City Notes: Budget approved for Ethiopian Jewry heritage center in Hadera

A round up of local stories.

An El Al airliner. (photo credit: REUTERS)
An El Al airliner.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Hadera City Council has approved a budget of NIS 250,000 for the construction of an Ethiopian Jewry heritage center, as promised to the city’s Ethiopian community by Mayor Zvi Gendelman. The budget, which was passed by a majority vote, is the first step toward the establishment of the heritage center, slated to be built on municipal land in the industrial area.
The move sparked joy among the Ethiopian community representatives who attended the meeting and waited to hear the final vote. Several years ago, the previous city administration allocated land to establish a heritage center to an association of activists working to preserve Ethiopian Jewish culture. The municipality said that the association should raise the money to build the center within an allotted period of time; but if they failed, the land allocation would return to the municipality. The association didn’t manage to raise the money, but the mayor decided that the municipality should take on the project.
The center will include displays, documentation and studies of Ethiopian Jewish heritage, storage space, offices and warehouses, as well as a large outdoor area for gatherings and events.
Haifa statue not stolen but taken for repairs
The Haifa Municipality clarified last week that contrary to rumors circulating around town that the landmark Five sculpture was stolen, it had in fact been taken for repair work due to its age. The seven-meter-high sculpture, crafted by late artist Buky Schwartz, has stood in Meirhof Square since 1973. It was taken to the workshop of Ami Attias, who is responsible for the maintenance of outdoor sculptures, and will undergo a heart and lung transplant before being put back in the square.
In the book Outdoor Sculptures in Haifa published by the Haifa Municipality in 2012, it said of the statue: “Schwartz’s statue is made up of five consecutive cubes rising to heaven. The cubes kiss one another in the corner only and, in fact, defy gravity, which draws wonder and amazement from its viewers. In the 1960s, Schwartz began to create sculptures on the theme of geometric minimalism, the influence of which can be seen in this sculpture through the use of repetitive form and color.”
El Al flies 14 special-needs kids to Israel
El Al Israel Airlines recently brought 14 special needs children to Israel as part of Chai Lifeline’s Wish at the Wall program. The NPO, which provides emotional, social and financial support to families with children who have cancer and other life-threatening or chronic illnesses, has been a partner with El Al for decades.
The children came with their parents to tour famous sites around the country, from Eilat in the South to Rosh Hanikra in the North. Specially trained El Al reservations agents working on the medical desk, as well as airport managers, offered assistance to provide the children with a smooth travel experience.
Nachman Maimon, Chai Lifeline program director, said, “The El Al staff continues to provide personalized service, which makes it possible for the children to take a trip that most never dreamed they could manage. Regardless of any challenge, the airline’s staff are devoted to ensuring that the children are comfortable and happy by providing warmth, smiles and outstanding care both on the ground and throughout the flight.” The program kicked off in 2011, with its first teen tour.
Elderly man beaten in attempted Bnei Brak robbery
An 80-year-old was wounded during an attempted robbery in Bnei Brak, the Israel Police reported Sunday. Two men entered the man’s home and began to beat him up.
The elderly man’s daughter, who was in the apartment at the time, began screaming, and the two men fled. Police searched the area for the suspects and tried to identify them. The man was taken to a nearby medical center to be treated for light injuries to his face.
Bat Yam partners with the IFCJ to help elderly citizens
The Bat Yam Municipality announced this week that it will soon launch a new project, in partnership with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, to serve the town’s elderly citizens. Within the framework of the project, 1,300 citizens over the age of 80 will receive aid in the form of food, medicine and relief of loneliness. Bat Yam Mayor Yossi Bachar remarked, “Tens of thousands of senior citizens in Israel suffer from loneliness and financial distress, and we as a society must take care of them and help them live their last years in peace and security.”
This project, called With Respect and Friendship, began activities in August 2013 with a number of municipalities around the country and provides assistance to thousands of elderly people. Within a few years, the number is expected to increase to some 30,000 seniors at an investment of NIS 100 million.
Thieves caught fishing at Ashkelon antiquities park
Israel Antiquities Authority police, together with rangers of Ashkelon National Park, caught three antiques thieves red-handed as they broke into ancient tombs in Tel Ashkelon in Ashkelon National Park this week.
The three suspects in their 30s, residents of Tel Sheva, allegedly arrived at the site by SUV, carrying digging tools and a sophisticated metal detection device. Tel Ashkelon was one of the most important port cities in Israel in ancient times, and people inhabited the area in the Canaanite period, the Iron Age and the Hellenistic and Roman times.
Police caught the suspects just as they were looting a tomb from the Byzantine period, which dates back 1,500 years.
Police suspected that the men broke into three ancient tombs, breaking stones that made up the ceiling of the graves, and carried out a “brutal dig” of the grave space. The IAA said that irreparable damage was caused to the graves: On the floor, dozens of fragments of pottery, pieces of lead coffins and shattered limestone were found.
Police arrested the suspects and took them to the Ashkelon police station for questioning. The suspects denied accusations, saying they had gone to Ashkelon to fish and had dug into the graves to extract worms from the earth to use as bait.
The remand of the three suspects was extended and an investigation was launched with the aim of filing indictments. The IAA said that damage to an archeological site is a serious offence, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Guy Fitoussi of the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit said that in ancient times, the dead were buried along with their personal belongings, and these items remain intact in the tombs and are therefore of particular interest to thieves.
“The destruction of the ancient site for greed has prevented the ability to perform research and has harmed historical and cultural values and important clues to understanding the culture of the inhabitants of the Earth in ancient time,” he said.
Giant sinkhole opens just after section of Highway 90 closed in Ein Gedi
A week after the decision was made to close a part of Road 90 in Ein Gedi, a giant sinkhole opened along that section of the road.
According to authorities, the decision to close off that part of the road was a life-saving one. The decision was made after five centimeters of road sank near the Dead Sea and several holes appeared along the asphalt. Authorities feared that a larger hole would open, which is what happened on Sunday during infrastructure work carried out in the area.
The collapse of the road was prevented by a special safety net deployed by the Israel Pipeline Company several years ago along that stretch of the road. This is a special type of sheet imported from Germany. At the same time, the company installed a sensor system whose function is to warn of the development of sinkholes underneath the Arugot bridge.
The decision to close the section of the road was made due to continuous monitoring of the development of sinkholes in the area.
The ongoing construction work will result in a new highway that will bypass the sinkholes.
MDA runs ‘life-saving day’ in Beersheba mall
Magen David Adom’s “life-saving day” was held in the Negev mall in Beersheba this week, in cooperation with the city’s youth department. Hundreds of residents took part in the event, which dozens of young MDA volunteers took dozens of units of blood donations. In addition, Mayor Rubik Denilovich and over 120 shoppers learned how to perform CPR and how to save lives at MDA’s special training stands scattered around the mall.
Ronen Grazik, an MDA volunteer in the Negev region said that he was happy with the success of the event was sure that it was the beginning of a tradition. He said MDA wish to run events of this kind twice a year to teach the public that anyone can save lives.