This week in Jerusalem: Helpless

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 TALPIOT: PARKING ticket hub of Jerusalem (Illustrative). (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
TALPIOT: PARKING ticket hub of Jerusalem (Illustrative).
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)


The police arrested last week a Shuafat resident in her 30s on suspicion of abusing toddlers at the Beit Hakerem daycare center where she is employed. None of the children needed medical treatment; nevertheless, a police investigation has been opened, and the suspect was brought to court earlier this week to discuss an extension of her detention.

Parking is costly

No less than 117,131 parking tickets were distributed in the first four months of 2023, according to the municipality. In first place is the Talpiot neighborhood, with 19,040 tickets. In last place is Neveh Ya’acov, where only 167 fines were handed out. 

In east Jerusalem, 23,328 tickets were given in the neighborhoods of Shuafat, Silwan, Beit Hanina, Jebl Mukaber and Sur Bahir. In Romema, with its 42,187 residents, 13,464 tickets were given. In Beit Hakerem with its 18,663 residents, 6,165 tickets were issued. The Baka neighborhood has only 9,946 thousand residents, but 5,945 fines were given for illegal parking.

Some 100,000 appeals are submitted each year, handled by a team of more than 20 attorneys. The good news is that between 30% and 40% of the appeals are accepted and fines are canceled. For those who want to appeal a ticket, it is recommended to submit the request online and attach as much evidence as possible to prove the ticket is unjustified.

Tower jungle

City engineer Yoel Even believes the main solution to Jerusalem’s development will be height, and admits there is much more on the way.

 JERUSALEM’S HEBRON Road. Three more residential towers are slated to go up – two with 12 stories and one with 18 stories. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
JERUSALEM’S HEBRON Road. Three more residential towers are slated to go up – two with 12 stories and one with 18 stories. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

As the person responsible for city planning and construction policy, he encourages and promotes urban renewal and evacuation-construction on a scale never seen here before. Per his vision, Jerusalem is entering the era of towers with full force, with approvals currently reaching up to 30 stories along the light rail line; now a number of projects even reaching 40 stories are being considered.

This is because forecasts predict the existing population doubling to about two million people in the next 25 years, and more residential solutions must be provided to meet the demand.

No bus on Shabbat 

Mevaseret Zion Council chairman Yoram Shimon claims his life is being threatened following his decision to operate the “Na’im on the Weekend” project, buses on Friday evenings and Saturdays to Tel Aviv beaches. Shimon has been attacked on social media, but says that besides legitimate criticism, he also received threats on his life – adding that extremist threats will not affect him. According to the council, hundreds of residents use the new line, and during the summer the number will double and even triple. 

Our precious babies

A fully renovated well-baby clinic (tipat halav) was inaugurated last week in the East Talpiot neighborhood. The clinic was also equipped with new furniture for the use of the families and medical staff – which includes nurses, a doctor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, dentist and nutritionist, who will provide service to all residents of the area in Hebrew and Arabic. Among the programs on offer: parent training, games, nutritional counseling, physical therapy and community events.

A very expensive summer

The rising cost of living does not skip over summer, and for Jerusalem’s main event – the Hutzot Hayotzer outdoor festival, set for August – tickets will be significantly more expensive. While in summer 2018, festival tickets were NIS 65 per evening (with an additional discount for Jerusalem residents), this year, ticket cost has leaped to NIS 129. 

As an event partially financed by the municipality and the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry, such a jump is hard to accept. A couple with two children will have to part with more than NIS 350, and that’s before food, drink and perhaps buying a product from the dozens of booths at the colorful fair. A discount, however, is given to Yerushalmi Card holders – only NIS 80 a ticket. The highly popular outdoor festival attracts about 100,000 visitors of all ages, from all over the country, every year.

Love our pets

The number of dogs impounded by Municipal Veterinary Services is only increasing, while adoptions have decreased. The Jerusalem Loves Animals association calls on Jerusalem residents to adopt or even foster a dog

Over 100 pooches – adults and puppies – have been impounded, and the association is constantly receiving more messages about abandoned and stray dogs. Another problem faced is dogs allowed to roam free without sterilization, causing more litters and more stray dogs – and the result is hundreds of puppies added to the city every month. 

The association, with the support of the veterinary service, holds an adoption day every Friday at Horse Park in the city centers.

What time is it?

After many years, the clock on the Central Bus Station facade has been reactivated, Mayor Moshe Lion proudly announced. As of this week, the clock, linked to a GPS system, will enable travelers to know in real time if they will make it for the next bus or not. 

Yet, residents have expressed outrage that the mayor is enthusiastic about updating a clock when so many city problems are not being addressed. Next on the to-do list for those responsible for the maintenance of the station should be a serious cleaning of the public toilets on the third floor and the addition of toilets on the entrance level. 

Beware of pickpockets

Pickpocketing in the city, especially on the light rail, has plagued passengers. It is not clear whether these are isolated cases or a coordinated crime racket by young people who take advantage of rush hour crowding to steal wallets and even – at least in one case – a Rav-Kav electronic ticketing card. There have been some complaints to police, but so far no one has been arrested or questioned in the matter. 

The late Asher Artzi

A memorial was spontaneously held at the junction of Yehuda Hanassi and Horkanya streets earlier this week in memory of Asher Artzi, a neighborhood resident killed last week while crossing at a crosswalk at the intersection of these two streets in the Gonen neighborhood. The rally, held on Sunday afternoon at the place where the fatal traffic accident happened, was intended to raise awareness about the danger of the junction, which causes a lot of anger among the residents.

Given the junction’s hazardous location, nine years ago the municipality had already received a budget from the government to regulate the dangerous intersection. Yet plans to establish a traffic circle and traffic lights are repeatedly rejected under various pretexts, despite the fact that the intersection is in close proximity to several schools.

Artzi, 87, was a resident of the neighborhood since its foundation. A highly respected community activist, he operated one of the local synagogues, used to feed the pigeons and often engaged in acts of kindness and charity.

Small but beautiful

Pinchas (Pini) Amitai, a beloved Jerusalemite entomologist, died earlier this week. Amitai taught generations of Jerusalem children to love animals, especially the smaller and the less popular ones. With endless patience, and out of great love both for children and for nature and animals, he wrote a magnificent chapter in the history of nature in the Holy City. 

In 2019, Pini was recognized as a Yakir Yerushalayim for “his valuable scientific discoveries in zoology, educating teachers and students to love nature and Jerusalem, and connecting residents to the urban nature around them.”

Pini’s Room at the zoo, which he donated, is a microcosm of his home collection. He maintained it himself, often picking leaves of various kinds to feed the room’s many little occupants. May his memory be a blessing. ❖