160 streets in east J'lem get names

It took decades of confusion and uncertainty, but 160 streets in east Jerusalem have officially been named, the city said Wednesday. The new street names were chosen by a joint committee of city representatives, neighborhood dignitaries and east Jerusalem religious leaders The streets are located in more than a dozen Arab neighborhoods. For years, many streets in east Jerusalem were never named, causing residents serious difficulties in receiving mail and other city services. The city said the unnamed streets dated back to the Jordanian rule of east Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, and was caused, in part, by the often ad hoc construction in the neighborhoods. After representatives of the neighborhoods asked Mayor Uri Lupolianski to deal with the issue, a special committee was set up, the city said. "An address helps to determine an identity and sense of belonging; it helps to feel at home," Lupolianski said. "If we, as a state, wish to keep Jerusalem united, we must treat all the people equally and prevent any feeling of discrimination." The committee poured through historic maps of east Jerusalem from both the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate in the library of The Hebrew University in its search for names. The names of Arab philosophers from the Middle Ages and an Arab doctor who dealt in alternative medicine were among the names chosen for the streets, said Lupolianski adviser Yossi Cohen. One of the streets was named "the path of the watermelon" in keeping with an ancient Arab tale. To date, the municipality has not received any complaints about the new streets names, he said, only thanks.