NORTH Thousands of people gathered in Haifa last week to celebrate 10 years since the opening of the Baha’i Gardens there. The Baha’i World Center held an open house in the lower portion of the gardens to celebrate the anniversary.Mayor Yona Yahav called the gardens and their keepers “the best present that Haifa has received.”“It warms the heart to see thousands of people walking around here,” he said, adding, “This is a picture worth 1,000 words.” Deputy secretary-general of the Baha’i World Center Jalal Hatami said, “We’re excited by the positive response of the public. It’s an opportunity to thank all of the many visitors that come to the Baha’i Gardens, respecting the site and helping to maintain its beauty and cleanliness.” It seems only natural, he said, “to celebrate a decade since the opening of the gardens because it is an important milestone.”Local council head shot near Wadi Ara Two men were lightly to moderately wounded by gunshots in the town of Jatt in Wadi Ara Wednesday night. Magen David Adom paramedics who arrived at the scene evacuated the two, residents of the town aged 46 and 57, to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera.One of the men was later identified by police as the head of the local regional council. The other man was his brother. Police were investigating the incident.1.8 million visit parks, nature reserves over Succot Some 1.8 million people visited the country’s nature reserves and national parks over Succot and the following weekend, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said over the weekend. The numbers represented a 10 percent rise over last year’s figures, according to the INPA. The head of the authority’s community and public division attributed the increase to “the good weather that we’ve had for the past two weeks, in addition to the school vacation.” During the holiday, he said, “we added more and more events and activities and organized festivals to meet the great demand. It simply makes me happy each time to see that Israeli families love their nature reserve sites.”Hadera leads in gov’t housing renovation grants The Association for Better Housing announced that it would be renovating 15 apartments and condominiums in Hadera as part of a government program that provides grants for improving housing.The Construction and Housing Ministry hands out grants totaling NIS 10,000 for the renovation of private housing units.Hadera has approved more renovations for needy families than any other municipality in the North, said Shlomi Or, the head of the association’s northern branch. Association managing-director Reuven Tzaduk also praised the increased investment, saying, “I welcome the unprecedented achievement by the local chapter on such a wide scale,” according to the Local website.Bus full of children catches fire in Galilee Five fire crews were called to the scene of a bus fire at the Yuvalim junction in the Galilee over the weekend. Of the 50 children evacuated from the bus, eight were taken to the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya in good condition and 15 to the Galilee Medical Faculty in Safed, also in good condition. Five other children, along with the driver, were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics on the scene for smoke inhalation.CENTER Ra’anana family believed poisoned after burglary Three members of a Ra’anana family and a volunteer policeman were taken to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba early this week after reportedly suffering from poisoning. The family called police earlier in the day after finding that their home had been burglarized.The volunteer officer who arrived on the scene apparently drank from the same drink that the family members had, raising suspicions. Soon afterward, all four began to feel ill and were evacuated to the hospital. The father was in moderate to serious condition. Police sent the suspicious drink for testing to find the source of the poisoning. Family members said they suspected that whoever had broken into their home was responsible for poisoning the drink. Another suspicion being investigated is that a family member cleaned the pitcher containing the drink with a chemical substance, and that may have caused the four to become ill.Tel Aviv beaches shut down for Breitling air show Tens of thousands of spectators gathered along the central Tel Aviv coastline to watch an acrobatic air show by the Breitling Jet Team over the weekend.Breitling, the largest and most famous elite civilian acrobatic air team, came to Tel Aviv from France as part of a Middle East tour.Flying in seven L39 Albatross jets, the team made a number of runs up and down the coast for spectators, flying at speeds of up to 950 kph and with a gravitational force reaching 8 Gs. The jets, flying in extremely tight formations, were separated by only three meters at times as they performed acrobatic maneuvers over the city.In order to make room for spectators and ensure a safe environment, police closed Herbert Samuel Street and Hayarkon Street from the Jaffa Port to the Tel Aviv Port for the duration of the air show.Ramat Gan holds 2nd annual Bible Festival Hundreds of families participated in the second annual Bible Festival held in Ramat Gan during Succot. The two-day festival, centered on Bible-themed poetry and music, is an initiative of Ramat Gan Mayor Zvi Bar and Zvica Nir, head of the city’s Cultural Authority.The first night of the festival brought Bible-themed songs to local and visiting families, with the participation of singers Sassi Keshet, Eli Gorenstein, Ani Mesha’ul and other artists. On the second evening, poetry performances under the theme of “Voices from the Bible” were presented, with poets Israel Rand and Shlomo Glick. There were also children’s activities, including biblical stories, the making of Noah’s Ark and jewelry from the Bible.Jaffa store owners worry about provocations Following the desecration of two Arab cemeteries in Jaffa earlier this month, local business owners came out against what they called provocative acts aimed atdisrupting coexistence in the mixed Jewish-Arab area.Humous restaurant owner Hani Karwan warned MyNet of a deterioration in the city. “The situation needs to be stopped immediately,” he said. “Extremists must not determine the situation in Jaffa.”Tawfik Hinawi, owner of a well-known local beverage store, echoed Karwan. “This is a provocation. People are worried about retaliation and aren’t coming because they’re afraid of being hit by a stone by some crazy person,” MyNet quoted him as saying. “I’m certain that this time it will not reach the same dimensions of [the riots of] October 2000. We do not react violently.” He added that “because we have good relations with everyone, extremists go crazy. We live in harmony.”The concerns and efforts of Jaffa residents to calm the situation seem to have worked. No major incidents have taken place in the city since the beginning of the month.SOUTH 4,000 sign up to move to Negev, Galilee At least 4,000 residents of various central cities have agreed to move to areas in the Negev and Galilee this week at a special event promoting the periphery. Those who agreed to relocate to the periphery received job offers and housing.More than 10,000 people visited a fair pushing for residence in the periphery at the Tel Aviv Port, and more than 2,000 job offers were made, Israel Radio reported. Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom said the high turnout proved the public’s interest in the program.Eilat high-school seniors depart for Poland As occurs every year, over 200 12th-grade students from Eilat held a special ceremony on the eve of their departure for Poland, as part of a program to learn about Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust and the concentration camps that ended so many of those communities.This year, 64 students from Begin High School, 60 from Goldwater High School and 80 from Rabin High School took part in the trip. During the week-long program, the students from the country’s southernmost city were to visit the remains of Poland’s Jewish communities and Nazi extermination camps, including Auschwitz, Treblinka and the Krakow and Warsaw ghettos.Eilat juvenile delinquent goes for wild ride A 15-year-old Eilat boy was arrested last week in what police described as “a story we’ve never seen before.”The story began when the teen had a fight with his mother last week. He allegedly locked her in their home before stealing her credit card and car keys with the intention of heading north. The boy managed to drive as far as Beersheba before being apprehended by officers. Police took him in for questioning and planned to criminally prosecute him.New immigrants evacuated after Beersheba center fire A fire broke out early this week at a Beersheba absorption center.The new immigrants living at the Kalisher Immigrant Absorption Center were evacuated from their temporary homes after one of the residents on an upper floor apparently left a burning candle unattended for only a few minutes. No injuries were reported, although damage occurred.