This week in Jerusalem: We are the scouts

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 ABU TOR; Silwan neighborhood in foreground.  (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
ABU TOR; Silwan neighborhood in foreground.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

We are the scouts

A new building for the scout movement in Beit Hakerem was approved last week by the Local Planning and Construction Committee. The new three-story building will be constructed in a complex adjacent to the old building on Tzemach Street. The area of the existing building is 250 square meters, to which 450 square meters will be added. The new building will be fully accessible for the members of the scout movement in Beit Hakerem, which total about 800 youths. It is the largest scout group in the city. The process has taken three years, but now the entire project has been approved. All the parties involved, led by Deputy Mayor Yossi Havilio, hope the construction will begin quickly and the building will soon be inaugurated.

Old and new in Abu Tor

The municipality will build a multipurpose hall in Abu Tor to be used for leisure, cultural and sports activities to serve the residents of the neighborhood. It is located adjacent to the Ben-Yehuda school on Nachshon Street. The project aims to offer cultural and sports activities that are not being provided at the school, which is home to special education children. The new hall will also serve the Beit Nehemiah center, the preparation center for significant service, which works with youth in preparation for military, national and civil service. After the construction is completed, the additional area will be renovated for football and basketball activities. Later, a complex of sports fields measuring 800 square meters in the south Abu Tor will be constructed. 

However, many residents of the small neighborhood are opposed to the project, or at least concerned about its outcome, worried about the traffic congestion and lack of parking that the project will cause. Meanwhile, at Safra Square, the project is considered a positive response to the need to provide sports, cultural and leisure activities for the entire the neighborhood, including the students of the educational institutions. 

 WITH 11,000 employees, the Jerusalem Municipality is the capital’s beating heart. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) WITH 11,000 employees, the Jerusalem Municipality is the capital’s beating heart. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Building above Begin Boulevard

The Jerusalem District Committee has devised a plan to build a roof over Begin Boulevard, upon which 2,300 apartments, and 380 hotel rooms, as well as employment and commercial areas will be constructed. The roof will extend 1,600 meters between the Bayt Interchange and the Wolfson Bridge and will connect the neighborhoods of Beit Hakerem and Givat Ram. The new area on top of the roof will also include 13,000 square meters of commercial areas, 67,000 square meters of public areas, and 60 acres of open areas. 

Tickets, reports and money

According to official municipal figures, in 2022 some 909,770 traffic tickets were issued to drivers – 705,985 parking tickets, and 203,770 enforcement tickets by police, an increase of 15% from last year. There is also a significant increase in the number of sanitation violations. This means that the municipality has greatly increased its income, the source of which is actually the residents, who are paying many more fines. 

During 2022, the Jerusalem Municipality brought in millions of shekels from traffic tickets. The bulk of the parking tickets were issued by the municipal inspectors – 603,159 tickets. Some 69,885 parking tickets were issued by enforcement cameras on the city’s streets, and 32,941 tickets were registered to drivers from mobile cameras (on top of vehicles) deployed in the city. The payment for most parking tickets is NIS 100, while there are also certain tickets that cost NIS 250. This is an income of about NIS 60 million from parking tickets alone. To this must be added the enforcement tickets on public transportation routes – 203,770 of these were issued during 2022. The amount of the fine for prohibited travel is NIS 500. Here, a total income of NIS 80 million. All together, NIS 140 million went into the municipality’s coffers from the city’s residents and visitors. The number of traffic tickets in Jerusalem has been on a constant rise in recent years. In addition, the municipality will increase the number of inspectors it employs, and more than 100 automatic enforcement cameras have been added in a wide urban layout. Indeed, the increase in the number of tickets reflects this. 

Another facet in which there has been a significant increase in the number of tickets is that of sanitation. The data shows that in 2022, some 23,227 sanitation violations were committed. Some 12,418 tickets were issued throwing garbage in a public place – an increase of over 100% compared to 2021, when 10,255 tickets were registered for various cleaning offenses. In 2020, when the pandemic began, 6,110 tickets were issued. In, 2019, some 5,131 tickets were issued to residents. The increase in the number of tickets since 2019 reflects the effects of Mayor Moshe Lion’s campaign to keep the city clean, even though this effort comes out of our pockets.

Catch the villains

About three weeks after the violent riot on Yehezkel Street, in which resident Mirel Dzilovski was injured by a burning trash can, last Thursday a prosecutor’s statement was submitted in preparation for indictments against two of those involved in the rampage and the resident’s injury against two of the suspects. The investigation continues with regard to other people involved, while a gag order still applies to various details. Diverse operational, investigative and intelligence operations were carried out, which led to the arrest of the two suspects who were on the run. One of the suspects was arrested in Jerusalem, and two days later another suspect was arrested in the Elad settlement. In the last two weeks since the arrests, the suspects were brought before the court and their detention was extended, pending further investigation. The police say that during this time, evidence and testimonies were collected against them.

Remembering Yuri

In a simple but moving ceremony held earlier this week, the Yuri Stern Holistic Center hosted the president’s wife, Michal Herzog. The center recently moved to a new location in a beautiful Templar structure on Emek Refaim Street. The center provides treatment to cancer patients, which includes a wide variety of fields, such as body and mind treatments, designed to alleviate the difficulties of the conventional treatments given to cancer patients. For the family members, these treatments also help them get through this difficult period. The center was established by Lena Stern in memory of her husband, Yuri, a former MK who died of cancer 16 years ago. The center consists of a professional team and many volunteers, in collaboration with the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. ❖