This week in Jerusalem: Happy at home

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 CINDERALOTUS, THE beauty of the lake, at the Botanical Garden. (photo credit: Courtesy Botanical Gardens)
CINDERALOTUS, THE beauty of the lake, at the Botanical Garden.
(photo credit: Courtesy Botanical Gardens)

Happy at home

Eighty-nine percent of Jerusalem residents are satisfied with their residential area, according to the last survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, and 88% are satisfied with their apartment. Of those satisfied with their area of residence, 42% are “very satisfied” and 47% are only “satisfied,” which ranks Jerusalem fourth in the country in terms of residents’ satisfaction.

Also, 65% of Jerusalemites are satisfied with the amount of green spaces in their residential area, while 54% are satisfied with the condition of the roads and sidewalks where they live. In terms of the length of commute to work, 62% of residents arrive within a half hour or less.

Torah without borders

UTJ MK and former deputy mayor Yitzhak Pindrus announced that over the years, he has made sure to study Torah with MKs from secular and anti-religious parties – per the directive of Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, who led the Lithuanian haredi public until his recent passing. Pindrus admitted that despite the common study, none of those seculars changed their mind and approached religion, but at least in one case, personal relationships between the two improved significantly. Pindrus added that the rabbi ordered him not to be afraid and to bring them closer to the light of Torah.

Botanical monsters

Summer vacation is just around the corner, and the Botanical Gardens at Hebrew University’s Givat Ram Campus are inviting parents and children to enjoy The BotaniMonster! Featuring “PlantMonsters” from the “Great PlantMonster Book,” visitors will learn about the mysterious creatures who have taken over the gardens and about nature, science, and the values of sustainability, while accompanied by Zachlia the adventure-seeking insect.

All this will take place with family activities and assignments that visitors will get from Zachlia along the route. Other creatures to be encountered on the way include Cinderalotus, the beauty of the lake; weird Crocodesheh; the amazing Picactus; Blutee the squirrel; Flowering Florence, the forest ranger and treetop watchman; Derech Agava; Crazy Tropee; and Shamamisha, who tries to hide her body.

MK Yitzhak Pindrus seen during Rosh Hodesh prayer of women of the wall, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, February 22, 2023. (credit: ERIK MARMOR/FLASH90)
MK Yitzhak Pindrus seen during Rosh Hodesh prayer of women of the wall, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, February 22, 2023. (credit: ERIK MARMOR/FLASH90)

The Monsters were created by Israeli artist and designer Alexander Haiezki specifically for this summer activity. The garden operates as an educational and research center and houses a broad collection of plants from all over the world, arranged in geographic sections.

Opening hours: weekdays from July 30 to August 31– 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; and Friday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Advance booking recommended; ticket price: from age 2, NIS 84. For more information: (02) 679-4012,

Water and pipes

The Gihon-Water Authority Board of Directors is bidding farewell to its chairman of the last nine years, Avi Balashnikov, who will be replaced at the end of this month by Amos Kalaji, CEO of the Wastewater Treatment Company. Balashnikov will leave after three consecutive terms and in accordance with the Public Companies Law, which does not allow another term after nine years in public companies.

Balashnikov has turned Gihon into the largest, most stable and most profitable water corporation among Israel’s 56 existing water corporations, as well as developing projects in the field of water and sewage, which were carried out in the city and the surrounding area, of more than NIS 2 billion. The annual budget of the Gihon is about NIS 1 billion and includes infrastructure development expenses.

The main projects under Balashnikov’s tenure have been the Kidron River restoration, and sewer regulation in eastern Jerusalem and the Old City. The Gihon’s net profit in the last two years was a record NIS 150 million after taxes, and all of it was reinvested in various projects in the city and surrounding areas.

Jerusalem is working

Tens of thousands of people come every day to Jerusalem – not for tourism or prayer, but to work. This is the result of an ongoing survey run by Yair Assaf-Shapira, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research.

In 2022, in addition to the 264,500 Jerusalemites who are employed in the city, 81,400 workers came from other areas, making up about a quarter of Jerusalem’s workforce (24%).

Tel Aviv has 291,600 workers coming from outside the city, who represent a majority, 62%, of those employed there.

The largest number in the Jerusalem workforce comes from Judea and Samaria, (30,500), compared to 22,700 from Tel Aviv. From the greater Jerusalem district – Beit Shemesh, Abu Gosh, Mevaseret Zion and other areas – 21,400 workers come to the city daily for employment. This can be attributed to the increasing use of public transportation to Jerusalem, and the trend of workers coming to Jerusalem is expected to continue.

Haredi and secret

At a ceremony held Monday at the President’s Residence, certificates of merit were awarded by President Isaac Herzog to 14 Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) members, both men and women, as well as a lifetime achievement award. One of the honorees is a haredi Jerusalemite woman, who manages a project at the agency. The ceremony was held in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar.

Soul market

An “Oleh Fair” last Friday at the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization attracted immigrants, veterans and tourists who came from all over the country. They were greeted by 40 immigrant entrepreneurs who were selling their blue-and-white wares: food and beverages, fashion, art, home decor and more.

About 40 small- and medium-sized businesses, owned by new immigrants who decided to fulfill their Zionist and business dreams in Israel, took part in the event. The NBN fair was held in collaboration with the municipality’s Authority for Immigrants and Absorption.

Fourth of July, local style

The Afikim Family Enrichment Association will host a barbecue extravaganza in Jerusalem to celebrate US Independence Day. Set – obviously – for July 4, it will bring community members from all walks of life together and provide a fun-filled day for all ages with games, music and dancing.

More than 100 Kol Hanearim volunteers from the US will be joining the team to help with setup and cooking. The event starts at 6 p.m., at the Chantal Carey Center, 134 Hebron Rd. and is open to all.

Afikim is a nonprofit serving more than 600 at-risk children, in Jerusalem and across Israel. ❖