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This week in Jerusalem: Getting high

CM 21/04/2021

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Getting high

A new 53-meter-high cellular antenna built in the Old City with all required permits has angered a number of residents and environmental activists.
The antenna raised on the roof of the historic Kishle police station is higher than the nearby Tower of David. According to the municipality, which granted the permit for the antenna, this is just a change of location; the antenna was already in the Old City, but had to be moved due to police needs.
Believing the result mars the famous Old City skyline, activists want the approval revoked and the antenna removed. City Council opposition leader Ofer Berkovitch argues that the iconic skyline shouldn’t be sacrificed to local needs without taking into consideration Jerusalem’s historical values. Berkovitch sent a letter to Eliezer Rauchberger, head of the local planning and construction committee at the city council, who issued the permit, noting it was granted after a short procedure that didn’t give the public enough opportunity to present any opposition. 
Food fight
Café Kadosh has switched from rabbinate kashrut to Tzohar kosher certification. 
The Tzohar kashrut system, led by Rabbi Oren Duvdevani, was launched about 10 years ago as a response to a number of city food businesses unsatisfied with the Rabbanut. The private initiative, headed by Aharon Leibovitch, is a growing source of solutions for those seeking to certify their conformance with Jewish dietary laws without having to go through the bureaucracy of the rabbinate services. 
Kadosh’s move to Tzohar is a blow to the Rabbanut, as the eatery – a leading city establishment – opened in 1967 and is always on the culinary map of Jerusalemite venues for locals and tourists alike. This is the third Jerusalem venue that moved recently to Tzohar services, following Ima, a well-known homestyle-food restaurant near Mahaneh Yehuda, and the Aroma branch in the Arena. According to Tzohar sources, additional establishments are planning to make the same move.
Hark – a nicer park!
The local planning and construction committee recently green-lighted a project to significantly expand the small park in Har Homa to 33 hectares, with all the facilities for football, basketball, ping pong, skateboarding and more – plus two large parking lots for residents and visitors, all free of charge. Plants, trees, benches and rest areas are included in the plans.

Chiding the Chinese
A demonstration against the Chinese Communist Party was held last week in Davidka Square, part of the “End the Chinese Communist Party” worldwide effort seeking to draw attention to CCP misdeeds. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Bet El, in a call for rally attendance, said the CCP deserves to be called a terrorist organization for what it is doing to its own citizens and others. 
The Chinese have interred hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in labor camps. There is a deliberate policy to disrupt their family life by separating parents from children, putting the kids in government boarding schools and sending the parents to labor camps. Israel has already become part of China’s worldwide trade network by allowing Chinese companies to build and operate its new ports in both Haifa and Ashdod; the demonstration’s goal was to raise awareness of Chinese oppression and enlist people to sign a worldwide petition. 
Going to extremes
After weeks of searching, Jerusalem police have arrested the head of an extremist group of haredim on charges of vandalizing the rails of the proposed purple light rail line in Romema. Police sources say the suspect could be also involved in other acts of vandalism, including defacing photos of women on posters across the city. The man is suspected of having encouraged a group of ultra-Orthodox extremists from Mea She’arim to damage the offices of the Moriah Jerusalem Development Corporation – which is in charge of developing the city’s infrastructure – and attacking some of its employees. At the heart of these acts is opposition by extremists to the installation of the new line, arguing it would transport passengers from secular neighborhoods through the religious ones (Geula and Bukharin) and disrupt their customs and lifestyle. 
Restless nights 
Something bad is happening on the east side of the city, mostly in the A-Tur and Wadi Joz neighborhoods. Almost every night this past week, young boys have thrown stones and fireworks at buses, and in at least two cases, toward police forces. In one incident, a few youths attacked a haredi man near the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City. In another case, attackers slapped a young haredi man on the light rail, documenting the humiliation with a cellphone. Police have arrested two suspects, but observers of the city’s Arab sector are concerned this might be the beginning of a wave of violence. 
Some sources attribute the incidents to the lack of clarity regarding elections for the Palestinian Authority parliament, scheduled for May 19. Israel still hasn’t announced if east Jerusalemites will be allowed to participate in the vote.
Conflict of interest  
Is Yossi Havilio – a former municipality legal adviser, a current city councilman and member of Mayor Moshe Lion’s coalition – allowed to take part in a conflict between a private entrepreneur and a local council? Havilio doesn’t see anything wrong with representing the Yuvalim local council (Kiryat Yovel and Kiryat Menachem) against the Shikun & Binui construction company, owner of the Beit Taylor compound, in its struggle to prevent the demolition of a building and swimming pool on a plot where the company plans to build a housing complex. Shikun & Binui claims that since Havilio once worked as a private lawyer representing the Yuvalim council, he cannot now represent it as a city council member.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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