City Notes: Acre weighs establishing flight school

Snow on Mount Hermon; bad exams in Kfar Kasim; Eilat gives out blankets.

plane 311 (photo credit: Courtesy Bill Clark)
plane 311
(photo credit: Courtesy Bill Clark)


The Acre Municipality and Mateh Asher Regional Council are looking into opening a flight school for youth in the area. The venture would utilize volunteer instructors who are former senior pilots in the Israel Air Force.

The idea came about after Acre mayor Shimon Lankry and Mateh Asher Regional Council head Yehuda Shavit visited a similar flight school in Rishon Lezion that is operated by former pilots on a volunteer basis. Following the visit, two former IAF pilots met with the two local leaders this week and agreed to help get the project off the ground.

Both the Acre Municipality and Mateh Asher Regional Council appointed managers to supervise and promote the project, and the mayor and regional council head decided to draft a preliminary plan for the two local governments to fund the school, the Local website reported.

Season’s first snow falls on Mount Hermon

For the first time this year, snow fell on Mount Hermon early this week. Ten centimeters of snow fell on the crest of the Golan Heights’ tallest mountain, at an altitude of approximately 2,020 meters. Lower areas of the mountain, on which Israel’s only ski slopes are located, saw three to five centimeters of soft snow mixed with occasional rain.

Although the first snowfall did not provide enough snow coverage for the ski resort to open for the season, site administrators expressed hope Mount Hermon could open to skiers this weekend if enough snow accumulates throughout the week.

‘Hadera will be a metropolis in 20 years’

Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan this week predicted that within 20 years his city will become Israel’s fifth metropolis. Speaking at a business conference in Eilat, Avitan explained that rising real estate prices would drive Hadera into the metropolis club, currently occupied only by Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.

In the next decade alone, the mayor said, some 18,000 housing units are expected to be built in the city, thereby expanding its population to 150,000 from the 90,000 residents it has today. Compared to other cities, he noted, Hadera has some of the largest tracts of land in Israel.

Transportation infrastructure upgrades, Avitan predicted, “will greatly affect the increasing demand [for housing] by a stronger population and will simultaneously turn Hadera into a business and economic center,” the Local website reported.

Child dies in car fire

Tragedy struck the northern town of Ein al-Asad last week when a car went up in flames with a four-yearold boy trapped inside. Following a preliminary investigation, police believe the boy was left alone in the car while his parents were working to harvest olives in an adjacent field.

Firefighters dispatched to the scene extinguished the fire and retrieved the boy’s body. Magen David Adom paramedics declared him dead on the scene. Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.


Kafr Kasim matriculation exams disqualified

The Education Ministry has disqualified over 300 high-school matriculation exams following allegations of widespread cheating in Kafr Kasim, Army Radio reported last week. The students are accused of using cell phones and hiding notes to cheat on their exams, which were taken last summer. The ministry is investigating, and those students who are found to have cheated will be barred from retaking it for a period of two years.

Wolfson rolls out free Wi-Fi

Patients and their families can now surf the Internet for free at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, part of a project called “Wolfson Free.” Starting this week, wireless Internet access will be rolled out in all of the hospital’s outpatient clinics and departments, which treat some 180,000 patients each year.

The information technology staff at the hospital will be working hard to extend the service soon thereafter to the inpatient departments at Wolfson, IT manager Israel Fineberg told the Local website. The service, he said, will be provided without any limitations and will be easy to connect to.

“The service is designed to improve the long periods of time patients and their families spend in the outpatient units, particularly the dialysis and oncological departments,” he said.

The wireless Internet service equipment and connectivity was donated by Intel and communications companies 012 Smile and Bezeq.

TA mayor to expand bike rental options

All 140 rental stations for Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s “Tel-O-Fun” bicycle service will be in operation by the start of the new year, Tel Aviv-Jaffa mayor Ron Huldai announced at a ceremony in Jaffa late last week. Huldai took the opportunity to emphasize the success of the city’s public bicycle rental project thus far.

“The number of rides is higher than we expected and the rate of vandalism is lower than expected,” the mayor noted. “It’s a huge success. For almost no money we have made it possible to travel around this small, flat city where you can get to any location in half an hour and to enjoy everything the city has to offer.”

The city also said it will begin offering daily and weekly rentals for the green bikes at the start of the new year. Currently, renters must subscribe to the service and then pay an hourly rate for use of the bicycles, with the first 30 minutes being free. The new daily subscription will cost NIS 14, a weekly rental will cost NIS 60 and a weekend rental will cost NIS 20.

Peres toasts Christmas in Jaffa President

Shimon Peres joined Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai for a visit to St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in Jaffa on Thursday, extending Christmas greetings to Christian communities in Israel and around the world. The two addressed some 100 students from the Christian-Arab Terra Santa School in the city and the head and representatives of Jaffa’s Christian community. The president and guests held a toast ahead of the Christmas holiday.

“I hope that Christmas will bring with it tidings of peace in the Middle East and throughout the entire world,” Peres told those attending the toast.

Huldai also praised the Jaffa Christian community, saying that they are “an integral, important part [of the city] and are a cultural, social and economic foundation of the city.”


Eilat distributes blankets to needy families

The Eilat Municipality’s Social Services Division distributed 200 quilts to needy families with children in the city this week. Last year, the municipality gave priority to senior citizens when distributing the blankets.

The quilts, provided by the Yad B’Yad factory for a nominal price of NIS 10, are just one of the many types of donated and subsidized goods distributed by the city’s Social Services Division throughout the year. Other goods include schoolbags for children and food baskets during the holidays.

Ashkelon to give scholarships to teachers

The Ashkelon Municipality is to begin providing scholarships to teachers in its schools who are completing advanced degrees. The one-time NIS 3,000 scholarships are limited to schoolteachers who pursuing BA, MA or PhD degrees and are actively teaching in the current school year. Ashkelon mayor Benny Vaknin said “the main objective is to strengthen the teachers and to train them to strengthen the academic level of education of their teaching, equipping teachers with more tools to use within the educational system,” the Local website reported.

State demolishes four Beduin complexes in the Negev

The Interior Ministry razed four building complexes belonging to Beduin in the Yatir area of the Negev late last week. The families living in the homes told Israel Radio they no longer have any place to live following the demolitions. The state, however, claimed the families have access to property in the Hura settlement but left the town fearing retribution from a blood feud, according to the report.

Eilat hosts ‘Desert Half-Marathon’

Some 500 runners from eight countries were set to take part in the International Desert Half-Marathon in and near Eilat on Friday. The event, sponsored by the Eilat Municipality and the Israel Marathon Society, will include runners from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, England and Jordan. The event will include four heats: A half marathon and 10 km., 5 km. and 2 km. races.

Entertainment stations will be placed along the route of the race, exposing runners and spectators to “desert elements” and exhibitions and performances designed to emphasize the value of nature through art, music and more.