1 letter, 2 men and 3 scandals

Even Yossi Havilio's most ferocious adversaries didn't expect that a new, second front would threaten the beleagured city attorney.

yossi havilio 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
yossi havilio 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Even Yossi Havilio's most ferocious adversaries didn't expect that a new, second front would threaten the beleagured city attorney. After all, the mayor and his allies in the city council from United Torah Judaism and Shas have done a very good job so far in their war against the most famous Don Quixote of Kikar Safra. But sometimes surprises can occur. Havilio recently announced that, due to some legal issues that were not resolved to his satisfaction, he would not allow the opening of highway No. 9, the new and modern entry to the city intended to alleviate the rush-hour congestion there. The road, in any case, has since been held up due to a lack of compliance with the contract regarding animal crossings. Havilio was not aware that as long as he restricted himself to straightforward legal issues, director-general Eitan Meir would not interfere. What could possibly interfere with Meir's heavy duties, while Havilio fought for the rule of law, even at the cost of his job, and as some murmur, at the price of his health? Meir has other obligations: a city to run, a budget to manage and a job to be done. But when Havilio came too close to Meir's territory, meaning roads and transportation, the earth began to tremble under his feet. Meir reacted to Havilio's decision not to allow the opening of the road with the sound of thunder: A letter, written in a harsh tone and using the rudest words that could be still considered passable, landed on Havilio's desk, urging him in no uncertain terms to mind his own business. Meaning, his business are not the issues relating to the road. Unofficial sources in Meir's inner circle explained this week that the prompt reaction was meant to make a clear statement as to what would be tolerated or not by the boss. For Havilio, this was a painful but healthy opportunity to learn that the haredi city councillors are not his only adversaries at City Hall. Never too late to learn something new, as my grandmother would say. Not that Meir does not see the agony Havilio has been going through for months now. Meir has even tried here and there to give him some support and, according to sources at Kikar Safra, even some good advice. After all, Meir himself is not exactly the darling of our mayor But now the two men are barely on speaking terms. One of these days, one of them might realize that they're both going in the wrong direction. Perhaps that is, after all, the deep meaning of the argument over highway No. 9: Sometimes a road is more than just a road. You could assume that this issue would be enough to describe the life of our elected representatives. Well rejoice brethren, there's more: The committe in charge of street names has decided once again to reject the proposal to name a street after Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz. "A serious threat to the public's feelings," was the official reason. After Mayor Uri Lupolianski twice missed a meeting of the Knesset Comptroller's Committee, to answer claims that his administration does not treat new immigrants well, city council member Nir Barkat gathered 3500 signatures of local olim, calling on the mayor to see that they obtain more services from the municipality, and presented them to the city council. With no results whatsoever. And then there's the parade, of course. While the haredi leaders are divided on the issue - to react or not to react - city council member Mina Fenton (NRP) has kept the district police chief, Ilan Franco, busy reading her letters. Fenton, who sends him about three urgent missives a week that she also copies and distributes publicly, states that the fate of the people of Israel, here and all over the world - no more no less - is in Franco's hands. She urged him not to allow the gay pride parade.