This week in Jerusalem: Signs of the times

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 CLEANING A daycare classroom: Set to strike (Illustrative).  (photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
CLEANING A daycare classroom: Set to strike (Illustrative).
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)

Signs of the time

“The shahid [martyr] is a hero.” That is one of the comments that some Arab students at the Hadassah Academic College posted a few hours after the deadly terrorist attack in Neveh Ya’acov last Shabbat. In reaction, Jewish students called on the school administration to deal with those students and impose sanctions against them. Some even demanded that the college remove them from the academic institution. The administration promised to investigate the matter in depth and treat it very seriously, even considering not allowing entry to the college to students whose conduct jeopardizes the sense of security of the faculty members and the students.

Afternoon school strike

Employees in afternoon school programs announced at the end of last week their intention to go on strike. The strike is in protest of the terms of their employment, which they claim lead to a high turnover of workers, which lowers the quality of work done with the children in these programs. The strike was to run for three days and include about 1,000 workers and assistants. The workers do not earn a respectable salary and do not even receive 12 payments a year, as they are dismissed every summer.

Itai Cohen, head of the Jerusalem headquarters of the Koah LaOvdim organization, said that the workers showed patience, out of consideration for the parents and devotion to the children, and postponed the negotiations for a year due to the coronavirus, but no one offered a solution to their plight, which left the employees with no other choice.

Forty-seven percent of the employees reported that they opened a program with insufficient staff, meaning that every second child in those programs does not receive enough attention. According to the workers’ union, the manpower crisis in Jerusalem is the worst in the country, but the municipality seems indifferent.

Patrolling the city 

Following the deadly terrorist attack last Shabbat, large numbers of security forces will be concentrated in the capital to thwart any further attacks, as well as possible acts of revenge by Jews against Arabs. The police decided to send the Counterterrorism Unit to Jerusalem and to raise the level of alertness to the highest degree.

 Israel Border Police officers at the scene of the Neve Yaakov terror attack in Jerusalem, January 27, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun) Israel Border Police officers at the scene of the Neve Yaakov terror attack in Jerusalem, January 27, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Shrinking opposition 

The District Court has ruled that the representatives of opposition faction Hitorerut on two major local committees will be reduced. The decision was made following the Hitorerut’s petition against the city council’s decision to reduce the number of the opposition representatives on the Local Planning and Construction Committee and the Allocations Committee according to Hitorerut’s new size (five seats), after Yamit Yoeli-Ella and Avishai Cohen left the faction to became an independent faction and joined the coalition. Thus the court rejected Hitorerut’s claim that it has seven council members – the number of members the faction had before the two departed.

Hesed Youth Patrol

Teenagers after high school and before conscription in the army can devote a year to community service through the Hesed Youth Patrol (SAHI). Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion met with members of the patrol serving in the city. They come from neighborhoods throughout the city, as well as from the periphery of the country  – from Hatzor Haglilit and Safed in the North to Hatzeva in the South.

In cooperation with the Jerusalem Foundation, SAHI members become “agents of change” in Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, participating in community and educational activities with people of all ages.

The foundation backs the program not only to boost Jerusalem’s communal strength but also to nurture its future young leadership.

Light rail not on track

The municipality had stated that the light rail would reach Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem as early as the first quarter of 2023. However, it has become clear that the train will not be ready before May or June. At this stage, only the section between Mount Herzl and the Tahon Junction will be running, and only in the coming weeks will the northern section of the line be running – between Pisgat Ze’ev and Neveh Ya’acov.

More high-rises on the horizon

The municipality, through the Local Planning and Construction Committee, approved a construction plan at 8-10 Hatomer Street in Beit Hakerem. The plan is proposed for a plot of 1.5 hectares in the western part of Beit Hakerem. It will entail the demolition of residential buildings, totaling 70 units, to be replaced by two 28-floor apartment buildings, with a total of 210 units of various sizes. The buildings will include underground parking garages.

In addition, the plan includes the allocation of public spaces for an open public space, connected to other open public spaces in the neighborhood, and to new spaces in other plans and built-up spaces for public buildings (daycare centers). As part of the development of the public space, the committee requested that the passage connecting Herzl and Harazim streets be widened. ❖