of the coalition Rami Levy?
Levy was arrested for further investigation earlier this week and released with conditions: he is under house arrest until the end of the police investigation. On Monday morning, however, the police granted him permission to leave his home to take part in the bi-annual celebration of the Orfali community – of which Levy is a prominent member – to mark the period of slihot (special prayers for the days preceding Rosh Hashana).
Levy, the mogul of the supermarket chain bearing his name, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud linked to his recently opened mall in Mevaseret Zion. The other suspects arrested in connection with the case are members of the Mevaseret local council who allegedly enabled Levy to obtain special conditions for this project.
Several Jerusalem city council members – including deputy mayor and president of the planning and constructing commission, Meir Turgeman – showed up at the celebration of the community and openly declared that there is no way Levy could be involved in any case of fraud or felony. Sources at Safra Square, however, say – cautiously at this stage – that this might be the end of his political path, since Mayor Nir Barkat will never tolerate any city councillor at his side being involved or even suspected of such acts.
Levy tried to resign from the council several times in the past, but has remained following Barkat’s call for him not to do so.