City Notes: Haifa holds annual education conference

The annual Haifa Municipal Education Conference tackles issues in the Israeli education system.

carmel tunnels_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
carmel tunnels_521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The annual Haifa Municipal Education Conference took place this week in the city, with the participation of educational leaders from across the country, and tackled issues presented as central to the Israeli education system. Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav was scheduled to open the conference, along with Teachers’ Association chairman Ran Erez, Teachers’ Union director-general Yossi Wasserman and head of Haifa’s Administration for Education and Culture, Eran Dubovi.
Scheduled for debate among the participants were questions such as why so many matriculation exams are necessary; the education system’s responsibility for instances of violence; and who is responsible for the education of the ultra-Orthodox, the Local website reported.
Other expected participants included members of Knesset, Education Ministry officials and non-profit executives. One of the conference’s goals is to formulate recommendations for improving the education system, according to the report.
Youth arrested for setting traffic camera on fire
Police arrested a 19-year-old man last week on suspicion that he set fire to a speed camera on Route 4 near Binyamina last month in order to get his girlfriend out of a traffic citation. According to police, the suspect’s girlfriend, also 19, told him that she believed she had been caught speeding by the camera because she noticed a flash while passing by it.
The boyfriend then returned to the scene and set it on fire, police said. A spokesman for Israel Police’s Traffic Division said in response: “We take very seriously attempts to sabotage and disrupt [law] enforcement devices, which are designed to save lives,” Globes reported.
Haifa Port workers declare dispute over development plan
The Haifa Port’s labor committee received authorization from the Histadrut Labor Federation last week to start a labor dispute and could begin work disruptions in two weeks.
The dispute centers on the National Building and Planning Council’s decision to advance the creation of a shopping and leisure site at the port. The head of the committee, Meir Turgeman, says some 30 percent of the port would be turned over for public use, which would disrupt the port’s operations.
Russian tourists fall into Mount Tabor wadi Two Russian tourists fell into a wadi near Mount Tabor early on Sunday morning, suffering injuries that required one of them to be transported by helicopter to receive medical treatment. The seriously injured tourist was admitted to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. The second tourist, who was lightly injured, was evacuated to Emek Medical Center in nearby Afula by MDA paramedics.
Police said that the approximately 50-year-old tourists were in the area of Mount Tabor visiting a church. The circumstances of the incident were being investigated.
Haifa could use Carmel Tunnels as massive bomb shelters
The Haifa Municipality revealed this week that in the event of a war that leads to missile or rocket attacks on the city, it will use part of the Carmel Tunnel routes as mass emergency shelters that will be able to accommodate tens of thousands of people.
In addition, the municipality has mapped all the businesses in Haifa, taking note of their measurements and other details, to examine the possibility of requiring owners to keep their business open in a time of war.
Bar mitzvas for Holocaust survivors
The Ramat Hasharon Municipality and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation were preparing for a special mass bar mitzva for Ramat Hasharon’s population of Holocaust survivors who were not able to perform the rite of passage in their childhood due to the Nazi extermination campaign, the Local website reported.
As part of the program that was scheduled to take place this week, the municipality and the Heritage Foundation provided the participants with transportation to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, tefillin, an opportunity to read from the Torah, a celebratory bar mitzva meal and a guided tour of the Chain of Generations Center in the Old City, according to the report. Ten Holocaust survivors who had never celebrated their bar mitzvas were identified ahead of the event, but the municipality was searching for others in the city.
The city said of the program: “The Ramat Hasharon Municipality, through its senior citizens’ department, is addressing the special needs of Holocaust survivors living in the city throughout the year. The seniors’ division is leading with an innovative model of local government in its services provided for seniors – the first of its kind.”
“Several diverse organizations used to operate in the city,” the statement continued, “but they did not cover the full range of needs and solutions required by the older population.”
TA residents no longer restricted to parking zones
Tel Aviv-Jaffa residents with city-issued parking stickers affixed to their vehicles will no longer have to pay for parking at blue-and-white-marked curbs in areas in the city outside of their designated parking zones. Previously, residents could park for free in the area of their residence but had to pay for parking in other zones delineated by the city.
Conversely, for non-residents, parking fees were increased by NIS 0.5 to NIS 6 per hour.
The municipality emphasized that the changes do not apply to marked preferred parking areas and streets, in which only certain local residents may park during designated days and hours.
PT teenager arrested for manufacturing smoke bombs
Police last week arrested a 17-year-old resident of Petah Tikva suspected of assembling dangerous smoke bombs and selling them to his friends. Officers found a lab in the boy’s house in which he is believed to have built approximately 20 grenadetype explosives which he sold for NIS 100 each.
The boy was arrested and detained at the local police station, but later released under restrictive conditions. Police asked parents in the city to supervise the activities of their children, as the materials confiscated can cause damage to limbs and severe burns.
South TA residents demand increased police presence
A community action group in south Tel Aviv sent an urgent plea to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to flood the streets with police officers following the alleged rape of an Israeli woman by two Eritrean men last week. The Working Council of Southern Tel Aviv Neighborhoods wrote to the prime minister, “We are turning to you with an unambiguous demand: that the prime minister must immediately intervene and flood police forces to the south of Tel Aviv.”
Coming amid anti-African and anti-immigrant rhetoric and protests fueled by discounted claims of disproportionately high crime rates among foreigners in the south of the city, accentuated by reports of violent crimes perpetrated by Africans, the letter continued, “Ahead of the holiday season, a period in which infiltrators are idle and therefore in the streets, there will be a dramatic increase in violence.”
Rahat family feud leaves one dead, eight injured
A woman was killed and eight people suffered light to moderate injuries in a brawl between different branches of a family in the Beduin city of Rahat in the Negev over the weekend.
The woman was admitted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where she succumbed to her wounds shortly thereafter.
MDA paramedics called to the scene of the brawl were pelted with stones, which cracked the windshield of an ambulance and forced the rapid response teams to flee. MDA stated that it views very gravely attacks against paramedics and ambulances that arrived on the scene in order to treat the wounded and save lives.
Eilat school roof collapses
Maintenance workers in Eilat discovered that one of the city’s schools’ roofs had collapsed earlier this month, leading to inspections at all of the city’s older schools ahead of the start of the school year, the Local website reported.
Following the collapse, Eilat municipal engineer Yohai Avneri toured the school and said the roof likely gave way due to construction failure and the age of the building, according to the report. The Almog School was the first school built in the city, the municipality noted, and restoration and upgrade works are regularly performed on it and other older schools.
Following inspections, engineers decided that all school buildings except for the administration building, whose roof collapsed, are fit for use in the coming school year, according to the report. However, further testing will be conducted and the area will be fenced off until work is completed and the roof is repaired and strengthened.