Jerusalem Affairs: Peggy Cidor's round-up

There is an update regarding the claim of a buyer of contested real estate located on plots belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church.

AN ANNUAL falafel celebration helps David Dugo Leitner commemorate his mother and his survival (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
AN ANNUAL falafel celebration helps David Dugo Leitner commemorate his mother and his survival
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Save my home
There is an update regarding the claim of a buyer of contested real estate located on plots belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church. The owner originally bought the property from the Nayot Komemiyut group, with the understanding that they were securing all rights from the Church and becoming its sole owners. They constructed homes on the land in Talbiyeh and Rehavia, but recently discovered they were about to lose all rights to these properties. Former city councilwomen Rachel Azaria, Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, MKs and representatives from Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund have tried to find a solution, but without any success thus far.
In short, the residents bought their properties on lease from the Church, believing that by the year 2050 they could easily renew their leases. Instead, they found out that the Church sold the properties to a private group that had no intention of renewing the leases under the same conditions. Until recently, that group avoided selling to the tenants under the full rights of a lease, expecting a solution that would include all the residents, but it seems that there has been a change of attitude. The question now is what the 1,200 or so residents will do, and moreover, what the government will do, since the property on which the Israel Museum stands is included in the list of former plots belonging to the Church.
Sport or nature?
A sports facility promoted by the municipality is slated to be greeted by a large protest of local residents backed by the Society for Protection of Nature. Residents of the east Talpiot neighborhood are opposed to the new Sportech – a 1,500-square meter facility that is intended to include two football fields with 400 seats each, and many more facilities.
The Sportech is planned to be built in the “Valley of Olives,” which holds some of the most ancient olive trees in the city, and serves as a meeting point for residents of east Talpiot, Arnona and Sur Baher. However, the project – like two other similar ones that already exist in other neighborhoods – are part of the City Building Plan. It was approved during former mayor Nir Barkat’s tenure, which means the struggle against it is not going to be easy.
Woman power
For the first time in Safra Square history, a woman, Devorah Avissar, aged 51, will run for a place on the employees’ committee. Elections are set to take place on January 30. Avissar, a municipal employee for 25 years, said that it’s time for a woman – who understands the needs of female employees – to head of the committee that represents more than 9,000 workers, of which about 65% are women.
A century and a school
WIZO is celebrating its 100th birthday this month with a series of events in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. One of the local events is the inauguration of WIZO Beit Hakerem School, which has been completely renovated at a cost of NIS 9 million – contributed by WIZO England. The school is the only facility of its kind in Israel that enables special-needs students to study, learn a profession, obtain certificates and diplomas, and access matriculation tests. The school, established in 1924 and located on Hehalutz Street, housed one of Israel’s first daycare centers for babies. A centennial celebration ceremony will take place in the presence of British Ambassador Neil Wigan.
A falafel for a survivor
David Dugo Leitner was born in Hungary and survived the Holocaust. He remembers being on a death march during the war on a January 18. He recalls the freezing weather, thinking of his mother’s baked goods and his dreams of going to Israel, a land of plenty that his mother promised.
He made it finally to Nir Galim, and after a while discovered the falafel in Mahaneh Yehuda, which somehow reminded him of his mother’s hopeful words. Since then, he celebrates each January 18 by eating his fill of falafel.
Since 2016, the Bet Ha'edut Center in Nir Galim, which memorializes the Holocaust and where Dugo is active, has been taking its message to Facebook in order to reach a younger audience. This year, they are inviting people to take a picture of themselves eating a falafel and post it on Facebook.
Already a decade
Mayor Moshe Lion kicked off the 10th Jerusalem “Winner” Marathon earlier this week, on a particularly cold and rainy Monday evening. The event includes 30,000 participants and more than 1,000 foreign runners, which is aimed, as Lion stated, to break last year’s record. This year, the mayor revealed, he will also be taking part!
Registration is open, and the marathon will hit the pavement on Friday, March 20, from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cleaner center
As of next week, old air-polluting commercial vehicles will not be allowed in city center. This is part of the effort to keep the city center clean of pollution. The project was submitted to the city council two years ago by city council member Arieh King (United), finally approved and now being put into action.