NORTH A new student village in Karmiel came closer to being built this week following a decision to begin construction next month. The decision to build the Alon Park Student Village was reached in a meeting with Karmiel Mayor Adi Eldar, city staff, representatives of the state’s Settlement Division for the Northern Region and representatives of the Ayalim Association.The plan will see the construction of six buildings in the first stage and another six at a later date, in addition to a social activities center. Thirty students will be able to move into the village at the completion of each stage.Lake Kinneret rises above bottom red line Following the rainiest January in Israeli history, Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) rose seven centimeters over the weekend, surpassing the basin’s bottom red line. The country’s primary freshwater lake is still some four meters below the upper red line after seven years of drought.Man dies attempting to stop Upper Nazareth robbery A burglar shot and killed a man in his 40s who tried to prevent the robbery of the postal bank in Upper Nazareth Monday morning. The incident began before 10 a.m., when a masked man entered the branch and demanded cash from the cashier, threatening her with a pistol. As the robber left the postal bank with an unknown amount of cash, a civilian who was in the branch at the time of the robbery attempted to stop him, at which point he was shot. He was left in very serious condition.Magen David Adom paramedics provided initial medical treatment and evacuated him to Emek Medical Center in Afula, where he died an hour later. Police forces were searching for the suspect.Woman stabs husband in Afula domestic dispute A fight that broke out between an Afula couple over the weekend turned violent when a woman stabbed her husband in the leg and chest after he broke a plate over her head.A police investigation revealed that the pair were intoxicated. The husband, who was moderately wounded, was taken to Emek Medical Center in Afula for medical treatment. Police were continuing their investigation into the incident.CENTER TA introduces changes to parking rates, rules The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality introduced new parking arrangements this week aimed at reducing parking problems for the city’s residents. One of the most significant changes will allow residents to park for free in any blue-and-white parking space throughout the city. Previously, residents were allowed to park only in the areas where they lived.Discussing the motives behind the changes, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai said, “The solution to the parking problem remains increased use of public transportation, the allocation of some 60 kilometers of lanes designated for public transportation and some 120 kilometers of bicycle lanes,” noting that tens of millions of shekels will be invested in additional bicycle lanes in the coming years.However, he noted, “public transportation reform gave preference to those arriving from outside the city and harmed the transportation system within it. In the current situation, in which the city’s residents are still reliant on private cars, we must balance the situation.”In the first phase of the program, Tel Aviv-Jaffa residents will see their preferential prices at municipal parking lots reduced from 50 percent to 25%. The city’s “close to home” parking program, in which residents are offered free parking during the evening and night hours in municipal lots, will be expanded with 24 new parking lots.In Phase 2 of the program, pending approval from the city council, residents will be allowed to park for free in blue-and-white parking spaces throughout the city and not only in the areas designated by their parking tags. Additionally, existing discounts for non-city residents will be canceled.TA reopens Ganei Yehoshua petting zoo The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality reopened its petting zoo project this week at Ganei Yehoshua. The petting zoo, which includes sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and other animals, was rebuilt with an investment by the city of NIS 500,000 and is being managed by the municipality’s Economic Development Corporation.As part of the petting zoo’s theme, all of the enclosures housing the animals were constructed from discarded and dismantled bus shelters from around the city, recycled and rehabilitated by Alon Goldberg and Dr. Roni Verdot. The facilities are open to the public as a recreation center, offering summer camps, courses, workshops, family activities and environmental awareness activities.The municipality described the idea behind the project as allowing trips into nature in the urban environment.Combining landscaped areas with manufactured materials that have undergone an innovative recycling process, the city said, the farm provides a unique look and experience that contributes to a green environment in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.Sheba nurses walk out to protest overcrowding Following a number of days in which patients were diverted to other hospitals, nurses at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer walked out of four internal medicine departments in protest at dire overcrowding at the hospital early last week.The hospital’s internal medicine departments were at 140% capacity at the time.Nurses’ Union chairwoman Ilana Cohen said at the time that the departments had been over capacity for several days in a row. Nurses have been in a labor dispute over overcrowding for a number of months at various hospitals around the country.18 arrested in Tel Aviv protest against racism Police arrested at least 18 Israelis of Ethiopian descent demonstrating against racism in Tel Aviv early last week after the protesters blocked Tel Aviv’s Shaul Hamelech Street, bringing traffic to a halt.Approximately 100 people gathered to protest what they called an increasingly prevalent phenomenon of racism and prejudice against Israelis of Ethiopian descent. Last month, thousands protested in Kiryat Malachi following a television news report revealing that residents of a neighborhood in the city had conspired to prevent the renting or selling of apartments to Ethiopians.SOUTH Eilat inaugurates new entrance to the city The Eilat Municipality, along with various government agencies, inaugurated a new, renovated and improved checkpoint leading to the city from the Arava Highway this past week. The renovations, which stretch from the city limits to the Arava Junction, were officially completed recently and marked last week at a ceremony attended by Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak-Halevi, Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen, Tax Authority officials, Customs and VAT officials, Eilat District Police commander Ron Gertner and municipal Rabbi Yosef Hecht.The renovations were carried out to improve aesthetic aspects of the approach road, to improve the road itself and to improve security in Israel’s southernmost city and tourist destination.The cost of the project was estimated at NIS 8.5 million.Additional work is planned in the near future by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael–Jewish National Fund, during which trees will be planted along the entrance to the city in order to shade the checkpoint and improve its aesthetics.Man suspected of stealing an IDF APC for scrap metal Israeli Defense Forces soldiers manning a checkpoint near Mitzpe Ramon made an unusual discovery when conducting a routine check of a tractor-trailer last week. In the trailer of the truck, soldiers discovered an armored personal carrier used for training purposes.The truck driver was arrested and brought for questioning by Dimona police. After initially denying any wrongdoing, the driver eventually admitted under questioning to stealing the APC from a training area near Shizafon. The man told police that his motivation for stealing the large military vehicle was to sell it for scrap metal, police said. The suspect was brought for a remand extension hearing, the Local website reported.Mother gives birth in car outside hospital A woman in labor rushing to the hospital never quite made it to the emergency room in Ashkelon last week, giving birth in her car directly outside Barzilai Medical Center.Upon her arrival, hospital staff was notified of the situation and came outside to meet the woman, whom they found in very advanced stages of labor. Medical staff decided to deliver the baby in the back of the car.The mother and (healthy) baby, who weighed 3.16 kilograms, were subsequently transferred to the hospital’s delivery room for further medical treatment.According to the decision reached last week, construction on the village is to begin no later than February 15.Eldar welcomed the decision, saying “the municipality has allocated space for the establishment of the student village in the Alon Park, the most beautiful park in Karmiel.” The mayor added, “I know the students selected to live in the village are already active in the community and are doing wonderful work with the city’s youth,” the Local website reported.