Good news for the city entrance - a Purim miracle?

For those of you who have always thought that the gateway to the capital - the holiest city in the world - was a little too gloomy, rejoice: The times they are a changing.

Although nothing indicates that we are on the cusp of a brave new world, it does sometimes happen that this column delivers some positive news. Coming into our city one sees the cemetery in Givat Shaul, synthetic grass and a big Shabbat clock at the entrance. For those of you who have always thought that the gateway to the capital - the holiest city in the world - was a little too gloomy, rejoice: The times they are a changing. According to the most recent decision of the municipal Finance Committee, hundreds of thousands of shekels will be allocated to the construction and planning department to refurbish the gateway to the city on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Now this is really good news, since this time - a Purim miracle - someone at Kikar Safra has decided that planning comes before implementation. And thus, with a little bit of patience and about NIS 800,000, a new plan for the entrance of the city will be conceived and, hopefully, realized. The question of what will be done to change the somewhat grim characteristics of the cemetery already sounds thrilling, but at least we've come to the right point: This city will finally obtain the entrance it deserves, and this administration deserves encouragement for having reached this conclusion. DOES THAT mean better times have reached Kikar Safra and its residents? Well, it depends whom you ask. The Finance Committee has also approved the budget for the 40th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification events. More than NIS 20 million, mostly from the government and the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, will be spent on an exhaustive list of events and festivities - including an Orthodox version of Nolad Lashir, but, as city council and committee member Sa'ar Netanel observed, "No gay parade has been scheduled." "Well," observed a City Hall official, "Some of the reactions to last's year parade did look like a kind of festivity." Indeed. LET'S STAY in the realm of miracles, and inform you that last week the elders of Kikar Safra witnessed a real first. City council member Yosef Daitch, representing Agudat Yisrael in the United Torah Judaism list (and more specifically MK Meir Porush, patron of Rabbi Yehoshua Pollack, Mayor Uri Lupolianski's opponent for the next elections), asked the city attorney, good old Yossi Havilio, to issue a legal opinion regarding the mayor's decision to temporarily suspend the procedure to hand over a public parcel of land to an Orthodox institution. Lupolianski heard that another Orthodox institution was interested in the plot, and decide to take the time to hear both sides before deciding. The problem is that the first institution belongs to Agudat Yisrael and is backed by Pollack. The other institution is identified with Degel Hatorah, the mayor's party. But that is not the point - in a first for the Orthodox parties, a city councilor has involved the city attorney in what would be considered as an internal affair. AND SINCE this journalist really wants to stay on a positive note, here is some good news: In accordance with Lupolianski's credo, children up to age 18 who are Jerusalem residents and accompanied by adult family members, are now admitted free to the botanical gardens on Givat Ram, courtesy of City Hall. Which reminds me that although the European press didn't make a big deal about Lupolianski's decision to stop the work on the Mughrabi bridge, the situation on the ground has certainly calmed down since then. Purim sameah!