City Notes: 200,000 visit nat’l parks in a single day

‘Human wave’ protests Betzet resort plan; Two 16 year-olds arrested for hate graffiti in Safed; TA inaugurates Israel’s first bicycle traffic light.

Ein Gedi nature reserve 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Ein Gedi nature reserve 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Some 200,000 people visited nature reserves and national parks last Saturday alone, according to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Roughly 65,000 visited reserves and parks with entrance fees and another estimated 130,000 visited free sites. INPA official Uzi Barzilai said that the numbers represented an increase from last year.
“Since the beginning of the holiday, more than half a million visitors came to reserves and parks. I expect that through the remainder of the holiday we’ll see more and more people coming out to hike in the reserves and parks – including the religious public.”
‘Human wave’ protests Betzet resort plan
More than 1,000 people took part in a demonstration this week against the construction of a beach resort and shopping center in Betzet. The participants formed a kilometer-long “human wave” along the shore. While adults were encouraged to sign a petition against the construction, performances and activities took place for children.
Organizers claimed that construction on the coastline would harm valuable open spaces by fragmenting access to the beach and would cause environmental damage with noise, light, air and water pollution.
“The beach must be preserved without construction for the sake of nature and the valuable landscape,” a statement said.
Umm el-Fahm holds ‘J’lem is in danger’ rally
Thousands of people went to Umm el-Fahm last week to participate in an rally held under the banner, “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is in danger,” promoted by the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch. The event was held at the city’s soccer stadium. Turkish and Palestinian flags were flown at the event alongside calls of: “With our spirit and blood we will redeem Al- Quds.”
Speakers praised the prisoner exchange deal reached last week that was expected to see Israeli Arab and Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
Two arrested for hate graffiti in Safed
Two 16-year-olds were arrested last week on suspicion that they spray-painted graffiti reading “Death to Jews” on four synagogues and a car in Safed earlier the same day. During a police interrogation, the two admitted to spray-painting the graffiti and claimed that it was in response to the torching of a mosque in the Galilee village of Tuba Zanghariya the week before.
TA inaugurates Israel’s first bicycle traffic light
Israel’s first bicycle traffic light was installed last week across from the Opera Tower in Tel Aviv, near the intersection of Allenby Road. The move comes following the construction of a new bicycle lane stretching the length of the city’s Herbert Samuel Promenade. The unorthodox traffic light was installed with the aim of allowing pedestrians to safely cross the promenade to Hayarkon Street. Additional bicycle traffic lights are planned along the bicycle path.
At the inauguration of the new traffic light, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai called the light “another reflection of the large investment the city is making in the creation of infrastructure to encourage cycling, constituting an alternative to private cars. Bicycle paths have become a part of the public infrastructure that serves all of the city’s residents.”
The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality has been building more than 110 kilometers of bicycle paths throughout the city in the past decade. Last Friday, the city hosted a cycling event that circled from the north of the city through Jaffa and back, drawing an estimated 10,000 participants.
Yarkon River Authority gets new D-G
The Yarkon River Authority welcomed new directorgeneral Hazi Tza’ig this week. Appointed by Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Tza’ig will assume responsibility for the national park that stretches through much of the center of the country. Tza’ig said that the new job was a challenge, as he will be charged with protecting and managing “the most significant ‘green lung’ in the country’s most densely populated metropolitan [area]. In addition to completing the first stage in rehabilitating the river’s water, we will continue investing in infrastructure development, like a continuous pedestrian promenade, bicycle trails, bridges and recreational facilities to encourage leisure activities along the river,” the Local website reported.
TA Israeli Museum invites families for Succot
The Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv is holding specially discounted tours for adults and children over Succot. The museum presents the story of the State of Israel alongside the story of Yitzhak Rabin’s life through unique content, architecture and advanced display technology, in a way that relates to the whole family and tells the story to future generations. The interactive exhibit is available with English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Hebrew audio tours that include translations for the over 180 films and documentaries available for viewing. The special holiday price of NIS 20 will continue until October 28.
Huldai slams security forces over ‘price tag’ attacks
Following the desecration and vandalism of Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai came out strongly against the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police’s lack of initiative in preventing so-called “price-tag” attacks.
“‘Price-tag’ vandals have been wandering throughout our country for so many years and they have not been caught,” Huldai said in an interview with Army Radio.
In the days after the cemetery vandalism, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Jaffa synagogue. No injuries or serious damages were reported in that attack.
Police arrest 94 for drunk driving
Police made 94 arrests for drunk driving, confiscated 93 driver’s licenses and impounded 53 vehicles during a special Traffic Police operation in the center of the country over the Succot holiday weekend. Additionally, 320 speeding tickets were issued during the three-day operation aimed at saving lives and making roads safer for travel.