This week in Jerusalem: Luck is not a plan for the future

A weekly roundup of city affairs.

 IF THEY prey on the poor, why has Safra Square approved eight new lottery kiosks? (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
IF THEY prey on the poor, why has Safra Square approved eight new lottery kiosks?
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

Luck is not a plan for the future

The Mifal Hapayis national lottery said it will open eight new lottery booths, raising the number of kiosks in the city to 58. This is a strange decision – so far approved by Safra Square – since there has been ongoing criticism that Mifal Hapayis has earned the bulk of its profits from those with a low socioeconomic status, and has committed itself to closing at least about 4% of its outlets each year. The municipality has recently opened a section for gambling treatment within its Addiction Treatment Department, but still the decision to enable more lottery booths in the city has raised some activists’ ire. It is not clear yet if the eight kiosks will indeed open soon. Residents who feel they may have become addicted to gambling are welcome to get help. Individual and group treatments, assistance in exercising one’s rights and, if necessary, guidance by a specialist psychiatrist can be obtained at the center provided by the municipality at 144 Hebron Rd., 026578101.

From ‘Black Light’ to black salon

Following the unprecedented success of Yehee’s fourth issue – the issue of haredi art and literature – and the Black Light exhibition that accompanied the issue’s release, the Beit Uri Zvi Greenberg gallery and cultural center is launching the establishment of “Nu Nu – the Haredi Salon for Literature, Art, Culture and Creativity.” The salon will be located in the main room of the center, on the corner of Jaffa and Heleni Hamalka streets in the city center. It will be an open meeting place adapted to ultra-Orthodox attitudes and habits, and will host literary meetings for beginning and advanced poets, evenings of joint editing, an open stage and writing workshops. Also planned at Nu-Nu are live performances for beginner musicians growing out of the ultra-Orthodox world, script workshops, photography and painting events, panels with intellectuals and help in publishing magazines.

This name is your name

Is your last name Kamal, Kamel, Kamil, Carmel? Then you might be descendants of Mrs. Kurshid and the sage Aji Reuven Kamel, who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1931 from Isfahan, Iran. If so, you may be invited to join the first and only family conference of its kind, to be held on July 7 (8 Tamuz) in Jerusalem, of course. For more than half a year, the organizers have been collecting partial documents, deciphering crumbling letters in Judeo-Persian and collecting photos and stories: about witchcraft, matchmaking, insanity, weddings, funerals and the bad and good days of this large family.

IDF soldiers patrol Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market on April 3, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)IDF soldiers patrol Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market on April 3, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Fishy fish

The Health Ministry raided the A.R. Dagim fish shop on 15 Hatapuah St. in Mahaneh Yehuda last week and seized 58 kg. of fish, which were immediately destroyed. The decision came at the end of an inspection by the ministry teams, who found sanitary defects and fish products that were not fit for human consumption. This is the third time in the past six months that health supervisors have found unfit fish products in Mahaneh Yehuda, each time in a different store. According to the store owner, it was just two packs that workers did not notice that their expiry date had passed.

The fool in the park

After five years of discussions and postponements, the iconic CrazyInBaka playground was rededicated last week. The park, which was closed in 2017 for safety reasons, reopened this week with new paved footpaths, fountains and benches, giving a total face-lift to the playground next to Geulim School. City Improvement Department staff made the comprehensive upgrade and obtained attractive play facilities through a public participatory process. Prior to the renovation, the park housed an outdated wooden castle that was on the verge of collapse and other elements that posed a danger. 

CrazyInBaka was established by parents in the neighborhood in 1990 with a modest donation from the Jerusalem Foundation. It was built according to a plan prepared by American architect Robert (Bob) Leathers, which included a knights and princesses castle with towers and turrets, ships, slides, a climbing wall and other facilities.

Tricky renovations

A subcontractor who started renovating the building where the Mofet Club (for seniors and Holocaust survivors) operates in Givat Shaul, left scaffolding without railing, which according to a district construction inspector caused a risk to the club’s visitors. Following an inspection, an immediate closure order was issued. For years, the Mofet Club has been offering social activities to seniors three times a week. The club is on the ground floor of a residential building, where construction has recently begun on the building’s apartment balconies. One of the members who noticed the scaffolding contacted the Labor and Welfare Ministry, and a district building inspector who arrived on behalf of the ministry gave the immediate closure order, which included the club’s closure. Due to the lack of an alternative place for the club, these Holocaust survivors have been forced to give up their activities in the meantime.

Conditional support

Although the city’s parents’ committee expressed full support for the teachers’ union’s struggle, it demanded the union not disrupt the children’s studies and turn them into pawns. Following the union’s decision to open schools from only late morning on Sunday, and which might happen again next week, municipal parents’ association chairman Arik Kaplan called on the Education and Finance ministries to reach a settlement without further harming children and parents. Special education institutions have not been shut down, and even if there are more sanctions in the coming days, they will not be affected.

Bitter water

Forty-two residents of Ramot needed to be treated by rescue teams last week. The event was due to a suspected leakage of hazardous materials in the water of the local Country Club swimming pool. The 42 women were injured when they inhaled hydrochloric acid used to disinfect pool water and spilled in the center compound. They were treated on-site by paramedics.

Most of the women were evacuated by ambulances to hospitals in Jerusalem, suffering from breathing problems due to the inhalation of the toxic substance, but were released soon after. During the rescue team operation, Ya’acov Elazar Street near the pool was closed to traffic; residents in the area are asked at this stage not to leave their houses until the end of the investigation and the site was deemed safe.

Bye-bye line 32

Hundreds of residents signed a petition against the intention of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Transportation Ministry to cancel line 32 and split it into two new lines, 62 and 92. They argue that they are left with unsatisfactory options. Safra Square maintains that the to-be-canceled line is long and cumbersome. Hence, line 32 will be canceled this week and replaced by the two new and shorter lines, 62 and 92.

However, on the new routes, the Rehavia neighborhood is being abandoned and a significant portion of the streets in the neighborhood are no longer covered.

Hundreds of neighborhood residents signed a petition requesting to accelerate and expedite line 97, which is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2023. It originally had the go-ahead more than a year ago but did not until now.

Line 62 goes to the Central Bus Station, and line 92 goes from Gilo to the city center and the Mahane Yehuda market and back. They are planned to start operating during 2023.

A house with the gazelles

The Salit and Damari real estate companies purchased 25 dunams in the Ayelot Valley neighborhood of Givat Ze’ev, at a price of NIS 155 million. The company will launch a project of 98 units, with the intention of building each unit in an area of about 260 sq.m. and offering buyers cottages at a luxurious level.

The Ayelot Valley neighborhood enjoys strong demand from the ultra-Orthodox Anglo public who are looking for large apartments. In addition, the prices in Givat Ze’ev are lower than in Jerusalem, and large apartments can be obtained at a price of NIS 20,000-22,000 per sq.m. 

Givat Ze’ev has English-language educational institutions, hence there is a demand for housing in the neighborhood. Marketing for this project is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023, with the target market being families and investors. According to Salit, the expected profits from the project are about NIS 500 million.