This week in Jerusalem: Park or parking?

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 SACHER PARK in snow, Jan. 2022; Gan Sipur cafe is in the background. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
SACHER PARK in snow, Jan. 2022; Gan Sipur cafe is in the background.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Park or parking?

Residents are complaining that in recent months, Sacher Park has become an active motoring hub, with officials of the park’s upgrade works driving vehicles on the paths intended for pedestrians and endangering children.

Sacher Park is the largest green lung in the city. It attracts diverse populations and is used for leisure and recreation. Parents with children go to the park to walk around in peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park provides a safe environment, where children can run safely on the paths. Thus, cars and motorcycles have always been prohibited there. 

Along with the upgrading that the park is currently undergoing, the municipality established a department whose job it is to maintain and nurture the grounds.

However, residents of the neighborhood are complaining that instead of keeping the park a safe and sustainable space, municipal employees have built offices and a private parking lot for themselves, surrounded by a high fence, which serve the new managers. In the parking lot, next to the restrooms, the park workers, the owners of the café, and visitors to the park are now parking their cars there. 

Residents request that if there has been a change in the use of the area to enable parking, the municipality must present such a permit to the public. The matter is now in the hands of the local council.

Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King poses for a picture in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King poses for a picture in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Climbing the walls 

The tallest climbing wall in Jerusalem, at a height of 10 meters, was inaugurated last week. It is located next to the Barmon community pub near the East Talpiot (Armon Hanatziv) neighborhood community center. Climbing classes will soon be available for all ages.

The wall, a collaboration between the Jerusalem Municipality and the local council, will be open to residents of the neighborhood and visitors alike.

Cash for trash

Through a quite unusual but generous offer, Deputy Mayor Aryeh King has found a solution to combat residents littering in public spaces.

King, who holds the environmental portfolio in the municipality, announced on his Facebook page that “even though the municipality has increased enforcement, the ugly phenomenon of petty criminals who litter public space still exists.” 

All you have to do is document littering in a public space, send the documentation to King, and receive a reward of NIS 500.

King emphasizes that the NIS 500 he is ready to give residents who document such cases is a personal gift from him and does not come from the municipality’s funds.

“Anyone who records on camera a criminal who throws any kind of waste in a public space in Jerusalem will receive NIS 500 from me personally, in recognition of... caring for the environment.” 

Here’s how to do it: Take a photo of the offender’s license number and of the waste when it is on the ground, send the exact location of the place where the crime was committed... and collect the cash.

The initiative is limited to 10 cases per month, and only the first person to report each one will receive the NIS 500.

Working to expand leisure activities 

The Ariel municipal company’s 2023 work plan has been approved and stands at NIS 250 million, indicating a 20% increase in financial investment within the last four years. The 2023 work plan includes a wide variety of cultural events in Jerusalem, such as the production and hosting of dozens of shows, festivals, and international productions.

The company, a subsidiary of the municipality, whose chairman is Mayor Moshe Lion, promotes and develops culture, arts, society and sports in Jerusalem and produces many national and international events throughout the year.

In addition, Ariel manages and operates Jerusalem’s major sports and cultural facilities, including Teddy Stadium, the largest soccer stadium in Israel (with approximately 31,700 seats), the Jerusalem Payis Arena (with approximately 11,000 seats), the Sultan’s Pool, located at the foot of the Old City (which seats 7,000), and part of the First Station complex. 

Also among the company’s activities: Hutzot Hayotzer, Israel’s largest cultural fair, attended by about 100,000 visitors every year; an ice skating rink; hosting and producing performances by the country’s best artists; and Independence Day events in Jerusalem.

The new work plan also includes a significant renovation of Teddy Stadium, to make adjustments that will allow it to host international games in the group stage of the Champions League, the Europa League and national team games of European standards.

Protect the children 

According to Or Yarok, Jerusalem ranks highest among Israeli cities in which children are injured as passengers in cars. The data collected by the organization show that in Jerusalem 1,040 children up to the age of 14 were the victims of traffic accidents (from 2013 to October 2022). Two were killed, 15 were seriously injured, and 1,023 were slightly injured. 

Feed a cat

Good news for cat lovers in Jerusalem. A budget of NIS 100,000 for the feeding, treatment and sterilization of cats was recently approved by the Jerusalem Municipality.

Bags of food will be distributed in coordination with the association for street cats. For that purpose, an array of volunteers will be established to find feeders and transfer street cats to clinics for sterilization.

The municipality budgeted another year (the fourth) for the city’s cat feeding project. The municipal veterinary service and the community administration of public parks will be in charge of the matter.

The cat feeding project was launched in January 2019 following the removal of the trash bins that were a source of food for street cats. The aim was to help feed and sterilize them.

The annual budgeting for the benefit of feeding street cats was approved by the municipality’s Works Delivery Committee, which at its last meeting, approved a series of projects at a cost of millions of shekels. 

“These are projects that will contribute to the promotion of emotional resilience, well-being and employment,” a municipal spokesman said.

Let’s help each other 

A budget has been approved for the activities of the program Support in the Treatment of Postpartum Depression for 2023, in cooperation with the Ariel municipal company and the Marom municipal association.

The program aims to locate mothers who are facing difficulties and assist them in receiving a professional response, while referring them to psychological and community care, such as regular visits by a volunteer to the family home.

This in addition to the recent decision at Safra Square to provide professional training to Tipat Halav nursing teams to increase awareness and knowledge on the subject. The approved budget for this is NIS 550,000.

In another part of the city, the planning and renovation of an employment space for technology companies at 3 Al-Isfahani Street, corner of Salah a-Din, has also been approved by the city council. This new project, with a budget of NIS 7 million, aims to promote the development of quality employment in east Jerusalem. ❖