This week in Jerusalem: The lady is a winner

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

 CHOOSING THE Hills: Hiking the Sataf in the Jerusalem Hills. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
CHOOSING THE Hills: Hiking the Sataf in the Jerusalem Hills.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The lady is a winner

The High Court of Justice halted the transfer of the Lady Davis Amal School building in Kiryat Yovel to the Beit Ya’akov network, bolstering the residents’ struggle against the introduction of a haredi institution in the area. The residents, led by Deputy Mayor and upcoming mayoral candidate Yossi Havilio, together with the backing of some city council members, refused to accept the original decision made by Mayor Moshe Lion.

They argued that bringing a haredi school into the heart of the neighborhood would damage its standing and push the more liberal members of the public away from the area, and indeed, the capital.

“The verdict proves that it is worth fighting,” Havilio said. “In the upcoming election, we must return the Zionist majority to the city council; this is the only way to protect the neighborhoods,” he warned.

It is not clear how the haredi coalition members will react to the new ruling, since the transfer of the Lady Davis Amal School building was part of an extended plan that included the tacit agreement of the ultra-Orthodox council representatives for the expansion of the haredi school.

Move out and move in 

The municipality informed parents in the French Hill neighborhood that a pluralistic kindergarten was to be handed over to the haredi kindergarten network, which as of next September, would be under the management of the Neveh Ya’acov local administration. This is despite the fact that, as of now, nine secular children have already registered for the kindergarten, with another six on a waiting list. 

 MAYOR MOSHE LION on Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MAYOR MOSHE LION on Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Sources at Safra Square indicate that for now, only 11 haredi children will wait for this transfer, while 15 secular children remain without any available local kindergarten places. Councilor Laura Wharton (Mertz-Democratic Jerusalem, running in the upcoming municipal election) called on residents to fight this decision: “French Hill is a pluralistic neighborhood, as noted at last year’s community administration elections. Thus, it is wrong and unjust to remove pluralistic children from their places, cancel their registration, and introduce other children – it goes against any logic and fairness.” 

Do the crime, do the time  

A protester who recklessly overturned a garbage bin that hit a woman was sentenced to 20 months in prison as part of a plea bargain. Meir Katsav participated in a violent demonstration in Mea She’arim last December, against the arrest of a haredi person suspected of arson at a neighborhood cellphone store. He was convicted of committing crimes of causing serious injury under aggravating circumstances and endangering freedom of movement. 

Up, up to the hills 

The coalition of organizations for the Jerusalem Hills recently launched the Choosing the Hills campaign, to encourage municipal election candidates to commit to maintaining the open spaces. Their ultimate purpose? To work toward the establishment of a national park that will protect the area from future urban development. 

Moving in 

The US Embassy rented two unfinished floors in a building in the Talpiot Industrial Zone, apparently intended for use by the embassy staff while the US Mission’s permanent home in the neighborhood’s Allenby complex is being built. The embassy offices will be built in accordance with American requirements and standards. 

Anything you can do, I can do better

What is allowed for the mayor of Tel Aviv, must also be possible in Jerusalem. So says Deputy Mayor and holder of the education portfolio Hagit Moshe (Bayit Yehudi). Following Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s decision to name the intersection identified with the protests on Kaplan Street “Democracy Square,” Moshe requested that Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion rename the intersection of Kaplan/Yitzhak Rabin streets near Cinema City “Derech Ha’ahdut” (Unity Road).

“At this time, we are obligated to increase unity in the Israeli street and not to perpetuate division in the nation,” said Moshe, adding that her request is a message of reconciliation and inclusion at the intersection leading to the Supreme Court and the Knesset, since everything has to be done to unite all parts within Israel together.

It should be noted that according to protocol, changing the name of a street or square is accepted only by the professional committee for recommending names, with the final decision being made with the approval of the city council. Usually, this is a process that takes about a year. It was violated only once  – when former mayor Nir Barkat decided, during the inauguration of the interchange at the exit from Pisgat Ze’ev, to name it after the prime minister’s father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu, less than a year after his death.

Superbus abuse 

In response to an increase in the number of incidents of violence and vandalism against Superbus drivers, mostly in the northern neighborhoods, such as Ramot, the police decided on a series of measures, such as proactive field activity.

Since Superbus entered the public transportation lines in the city, there have been many complaints from both the passengers and the bus drivers. Residents claim a disrespectful attitude on the part of some drivers, reckless driving, and lack of consideration – such as driving at high speed when leaving the bus stations and even before the passengers are ready to take their seats. On the other hand, the drivers complain about verbal and physical violence directed at them by passengers. Almost every week such an incident occurs, often accompanied by serious damage to the bus. In an incident that occurred last week, a number of Jewish boys attacked an Arab bus driver, threw objects at the terminus, and hit the bus. Two weeks earlier, at the end of June, two drivers were attacked with tear gas in a combined incident where young people obstructed the movement of the bus on the road, and inside the bus their cohorts sprayed tear gas. ❖