This Week in Jerusalem: Overdose of support

Peggy Cidor's round up of city affairs

‘I am running because I love this city’: Avi Salman (photo credit: ILAN AMOUYAL)
‘I am running because I love this city’: Avi Salman
(photo credit: ILAN AMOUYAL)
Overdose of support
At this stage in the municipal election campaign, candidates begin to spotlight their supporters. On Tuesday, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin and Deputy Mayor Moshe Lion led the way, although it caused some embarrassment. Elkin presented the president of the Histadrut, Avi Nissenkorn, while Lion presented none other than Danny Bonfil, the president of the Jerusalem region for the same organization. While Nissenkorn cannot direct syndicated workers in Jerusalem to vote for Elkin, Bonfil has significant influence over some 70,000 employees in the jurisdiction. Bonfil, however, is a convicted law-breaker and this particular support may not please all potential voters.
Fire, fire
A Monday night arson incident caused considerable damage to the headquarters of candidate Avi Salman and to the residential apartment on the same story. Salman said that he has received phone and mail threats following his public opposition to the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem and believes that the arson attack was also the “work” of members or supporters of the LGBT community. Salman submitted a complaint to the police on Tuesday morning, adding that the violence would not cause him to retreat from his convictions. Polls give him less than 4% of the votes, but Salman has refused so far to quit the race or join forces with another candidate.
Saving a house
A prestigious house with historical and architectural significance has been approved for demolition even though it is registered in the list of buildings designated for preservation at the municipality. In the framework of a Tama 38 project, the house on 14 Rambam Street, constructed by one of the leading Jerusalem architects of the last century, has been approved for demolition – except for the façade. According to the plan approved earlier this week by the local planning and construction committee, no fewer than four stories will be added to the original building (presently one story), thereby completely changing the character of this piece of architectural history of the city. The grandchildren of the original owners have launched a campaign with local residents to submit objections to the committee and save the building.
Teaching our elected
Former deputy mayor Nomi Tsur, founder and chair of the Jerusalem Green Fund, is conducting a series of encounters with all the mayoral candidates regarding city environmental issues. The candidates expressed their views on key issues and outlined what actions they plan to take if elected. The JGF, which promotes grassroots community initiatives and engagement, fostering environmental, social and economic sustainability in and around Jerusalem, seeks to keep the spotlight on issues such as garbage disposal, dumping, environmental preservation and construction plans in the remaining green spaces in and around the city. Candidate Rachel Azaria demonstrated knowledge in planning issues and shared her vision on how to add housing projects without damaging green areas. Candidate Ze’ev Elkin emphasized the importance of preserving trees, cleaning, recycling and such, but did not commit to preventing all construction in those last open spaces.