This week in Jerusalem: One + One conference

Your weekly roundup of city affairs.

 HAREDI WOMEN tap away at their computers at a hi-tech company in Beitar Illit. (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
HAREDI WOMEN tap away at their computers at a hi-tech company in Beitar Illit.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

One + One conference

The Jerusalem Municipality, in partnership with the haredi Kikar HaShabbat website, held earlier this week a national conference on haredi women employment titled One + One.

According to Mike Baily, a partner in the Mipri Yadeha enterprise, this was the first-ever conference in Israel specially dedicated to haredi women employment.

The aim of the conference, said Baily, was to bring to public awareness the outstanding quality of haredi women professionals.

There is great demand for quality employees in the Israeli workforce, yet society has not managed to maximize the potential of haredi women in this regard, he said.

Bad plan

The recent approval (first stage only, at the Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee) to build a new neighborhood in the Carmit complex (the valley between Ein Kerem and Kiryat Yovel) continues to cause a stir at the city council and among activists of environmental protection organizations.

Head of the opposition at the city council Ofer Berkovitch (Hitorerut) said it is a devastating plan that must be canceled. He said there has been strong opposition to construction in such an area.

The project is planned to be built on a plot that was acquired many years ago by Shlomo Deri (the brother of MK Arye Deri) and codevelopers. Berkovitch argues that the construction of terraced towers up to 15 floors in an area designated for public buildings and agriculture, and not for residences, shouldn’t be accepted.

Hitorerut, along with the Yuvalim Community Administration, the Sustainable Jerusalem Lobby, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, residents of Ein Kerem and other organizations are, for now, the main opponents of this plan.

Hitorerut has submitted a request for a rehearing; and until the hearing is held, it is not possible to advance the plan.

Inside Eden

The board of directors of Eden, one of the largest auxiliary companies of the municipality, has recently approved the company’s work plan for 2022, based on a NIS 158 million budget.

This considerable sum will go for a series of projects, many of them in the city center, including promoting street and infrastructure development work throughout Jerusalem, creating parking solutions, and developing the city’s entrance district and main business spaces. Another of the Eden projects is the maintenance administration for the city entrance district (Rova One).

Eden is also responsible for the establishment of a campus in downtown Jerusalem, as part of the strategy of concentrating cultural institutions downtown. The project includes an underground parking lot with 415 parking spaces, the upgrading and management of cultural institution buildings: planning and execution, upgrading and expanding existing cultural buildings in the downtown area, and the expansion of the bicycle rental system in the city center.

However, one thing in that program that doesn’t fit into the vision of Mayor Moshe Lion – who is, by law, the chairman of the company – is the establishment of new parking plots, which will not encourage more Jerusalemites to renounce private cars and use public transportation. 

Constructing up above 

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee has approved for deposit at the district committee three new construction plans for Mount Scopus. These will create continuity between the French Hill neighborhood and the university campus on Mount Scopus, covering a total area of about 150 hectares, owned by the state.

The project will house the Hebrew University dormitory complexes (Idelson, Reznik [Maiersdorf] and the Lerner, Bronfman [Idelson] sports complex) and a parking lot near the entrance to the university campus. About 1,500 housing units, 200 sheltered housing rooms, 500 dormitory rooms for students, a series of new roads, areas for public buildings and open public areas/urban squares, intensive construction along the future light rail axis and a number of residential towers are planned.

According to the plan a number of towers will be built in the complexes, in accordance with the municipal densification policy, and the mix of apartments will be in accordance with the needs of the neighborhood, with an emphasis on four-room units.

In addition, a significant part of the area of the complex will be set aside for the construction of public buildings, for the residents of the complexes and of the French Hill neighborhood. The compound adjacent to the university entrance will include an employment center for people with disabilities.

Expect the policy-makers at Safra Square to make the neighborhood an attractive place to live for young people and a bustling neighborhood with academic and cultural activities.

Stay safe

An unpleasant experience awaited a Jerusalem family during a recent visit to the renovated Sacher Park. While the family members appreciated the development and renovation of the park, which includes some most advanced facilities, also suitable for children with special needs, they fear that the new Extreme Games complex is a tragedy waiting to happen. They mentioned the lack of safety measures, with the facility including a tower that rises to a height of about 16 meters, from which extend three slides.

“Too many children, with older ones trampling smaller children, climbed together on the facility, and it’s only a matter of time until a child falls between the large spaces, or is pushed, and injured,” wrote Idele Ross, who visited the venue with her family, to the mayor. “The slides, which are made of some metal, are also dangerous. When it is warm enough here, they are likely to heat up in the sun and cause burns.

“The children get off the slide in pairs and threes as well, and do not wait until the previous sliders have stepped clear. Children who reach the end of the slide are pushed by other children, sometimes older, who come down a second behind them, which is a recipe for an accident. It happened right in the 10 minutes our kids slid down, and this is just one example.”

The family says it demands supervision of the dangerous facilities. 

Ready? Go!

Jerusalem Marathon 2022 is almost here. The big sporting event of the capital, attended by tens of thousands of runners, is to be held on Friday, March 25. As always, streets will be blocked to traffic, and significant changes are expected in public transport. The marathon routes will pass near historical sites. Vehicles parked along the axes of the running tracks will not be allowed to leave until the end of the event and the opening of the axes.

The national parking lots, museums and government complex will be used only by race participants. The light rail will operate on two routes: Route 1, from Heil Ha’avir to Ammunition Hill stations, and Route 2, from Central to Mount Herzl stations. The plan is for the education system to run as usual. Shuttles, free of charge (round trip), will run 6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.