City Notes: Golan residents gain small victory against oil drilling plans.

Both residents and experts presented hundreds of objections against the plan to drill in the Sea of Galilee and the Golan.

A demonstration against a proposed oil-drilling project in the Golan Heights (photo credit: Courtesy)
A demonstration against a proposed oil-drilling project in the Golan Heights
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After an eight-hour meeting with experts from various disciplines, residents of the Golan Heights and activists from around the country, the Northern District regional committee decided last week that at this stage it would not approve an oil drilling project led by the Afek Oil and Gas company.
The committee decided that until it gets the necessary additional opinions and documents from the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Water Authority and the Health Ministry, it will not approve the oil drilling plans.
The committee scheduled to meet again two weeks later for further discussion.
Residents of the Golan Heights visited the Interior Ministry’s regional committee in droves on the morning of the meeting. Both residents and experts presented hundreds of objections against the plan to drill in the Sea of Galilee and the Golan.
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) also filed an urgent appeal to the Knesset for a debate on the subject, saying, “Before making a decision on the issue, I expect a transparent and candid public discussion, not only on the residents’ objections, but also on the drilling and its implications, the findings of scientific reports, and the risks that it would pose to the residents of the area and to all of us.”
Additionally, eight residents from five different communities filed a petition to the High Court of Justice, demanding that the drilling operation be postponed.
Girl drowns at unofficial beach
A 13-year-old girl drowned while swimming at an unofficial beach near Rosh Hanikra on Saturday. Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene and tried to resuscitate her, but pronounced her dead at a Nahariya hospital.
A 24-year-old man who was swimming with her managed to survive after being rushed to the same hospital.
Northern hospital treats 3 wounded Syrians
Three Syrians wounded in their country’s civil war were transferred to a hospital in northern Israel Sunday night.
The three, aged 14, 25 and 26, were transported to Poriya Medical Center near Tiberias. The hospital has treated 91 wounded Syrians so far.
Police probing Petah Tikva stabbing
Police opened an investigation into the fatal stabbing of a man in Petah Tikva last weekend. Authorities arrested two people suspected of involvement in the incident.
Running for environment at TA mall
An unusual kind of run took place last weekend in Tel Aviv: Hundreds of runners from across the country went jogging inside the Dizengoff Center shopping mall. This was the second time the run, known as the Meatless Monday Fun Run, was taking place, though last year it was in a different location. The purpose of the run, sponsored by Dizengoff Center and companies Brooks and Real Timing, is to raise the public’s environmental awareness – particularly regarding the Meatless Monday initiative, in which all participants give up meat consumption one day a week. So far, 300,000 Israelis have joined the initiative, which, according to the movement’s Web page, is environmentally equivalent to taking 500,000 vehicles off the road permanently.
Annual Blind Day walk in Ben-Shemen
Hundreds of people took part in a Blind Day walk last week along the Trail for the Blind in the Ben-Shemen Forest.
Among the participants were Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) chairman Efi Stenzler. This is the fourth year that this walk has taken place in the Ben-Shemen Forest on Blind Day – a national day of solidarity with the blind and visually impaired that aims to raise public awareness about the country’s blind population and its inclusion in society. The organizers of this year’s walk along the 4.5-km. trail, which ends at the Recreation Area for the Blind, were the Jewish Institute for the Blind, and the Center for the Blind in Israel.
Speaking at the event, Stenzler said that going out to enjoy nature in KKL-JNF parks was the most common form of entertainment among the Israeli public.
“I’m glad that you, too, the visually impaired and blind, can feel the shade of the tree, can enjoy the rustling of the leaves in the wind, can hear the birds chirping in nature, and can touch the earth and the rocks and be part of this country.... We believe that every person has the right to have an unmediated encounter with nature and the environment.”
Lapid said that every day he met people who could see, but there were a lot of things that they did not see.
“The most significant sight, in my eyes, is to see other people’s needs,” he stated. KKL-JNF guides led the walk’s participants, and blind participants were accompanied by either guide dogs or escorts.
Tel Avivians paint the town white
Thursday night saw Tel Aviv celebrate its 11th White Night event, in which the city’s cultural venues stay open all night and there are a host of other activities and attractions, many of them free of charge. Scheduled events included a Wi-Fi headphones party at Rabin Square, a Bollywood dance class at Habima Square, musical and theatrical performances at Hatikva market, a sing-along event and cooking workshops at the Tahana, rock performances at Hapisga Park and a performance by the Tel Aviv Jazz Orchestra at Kedumim Square.
Aqaba gets shipment of ‘mosquito-fish’ from Eilat
Eilat transferred 25,000 Gambusia fish – also known as mosquito- fish – to the neighboring Jordanian city of Aqaba last week to help the latter deal with mosquitoes. Aqaba operates a waste-water treatment facility that serves a population of over 120,000. Mosquitoes breed in the water, and some of them cross the border into Eilat. In order to prevent this, Eilat transferred the fish to its Jordanian neighbors as part of a collaboration between the two cities.
This is not the first time that this type of cooperation has taken place – the last time Eilat transferred fish to Aqaba was in 2007. Environmentalists believe that in this way they can eradicate the problem of mosquitoes in the area.
BGU hosts Israel studies conference in Sde Boker
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev hosted an international conference at its Sde Boker campus this week under the title “Israel: Leadership & Critical Decisions.” The conference was the 30th annual meeting of the Association for Israel Studies, featured over 400 presenters participating in various panels.
Hosted by the Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, this year’s Association for Israel Studies conference aimed to explore the challenges that have faced Israeli leadership throughout the state’s existence.
“We are convinced that the atmosphere here will encourage fruitful, constructive, and pluralistic dialogue that will serve as an inspiration for future generations of Israeli leaders and scholars of Israel in this country and around the world,” institute director Dr. Paula Kabalo said ahead of the convention.
The conference aimed to address the issue of leadership in society from a broad range of political, cultural, religious, social, and economic perspectives. Themes on the agenda included leadership that generates processes of nation-building and national revolution; leadership in times of institutionalization and conventionalization; leadership in the face of crises; political leaders and elite groups in Israeli society and the Jewish people; leadership of minorities in Israeli society; the differentiation and the relationship between leadership and management; the reciprocal relationships between political leaders and intellectual leaders; the mutual connections between political leaders and religious leaders; and positive and negative expectations of the leadership among various groups and sectors in Israeli society.
Among the scheduled speakers were journalist and author of My Promised Land Ari Shavit, former MK and minister Dan Meridor, and former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner.