This week in Jerusalem - A round-up of city affairs

What has been going on in Israel's capital this week?

IN DEFIANCE of the law, many government offices refuse to move back to Jerusalem. Illustrative (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
IN DEFIANCE of the law, many government offices refuse to move back to Jerusalem. Illustrative
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
The Jerusalem Development Authority is set to begin work next week on the NIS 200 million cable car project connecting the First Station to the Dung Gate, the Old City entrance closest to the Western Wall. Mount Zion will also have a station and a maintenance depot will be built in Abu Tor.
Infrastructure work along the cable car path of the to the Old City includes uprooting numerous trees, some of them ancient, and will impact water pipes, sewage, communication cables, Old City parking and several institutions there, including the Martef ha-Shoah.
Emek Shaveh, a nonprofit whose aims include preventing the use of archaeology for political and ideological goals, is leading a campaign against the project. It has appealed to the forest commissioner to freeze the tree uprooting until the High Court of Justice has ruled. In July, project opponents appealed to the High Court, which ordered the government explain whether the cable project truly will “serve as a tourist attraction and make a real contribution to tourism in the area.”
The JDA replied that it would “carry out necessary activities in line with an approved plan and the legal proceedings underway,” but apparently a court procedure is not a good enough reason to halt a controversial project.
Municipal monkey business
Three recent incidents lead one to wonder about the decision-making process in our city.
1) On Sunday morning, following his loss in the US election, the municipality Facebook account loaded a post stating that President Donald Trump can easily find a job via the municipal employment bureau. Following furious responses from residents, the municipality removed the post and published an apology. The post was live for only a few hours and Trump probably wasn’t aware of it, but the question remains: Who takes responsibility for controversial actions at Safra Square?
2) On Jerusalem's recent first day of rain, municipal supervisors confiscated nylon sheets used by Balfour Street protesters for protection from precipitation. A few hours later, following protesters' complaints, the same supervisors returned and replaced the nylon sheets. It turned out the supervisors had acted without any coordination or specific permit from their superiors.
3) A teenager who tried to earn a few shekels by selling brewed drinks close to his house was fined NIS 500 by municipality supervisors. They refused to give him a warning or take into consideration his youth and the fact that he was just trying to earn some pocket money, which his parents couldn’t afford to give him. Following residents' complaints, the fine was canceled and the young boy just received a warning.
Come home
Since his arrival at city council, one of Hitorerut head Ofer Berkovitch's priorities has been putting an end to the intolerable refusal of governmental offices to move back to Jerusalem – despite the law requiring it. The consequent harm to the capital's economy is even worse in this coronavirus period, when the city’s economy is largely shut down.
Despite repeated attempts by Berkovitch and others to resolve the problem, little has been accomplished so far. Offices for those governmental branches exist here yet remain empty, as some ministers evidently prefer working in the Center.  
Honoring Hila
Lt. Hila Bezaleli, killed in a tragic accident at Mt. Herzl during a rehearsal for the 2012 Independence Eve ceremony, is now memorialized by a new Magen David Adom ambulance. The fully equipped vehicle bearing her name will operate in Mevaseret Zion, where Bezaleli lived and her family still resides. Bezaleli was an MDA volunteer before starting her IDF duty and planned to study medicine. The funds for the acquisition, obtained through a Friends of MDA campaign, were capped by a singularly generous contribution from an anonymous donor.