Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

A general view shows Jerusalem's old city from an Israeli Air Force plane during an aerial show as part of celebrations for Israel's Independence Day to mark the 66th anniversary of the creation of the state, May 6, 2014 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
A general view shows Jerusalem's old city from an Israeli Air Force plane during an aerial show as part of celebrations for Israel's Independence Day to mark the 66th anniversary of the creation of the state, May 6, 2014
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Strike ahead
Following a threat to strike if Mayor Nir Barkat fails to find a way to answer the request of 7,000 municipality employees, the employee committee backed by the Histadrut labor federation has announced that the employees are going on a total strike as of this Wednesday. For the moment, the strike is unlimited; at press time there were no signs that either of the sides are ready to reach an agreement. The requests of the employees are regarding raises in their salaries, work conditions and reimbursing the travel expenses of those who work outside Safra Square.
Light sentence
Two key figures involved in the accident that took the life of soldier Hila Betzaleli during the rehearsal for the Independence Day evening ceremony on Mount Herzl six years ago were sentenced to four months of community service at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Tuesday morning. Site safety officer Itzhak Zuker and the event engineer were held responsible for the accident, but neither was sentenced to imprisonment. Betzaleli’s mother expressed her displeasure with the light sentence and the state attorney’s office announced its decision to appeal the lenient ruling.
No toilets today
There are no public toilets for female shoppers in the Geula and Mea She’arim neighborhoods. Following the recent destruction of the two public toilets there by vandals, the municipality has decided not to invest in their renovation. Public toilets for men remain operational.
Religious zealots reportedly said that the installation of public toilets for women is an attempt to change the haredi way of life and therefore should not be allowed. As a result, female shoppers have no other choice than ask permission from local business owners to use their toilets, and while some graciously agree, others refuse or charge money for the service.
A private initiative of one of the business owners to pay for renovation of the public toilets for women was reportedly blocked due to threats from zealots.
A kibbutz for Jerusalem
Kibbutz Ramat Rahel has put the significant sum of money it got from selling plots for construction to good use.
Recently built housing units in Talpiot and Arnona, many of them for young couples, were made possible by the decision of the national planning council to rezone agricultural land. The kibbutz earned a substantial sum and several hundred housing units were added to the city. The transaction has also yielded an additional benefit: the kibbutz has built a modern, comprehensively equipped complex – a country club for sports and fitness, including a roofed pool for children, an expansive area on the grass for picnics, dining facilities and more.
Moreover, families can visit the ecological animal farms, tour the archeological findings and take part in a short tour with fruit picking (such as strawberries) in the orchards. Info:
Branching out
Following an appeal to the Supreme Court submitted by a citizens’ rights NGO, the government is making a key employment bureau policy change for Arab residents of the city. Until now, they were restricted to using the Wadi Joz branch, which is generally crowded because it is the only branch in the east side of the city. Now, new cases can be submitted to any employment bureau branch in the city, although cases already in process will have to continue to be taken care of in Wadi Joz.
Alalu: Over and out
Former deputy mayor and key Meretz figure Pepe Alalu, determining that his chances to win in the mayoral elections are exceedingly small, has quit the race after an internal fight in the local party branch.
Before resigning, he ordered a poll on major issues of concern to residents. The Sarid Institute for Research and Consultation LTD poll, conducted from June 14 to 18, included 441 Jewish non-haredi residents. Among its findings:
• 23% of the Jerusalemites polled are unsatisfied with the municipal services they get;
• 41% are unsatisfied with the way that municipality handles the process of haredization of the city;
• 31% are unsatisfied with the means that the municipality uses to keep young adults from leaving the city;
• 44% are relatively satisfied with the quality of the city’s educational system;
• 43% are very satisfied with the variety of cultural events and sports activities provided by the municipality.
• Regarding cleanliness of the city – one of the major themes of all the candidates – 21% are very unsatisfied, 25% are somewhat satisfied, 37% are very satisfied and 11% are extremely satisfied with the situation.
Third time’s a charm
Mayoral candidate Yossi Havilio has chalked up a third legal victory against the municipality. The Supreme Court has accepted his appeal against financing a large event that Havilio discovered was for the haredi Sephardi sector identified with the Shas party. By law, the municipality is forbidden to use public funds for events that are linked with political parties. This is the third such case that Havilio has won in court.