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

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

YEHUDA MESHI-ZAHAV (at left, with Yair Lapid) issued a strong call to haredim this week (photo credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/FLASH90)
YEHUDA MESHI-ZAHAV (at left, with Yair Lapid) issued a strong call to haredim this week
(photo credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/FLASH90)
 A mourner’s call
On Tuesday morning, after intensive prayers for her recovery, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav’s mother passed away from COVID-19. The timing was tragic – before the end of the shiva period for Meshi-Zahav’s father, who also died from corona. In a very touching call issued on a haredi radio station in the city, the mourning son pleaded for people in his community to wake up and realize the danger of their attitude toward the pandemic. 
Meshi-Zahav – who 18 years ago founded ZAKA, the organization that collects remains of those killed in terror attacks and fatal accidents, and has seen more than one terrible scene – burst into tears while accusing his ultra-Orthodox peers of “murder” when they refuse to obey virus restrictions. His call, a few hours after the death of his mother – who as he pointed out, was never sick or hospitalized in her life, and died because she was probably infected by someone who wasn’t careful enough – has ignited a series of reactions in the haredi sector. 
Meshi-Zahav called upon rabbis and spiritual leaders to issue strong calls to protect lives by getting vaccinated and adhering strictly to the rules. He even dared to add that ignoring the coronavirus and its dangers is worse that denying the Holocaust.
Ride or park
There was a strange victory in Gilo this past week, as a group of Harduf Street residents succeeded in convincing the Jerusalem Transportation Master Plan heads to cancel a bicycle path project. The reason invoked was that the path would eliminate a few parking places along that street. The residents managed to convince the powers-that-be that parking near their apartments was more of a priority than encouraging bike-riding in the neighborhood. 
It is important to note that since former mayor Nir Barkat’s tenure, creating bike paths in most neighborhoods has been an achievement saluted by virtually all residents, in addition to the obvious approval of environmental activists. But this time, the comfort and ease of having a parking space close to one’s front door appeared to be far more critical to the master planners, although Master Plan staff members have reportedly agreed to look for another place for the project.
From Paris to Jerusalem
Jerusalem-born chef Assaf Granit earlier this week was awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant in Paris. The prestigious award was celebrated in Jerusalem at the no-less-prestigious Mahaneh Yehuda restaurant created 10 years ago by Granit, from which he began to earn his success and became a world-renowned chef. It is interesting to note that while the restaurant next to the shuk is non-kosher, it is closed on Shabbat eve, and even has a mezuzah on its door.
New chief in the city
There is a new chief of police for the capital. Doron Turgeman was appointed earlier this week by Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, following the decision by outgoing chief Doron Yadid to call it quits after he was not chosen as the country’s police chief. Turgeman had until now been the chief of the Kedem area, which includes the Old City.