This week in Jerusalem: Expanding the city limits

A weekly roundup of city affairs.

 TRAFFIC SLOWS on Begin Road. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
TRAFFIC SLOWS on Begin Road.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Expanding the city limits

An old recycled plan or a serious initiative? It is not clear what the background is to this, but these days, precisely with the 15th and 5th anniversary of the city’s unification, MKs of the Likud, headed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are reviving an initiative that will allow the annexation of localities to the capital to include Beitar Illit, Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Efrat and Gush Etzion in the city.

The plan also includes an old initiative brought back for the Shuafat camp, Kfar Akeb and Anata to be disconnected from the capital and become an independent municipality. This plan, if approved and implemented, will add about 150,000 Jewish residents to the city and, at the same time, it will remove about 130,000 Palestinians, residents of those three neighborhoods beyond the separation fence, out of the total number of Arab residents in the city.

According to MKs who promote the proposal, this could save the capital from further deterioration in it’s demographic, cultural, social and political developments, as the most important and leading city in Israel has weakened, and a strong and leading population has begun to move out. Hence, the population added to Jerusalem will maintain a demographic balance, while many areas added will allow additional construction for housing, commerce and tourism, while maintaining green lungs. At City Council, Councilman Joseph Pfizer (Hitorerut) is a partner in efforts to advance the bill, explaining that will help to regulate the chaos in these (Arab) neighborhoods and increase governance there.

A parking attendant writes a ticket in front of parked cars in Zurich, Switzerland (credit: REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN)A parking attendant writes a ticket in front of parked cars in Zurich, Switzerland (credit: REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN)
Free parking

Another relief for residents who continue to use private vehicles, as Jerusalem Municipality has recently completed two new free parking lots in the city. The new parking lots are located in the Talpiot neighborhood and in the nearby Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. In total, with these two new lots, there are 122 free parking spaces added in the city at all hours of the day. The first parking lot is located at 9 Makor Haim Street, with 60 parking spaces, including infrastructure for electric charging and dedicated parking lots for electric vehicles, as well.

The second parking lot is at the intersection between Anosei Mashhad street and David Raziel street, with 53 parking new spaces, compared to the 30 parking spaces that were previously in place. The municipality says that the parking lot in question will increase the safety of users and pedestrians because in the past the entrance was from several directions from the intersection, which created a risk for users of the parking lot and pedestrians who passed in its vicinity.

Dangerous roads

The most dangerous urban axis in Israel are in Jerusalem: Begin Road, Golda Meir Road and Hebron Road. An analysis of Central Bureau of Statistics data conducted by the Green Light Association (Or Yarok) shows that the Begin axis is the deadliest out of all cities in Israel, with 83 people were injured in road accidents there, including two killed and 11 seriously injured between 2018-2020.

Among the dramatic data, the CBS revealed that in April 2021, a driver collided with a separation fence and died; in December 2019, there was a fatal accident between a private vehicle and a truck – as a result a passenger in the private vehicle was killed and the driver was seriously injured; and in October 2019, one was killed and five injured in a frontal accident. This is a partial and certainly not an exhaustive one of the road accidents and traffic offenses committed in recent years on Begin Road.

Also based on data from the CBS, Begin Road is the reddest urban road in the country – that is, the road where the most road accidents occurred in the period between 2018-2020, which were analyzed by the Green Light Association based on CBS data. Begin Road is not alone – in the top ten of the list of red roads is also the Golda Meir axis, with 47 casualties in road accidents, including two killed and 12 seriously injured.

The top 10 red roads closes with Hebron Road, where 40 people were injured in road accidents – including three killed and seven seriously injured. The Green Light Association said that about a third of the deaths in Israel come from urban areas, with a significantly high risk of people being injured in road accidents: children, senior citizens, motorcyclists, scooters, pedestrians and cyclists.

According to the analysis of the Green Light Association, in Jerusalem there are 38 roads and streets that are marked as red, in which 708 people were injured in the time period examined (2018-2020), 14 of whom were killed and 122 were seriously injured. This figure places Jerusalem in second place the number of red axes in the urban space in Israel, with Tel Aviv leading.

No bus today

It’s been less than a year since the Superbus company entered the public transportation system in the city and on Monday, the first strike of the company’s drivers broke out in the city. Due to demands for improved employment conditions not met by the company owners, the company drivers sat out on Monday morning, a day of returning to work after a long weekend of Saturday and a holiday on Sunday, and did not operate the company lines for two hours, in the morning.

First Jerusalem Bible Quiz

The Jerusalem Municipality, through the Municipal Education Administration, held the final of the Jerusalem Bible Quiz for elementary school students in the city for the first time. 45 schools participated in the quiz and 18 of them qualified for the final. The quiz was held in the presence of the mayor, Moshe Leon, the deputy mayor and holder of the education portfolio, Hagit Moshe, and the head of the Education Administration, Yoav “Zimi” Zimran.

The event is designed to expand Bible learning in an experiential, unusual and challenging way, with each school taking the quiz undergoing a four-month learning process throughout the various stages of the quiz. For the first phase of the quiz, 45 state and state-religious elementary schools in the city chose to register, which constitute half of the city’s schools in the general sector. A team from each school came to the second stage of the quiz, for a number of experiential study days prior to the quiz, at the end of which tests were held and 18 schools advanced to the finals, at the Jerusalem Theater. Pairs of students from each school approached the finals.

The winners from the state sector were Keshet School (third place), Tali Psagot School (second place) and first place to the students of Paula Ben Gurion school, Yahav Deresh and Yoav Linder. The winners in the state-religious sector are Horev Banim (third place), Mekor Haim (second place), and first place to students of Mamad of the Jewish Quarter, Yael Brenner and Noam Greenman.

Green energy for my city

The government and the Jerusalem Municipality will invest NIS 90 million into the development of renewable energy projects within the City. As part of the special decisions made by the government every year to mark Jerusalem Day, it was decided to announce the plan, which will begin soon and should reach its peak by 2025.

In the framework of this project, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage and the Prime Minister’s Office will promote a multi-year program for the development of Jerusalem’s introduction of renewable energies. As a joint initiative of the Ministry of Energy and the Jerusalem Municipality, a groundbreaking government decision was formulated to develop a strategic outline for the city’s energy economy, with NIS 30 million support from the Ministry of Energy, NIS 30 million from the Jerusalem Municipality and an additional NIS 30 million from other government ministries, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Religions.

Among the projects that will be promoted as part of the government decision is a project to develop infrastructure for the use of renewable energy, the development of natural gas transmission systems, the construction of charging stations for electric vehicles, the construction of solar energy systems on shading systems and other projects.