City Notes: Haifa to hold eight public Seders

The Passover night ceremonies will be held across the city for olim, pensioners and sing-parent families.

Haggadah  and Matzah 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Haggadah and Matzah 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Haifa will host eight public Seder night ceremonies across the city for olim, pensioners and single- parent families. Adult participants will be charged NIS 25, children NIS 10.
All told, this Pessah around 1,500 Haifa residents are expected to attend public Seders run annually by the municipality, in cooperation with the local Chief Rabbinate’s religious council. The events will be held at community centers, synagogues and yeshivot in various districts.
In addition to the public events, a large number of families in Haifa have expressed a wish to host guests at their private Seder night ceremonies, and senior citizens’ homes in the Hadar, Naveh Sha’anan and Carmel neighborhoods have extended invitations to other pensioners.
Asbestos out
The Environmental Protection Ministry, in cooperation with the Nahariya Municipality and other organizations, has initiated a project to locate and remove asbestos waste in Western Galilee. The initial budget for the project, which is expected to last around five years, totals some NIS 20 million, although the full cost of the work will reach NIS 300m.
The initial phase of the project will see asbestos waste removed from public areas that were identified as part of two ministry-commissioned surveys.
The second stage will involve the mapping of privately owned sites and the subsequent removal of any asbestos waste there as well.
The work will be supported by laboratory checks and testing for airborne asbestos fibers. The results of all the tests will be posted on a special website set up for the project.
Sperm donation appeal
Dr. David Yishai, director of the IVF department and the sperm bank at Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, has expressed grave concern over the low quantity of sperm currently stored at the unit.
In an effort to boost existing stocks, the IVF department has put up notices around the campuses of the University of Haifa and the Technion offering students NIS 300 for each sperm donation.
Yishai said that if sperm stocks at the medical center drop much further, it may become necessary to import sperm, which would make the IVF process far more expensive than it is at present.
Heavy vehicles kept away
The Tirat Carmel Municipality has joined forces with the local police force in keeping the town free of heavy vehicles. The new measure restricts the parking of trucks and buses to a limited number of sites around the city.
The designated areas include Rehov Ha’ela near the Psychological Health Center, the northern industrial area, and the parking lot outside the former Beverly Hills Halls.
The municipality has placed traffic signposts in the vicinity of the northern and southern entrances to Tirat Carmel indicating that heavy vehicles cannot park outside the designated areas from a quarter of an hour after sunset until a quarter of an hour before sunrise the following morning.
Central Region
Women to get more power
The Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women has announced that it will launch a pilot project in around 40 local authorities around the country, including Herzliya. The project is designed to enhance the financial capabilities of women, and to provide them with budget analysis abilities.
MK Gila Gamliel said that the pilot project will incorporate a special financial course for women. The full course will include some 24 hours of training for women whose participation is approved by the authority’s adviser in each location.
The pilot project is expected to cost around NIS 200,000, and will cater for about 1,500 women, providing both theoretical and practical instruction.
Gold in the ‘gan’
Volunteers of the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving in Israel visited the Tziporen kindergarten in Ra’anana last week as part of the Zahav Bagan (Gold in the Kindergarten) program, to which the association contributes.
The volunteers, all parents, presented an activity for the children focusing on the theme of vehicle safety, including the importance of using a booster seat and a safety belt. The children learned that anyone under 1.45 meters tall must sit on a booster seat; that they must not distract the driver during a journey, and that they must always get out of the vehicle on the sidewalk side.
The Zahav Bagan program is operated by Or Yarok, Shalem – National Service for Adult Volunteering, The Israel Association of Community Centers and the Education Ministry.
Municipality gets top marks
Research recently conducted by the BdiCoface business information group on the performance of local authorities across Israel showed that Rishon Lezion heads the national financial stability league, followed by Ashdod, Herzliya, Ashkelon and Holon.
The report indicated that municipal financial stability is a direct result of several factors, including the residents’ socioeconomic status, the authority’s ability to collect municipal taxes and the efficiency of the local authority’s management.
The research paper also noted that in some local authorities, some senior municipal personnel receive disproportionately high salaries compared with the authority’s size and performance.
In 2010, the Rishon Lezion Municipality managed to collect 83 percent of taxes, while the rate in Ashdod was 86%. In Holon, it was 97%.
‘Free up Route 531, please’
The Hod Hasharon Municipality has appealed to the district court to open two lanes on Route 531 that were built by the Israel National Roads Company, but subsequently blocked at the behest of the Kfar Saba Municipality.
The Hod Hasharon Municipality, and its district committee, asked the court to free up the lanes to allow traffic to use Rehov Tel Hai and the nearby thoroughfares in Kfar Saba.
The complainants say that in the current situation, drivers wishing to access Tel Hai are forced to drive through Hod Hasharon’s quiet neighborhoods, disturbing the peace and generating high pollution levels.
‘White House’ comes down
A decade-long battle finally came to an end last week when the so-called White House in Netanya was demolished.
The 50-year-old apartment building, which stood at the corner of Hahozeh Milublin and Gurelitz streets, had been in a poor state of repair for some time. Indeed, some years ago, the Construction and Housing Ministry decided to carry out extensive rehabilitation work on the structure, including repairs to the foundations, flooring and ceiling of the ground floor, and the water and sewage systems.
Later, however, it was decided that the building was unfit for human habitation, and needed to be demolished. The residents, most of whom were haredi, fought the ruling and tenaciously clung on to their homes.
All that ended last week, when the bulldozers moved in.
Netivot wins police kudos
Last week, the Netivot police station won the police commissioner’s award for the country’s top local police station.
The glittering ceremony, held last Wednesday, welcomed a large number of other award recipients from among police units and other facilities across the south of the country.
Other winners included the Beersheba station, which received a special achievement award for its sustained success under Ch.-Supt. Yossi Cohen.
The Rotem Unit of the southern district Border Police forces under Supt. Golan Sharoni was chosen as the forces’ outstanding special patrol unit. Rotem was also commended by Cmdr.
Yossi Foni, who noted the unit’s contribution to combating crime and its support of other units across the Negev district.
‘Joker’ fills in for soldiers
Over the years, around Pessah time, the Kiryat Malachi Municipality welfare department has been accustomed to getting help from IDF soldiers in decorating the apartments of senior citizens and socioeconomically disadvantaged residents.
However, this year that assistance will not be forthcoming.
The Malachi Joker Association has stepped into the breach, and its volunteers started painting homes in the city late last week.
The association is the brainchild of 29-year-old Lior Nawi, who thought up the idea for the decorating task force after helping an old woman home with her shopping and being shocked by the state of the walls in her apartment.
Nawi soon set about painting the woman’s home. Over time, he enlisted the help of eight more volunteers to fill the gap left by the absent IDF soldiers.