Givatayim gets its own ‘Speakers’ Box’

The new initiative, which goes under the catchy moniker of “Closing the Week – Opening the Mouth” – will take place in Givatayim Park.

givatayim 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
givatayim 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
Visitors from this part of the world to London often take the opportunity to catch an earful of the oratory spectacle at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner. Now Givatayim is taking a leaf out of the British public discourse book by setting up its own local version of the outdoor speechifying facility.
The new initiative, which goes under the catchy moniker of “Closing the Week – Opening the Mouth” – will begin next month at Givatayim Park. It will take place every Thursday at 6 p.m., and last for two hours. Each speaker will be allotted a five-minute soapbox slot.
Bat Yam park gets makeover
Lugasi Park, on the corner of Hagalil and Rothschild streets in Bat Yam, is looking a lot better these days after the completion of extensive rehabilitation and repair work there. The fourdunam gardens have undergone work on paving stones and the irrigation system, mature bushes have been planted, and new outdoor furniture and a range of playing facilities for young children have been installed. There are also new lawns.
A Bat Yam Municipality official said that the work in the line with the local authority’s policy of expanding green areas in the city, including the installation of two new parks in the Amidar neighborhood, bringing the number of parks in Bat Yam up to 17.
Rehovot internet archives launched
Deputy Mayor of Rehovot Zohar Blum unveiled the city’s new Web-based archives at a council meeting last week. The project launch coincided with the closing of the city’s 120th anniversary celebrations.
Archives manager Nili Levin added that the local history site tells the story of a small agricultural community which eventually grew into a city. She pointed out that the site includes information on all aspects of Rehovot’s history, such as farming, education, transport, and cultural and artistic work done there over the last 120 years.
The information on the site is presented in a range of formats, including video clips, photographs and audio clips, and there are links to numerous other relevant sites.
Street name drop makes trouble
A storm erupted during a local council session in Herzliya at the end of last week when the municipality examined a proposal by council member Zvika Hadar to change the name of part of Rehov Naomi Shemer to Rehov Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The council meeting culminated in approval of the proposal to rename a section of the street which commemorates the iconic songwriter known for her right-wing politics to commemorating the professor who spoke out strongly against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Mayor Yael German, who backed the idea, noted that, controversial viewpoints notwithstanding, Leibowitz was “a religious Zionist,” and said that even though some of his ideas were rejected by mainstream Israelis, sometimes things should be done even if they are not part of the national consensus.
Man strives to offload fines
Last week, the Holon Magistrate’s Court rejected an appeal from a local resident to waive his enormous parking fine bill – NIS 75,000. Over the years, the man had racked up no fewer than 223 parking tickets, and he appealed to the court to rescind them, claiming legal limitation as they applied to a 10-year period between 1999 and 2008.
Despite the man’s claim that he did not receive the fine notices, the court ruled against him – and added NIS 7,500 court costs to his already gargantuan parking bill.
Delivery to the doorstep
Workers and visitors at Beilinson Medical Center witnessed a dramatic event near the entrance to the hospital last week when a woman from Ariel gave birth in the parking lot, in front of the main building. The woman said she’d been watching the Big Brother reality TV show when she suddenly starting having strong contractions. She and her husband rushed to their car, hoping to make it to the maternity ward at the Petah Tikva hospital, but didn’t get there in time.
The woman said she had been hoping to see the disqualification of one of the Big Brother contestants before she had the baby.
Eilat honors local rabbi and former judge
As part of its 62nd anniversary celebrations, Eilat has bestowed freedom-of-the-city status on local Chief Rabbi Yosef Hecht and former High Court president Meir Shamgar. The awards were conferred by Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevy, who noted that Shamgar has had a long association with the city, serving as chairman of the Friends of the Red Sea Jazz Festival and as president of the Eilat Conference on combating violence in Israeli society.
The award ceremony also featured an artistic program, including a musical about Eilat by the Rondo group from the Beit Rubin community center, and a singing duet by acting mayor Eli Lankri and local vocalist Mai Ziv Zarka.Ashdod school gets the city healthy
Comprehensive Heh School in Ashdod has started a health project in conjunction with Ashdod Municipality and the Public Health Association. The project is designed to help local residents change poor dietary habits and unhealthy lifestyles, with the emphasis on youth.
Girls from the school’s 10th grade have taken on the position of “health trustees” responsible for obtaining important information about nutrition and various psychological issues from the Public Health Association, and for conveying this to eighthgraders.
The trustees also address issues such as prevention of smoking and balanced nutrition for adolescents, and visit local senior citizens’ homes to help pensioners improve their health.
Litterbugs clean up their act
A routine visit to the Lachish River area, near Ashdod, by the local municipality’s environmental enforcement unit, revealed a large amount of garbage dumped near a factory there. A member of the unit photographed the eyesore and went to the factory to ask the owners if they had any connection with the illegally dumped waste.
When it transpired that the factory owners were indeed the culprits, the unit inspector issued a warning and instructed them to remove the garbage within two weeks. When the unit made a return visit to the spot, they found that all the garbage had been cleaned up.
Volunteers find drugs haul in forest
Earlier this week, members of the volunteer Hamatmidim unit discovered a number of marijuana bushes growing in a grove alongside Route 2, close to Atlit. Commending the unit’s work, Hof Hacarmel Regional Council head Carmel Sela noted the unit’s contribution to combating drugs-related crime, and crime in general, in the area.
The Hamatmidim unit comprises volunteers from the Hof Hacarmel region, who work to maintain the safety and security of local residents. Their training includes firearm practice, off-road driving and crime analysis.
Customs people stop Nazi imports
A routine check by the drugs unit of the Haifa customs authority at the city’s central post office uncovered a package from Germany containing various items from Nazi Germany, including a large number of swastikas. The addressee, a 41-year-old collector and international dealer from Hatzor Haglilit, was charged with attempting to import Nazi artifacts and later released on bail.
Police and VAT officials later carried out a search at the man’s home and discovered a large number of items from the Nazi era in Germany, as well from the time of WWI and the late 19th century.
New employment exchange
Last week, a new government employment office was opened in Tirat Carmel on Rehov Jabotinsky. The official opening ceremony was attended by Mayor Aryeh Tal, the director of the new office Ilana Amoyal, and representatives of the Industry Trade and Labor Ministry, as well as local residents.
The new exchange is a welcome development for out-of-work residents who, after the closure of the previous Tirat Carmel employment office, have had to travel to Haifa to register for the dole.
The new facility will also offer job-seeking workshops, courses, employment advice and referrals for prospective employment.