This week in Jerusalem: America in Jerusalem

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 DEPUTY MAYOR Arieh King: East Jerusalem immigration? (photo credit: GERSHON ELINSON/FLASH90)
DEPUTY MAYOR Arieh King: East Jerusalem immigration?
(photo credit: GERSHON ELINSON/FLASH90)

America in Jerusalem

The Jerusalem District Committee has approved a permanent building for the US Embassy, in the Allenby compound between Hebron Road, Daniel Yanovsky and Hanoch Elbeck streets. Local residents have 60 days to submit objections to the construction of the new complex, following which the district committee will discuss these objections and add their comments with a view to demanding changes accordingly. Only then will the US government obtain a building permit from the municipality and proceed with the construction. 

The scope of the construction incorporates around 70,000 sq.m., both above and below ground, and will include a large parking lot, underground staff residences, offices and various other facilities. The central building will reach a height of 50 m. (10 stories). 

The committee’s decision to move the embassy is warmly welcomed by Safra Square, and Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who promoted the plan on behalf of the municipality. The newly located embassy will not only enhance the urban landscape of the neighborhood, but it will also connect to all areas of the capital through the light rail network. 

Relocation, King-style

DORON OUTSIDE the original Train Theater with the new complex in the background (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)DORON OUTSIDE the original Train Theater with the new complex in the background (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Is Deputy Mayor Aryeh King launching a campaign to encourage east Jerusalem residents to move abroad? The question arose after King wrote in a Facebook post, that he could introduce those residents to a business entrepreneur outside of Israel to encourage them to leave the country. This post caused a lot of anger among residents from the east of the city, who warned him that the Palestinians would not be broken by such attempts to get rid of them. 

King, founder of the Foundation for the Land of Israel and an activist for Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, wrote: “A Zionist Jewish philanthropist is looking for a manager with a big head, for the benefit of business entrepreneurship whose purpose is to encourage the immigration of non-Jews, outside the borders of the Land of Israel. The intention is to encourage non-Jews to relocate outside the borders of our country.” 

King added in his post that anyone interested in the proposal should contact him to arrange a meeting with a representative of the entrepreneur. He also stated that international placement companies in Israel do not advertise in the Arab media, while making it clear that the goal of the project is to encourage one million Arabic-speaking Israelis to leave the country within about 25 years.

Parks of my city

After an extensive upgrade, the newly renovated Ma’aleh Charles Clore Park, located in front of Emek Hamatzleva, is open to the public. The park was restored by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Foundation for Jerusalem, with a contribution by the Clore Israel Foundation. 

It offers paved pathways, new seating areas overlooking spectacular views, including the Knesset. The park, built in the early 1970s, was in need of an upgrade to make it more accessible to the public. Now that the work is completed, it has become an inviting corner for all of the city’s residents. The park also connects to the great green lung of Jerusalem, Sacher Park. 

The whole project was driven by the residents, through the Ginot Ha’Ir local council administration.

Renovating the city

Two new urban renewal plans in the Greek Colony and the Old Katamon neighborhood were recently approved by the local planning and construction committee. The plans, it should be noted, did not include the construction of towers, but instead new buildings that will blend in with the surrounding urban landscape. 

The two projects offer dozens of new housing units on Yotam and Tel Hai streets, and are seen as an important step in the renewal process of the old neighborhoods in the city center. 

The aim of the TAMA 38/1 project on Tel Hai Street in Old Katamon is to oversee the upgrade of the buildings. The plan also includes adding five new housing units, including penthouses and mini-penthouses with roof terraces, to the existing apartments in the building. 

No more jams

The northern section of the project to double the lanes on the tunnel road (Route 60) will open next week. This section is about 1.5 km. long, and forms part of the new entrance gate to the city and the main transportation artery connecting Jerusalem to Gush Etzion, Beitar and the surrounding communities. 

It also includes a bridge spanning 360 m. and a new tunnel, 270 m. long. In addition, the new section will include two traffic lanes in each direction, as well as a public transportation lane, which alternates according to rush hours. 

The project also includes the renovation of existing tunnels and upgrading the systems in existing and new tunnels. Ventilation, lighting, water, fire detection and communication will all be upgraded to more innovative and advanced technological systems. 

The project, which was led by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Transportation Ministry, won the award for the Outstanding Project in Israel 2021 in the field of transportation infrastructure, which was given to the Moriah company. 

Beta Israel returns

In preparation for the Ethiopian community’s holiday, the Sigd, several events will be held in the capital. One of them will be held at Beit Avi Chai, where meetings between and stories about the first generation and second generations of Ethiopians who now live in Israel – or were born here – will take place. 

Events will be multidisciplinary, featuring art and music workshops. Hajj Sagd Aalid-Melkam will pray with representatives of the community. The events will run from this week up to November 28. 

The Sigd holiday is an ancient tradition that has been preserved for thousands of years by the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia in the hope of celebrating “next year in Jerusalem.”

Theater and children

For the first time, the Train Theater is initiating a theater conference for children’s culture. Named after Dalia Yaffe Mayan, it centers around the topic “How a child writes.” It is intended for a professional audience comprising those involved in children’s culture in the fields of art, performing arts, therapeutic art, educators, television, literature and students in any of the relevant professions. 

This interdisciplinary conference will be held every year on International Children’s Day. It will delve into questions that arise from the culture created in today’s society for children. In addition, the children’s library of the Train Theater named after Dalia Yaffe Mayan will be launched there. 

Mayan, CEO and artistic director of the Train Theater and the International Puppet Theater Festival, passed away a year ago. She promoted the art of artistic puppet theater in Israel and did a lot to expose the youngsters in Israel and around the world to this unique art. 

International Children’s Day: Sunday 20.11.22; 10:00-16:00; the Train Theater, Liberty Bell Park; tickets 70 NIS (50 NIS seniors).

A place for seniors

The day center for the elderly in Kiryat Menachem was closed recently due to debts. Welfare bodies in the city warn that all day centers are in danger of closing because the state does not budget realistically for them. Day centers are intended for elderly people who are entitled to a nursing allowance and who want to go out, meet people, participate in activities and, above all, get a hot meal. 

There are four day centers in Jerusalem. A center in the east of the city is also in the planning, although it is not clear if this will happen now. 

Although it is generally accepted that it is important to encourage seniors to go out, to maintain social ties, increase their activity, and eat a balanced, nutritious meal, due to economic distress many elderly people are left wanting. Sadly, the authorities, the Social Services Ministry and the municipality’s social services administration have no answer to this sad state of affairs.

Since the center in Kiryat Menachem is the first to face closure, concerns are high that others operating in the city will soon be similarly affected. ❖