A city guide to being the Jerusalem mayor

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Moshe (Chico) Edri (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Moshe (Chico) Edri
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A coveted covenant
A group representing several organizations in the city drew up a declaration of principles to guide mayoral candidates this year. Michal Shilor and Hagai Agmon-Snir of the Intercultural Center on Mount Zion played a leading role in the drafting of the document, whose four key principles are:
1) The mayor should take into consideration and provide for the needs of all residents in terms of municipal services. No resident or sector should be excluded.
2) The municipality should be attentive to initiatives promoted by activists, should encourage activists and include them in its projects.
3) The leadership should avoid being rooted in narrow political interests.
4) The mayor should seek to work with a large team that includes as many parties active in the city as possible.
Only candidates who accepted the covenant would get the support these associations; all four final candidates endorsed and signed it.
End of an era
Perhaps due to fatigue after three intensive years, Nino Peretz, the legendary president of the Mahaneh Yehuda Merchants’ Association, quit this week. He was close to Mayor Nir Barkat, and he was deeply involved in Ze’ev Elkin’s campaign. Not all of the merchants are upset that he is resigning; his involvement in politics may have caused some animosity toward the needs of the market now that one of Elkin’s rivals will be next mayor.
Peretz maintains that his departure is unconnected to Elkin’s failure. Elections for the next president of the association are due to take place within less than three months. As of now, there are no announced candidates.
Cemetery upgrade
NIS 19 million is being invested in a significant upgrading of the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Givat Shaul. The cemetery finally has an approved plan for its development; the municipality’s Moriah Jerusalem Development Corporation will do the work. Sidewalks, benches along the pathways, lighting and a sophisticated system of cameras and a monitoring center are some of the improvements scheduled.
This upgrade was made possible when the municipality obtained from the government complete responsibility over the cemetery, in which many Jews from overseas choose to be buried. Until now, development work for burials was done by the different Hevrot Kadisha operating there without any comprehensive plan for development and infrastructure.
Appointment appeal
Newly nominated to serve as police commissioner, Asst.-Ch. Moshe (Chico) Edri is facing an appeal from the Open House in Jerusalem against his nomination, due to his failure to prevent the murder of Shira Banki three years ago during the Pride Parade. Banki was stabbed to death by Yishai Shlissel, who had just been released after 10 years in prison for stabbing and injuring three people at the Pride Parade in 2005. Although Shlissel had expressed a desire to prevent the march, the police, then under Edri as Jerusalem chief of police, failed to take adequate steps to prevent the crime. Open House is urging the government and prime minister to reconsider the appointment.
Winter program gets a cold shoulder
Hamshushalayim, a project that began 10 years ago to encourage winter tourism to the capital, has reached its end. Officially, the decision is to retire the concept – three or four weeks of culture, arts, entertainment, food and hotels – and to launch something else.
Municipality sources say that part of the reason for terminating the project is the decision of the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry to discontinue its financing, but this ministry, headed by former mayoral candidate Ze’ev Elkin, never contributed directly to the financing of Hamshushalayim; it helped only by allocating a limited sum to its marketing. Most of the money came from the municipality, the Tourism Ministry (emphasizing the hotels) and the Jerusalem Development Authority.