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This week in Jerusalem: New Year cheer here

CM 19/08/2021


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New Year cheer here

Close to 7,000 lone soldiers are serving in the IDF. A “lone soldier” is an IDF soldier with no family in Israel to support him or her. A lone soldier may be a new immigrant, a volunteer from abroad, an orphan or an individual from a broken home. Soldiers regularly spend weekends and holidays at home where their parents provide for all of their needs: food, laundry and even a hug, but for lone soldiers, there is no immediate family around them to support them. Though highly motivated and proud to serve, many of them struggle with basic needs when on leave that a family would routinely solve. 
Too often lone soldiers are on their own on Shabbat and holidays. For them, the Lone Soldier Center in Jerusalem provides both warm meals and a real community with whom lone soldiers can eat, celebrate, and integrate. In about two weeks, Jerusalemites will attend the festive Rosh Hashanah meal, and a campaign for the lone soldier community in Jerusalem aims to ensure that these soldiers will have home-cooked meals for the High Holy Days. The Center offers Shabbat and holiday meals for 100-300 lone soldiers in Jerusalem, all sponsored by communities and families abroad and within Israel. 

Students at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem earlier this year. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)Students at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem earlier this year. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Climbing the smart chart

The Hebrew University, established in 1925, has been ranked the top university for the country and 90th among best universities in the world, scoring higher than last year, when it was ranked among the 150 best. According to the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, considered one of the most reliable scales, the HU is not the only Israeli school to improve its position – as the Weizmann Institute (92nd) and the Technion (94th) are now also listed among the top 100 academic institutions in the world. www.shanghairanking.com/

Sprucing up Safra Square

Large-scale renovation work has been conducted recently at Safra Square, including the mayor’s offices, costing about NIS 1 million. The employees now enjoy better working conditions, but city council opposition leader Ofer Berkovitch (Hitorerut) seems to be less happy about that. Berkovitch complains that these are taxpayer funds that should be used for supporting the small and medium businesses in the city that are struggling as a result of the pandemic, instead of embellishing offices. 
Berkovitch tried to prevent the approval at the city council meeting that designated the budget for these renovations but failed to prevail over the broad coalition of Mayor Moshe Lion. 
It may be recalled that former mayor Nir Barkat also carried out extensive renovations upon entering his tenure, but he covered the expense from his own private money.

Rift over a lift

The Civil Administration (under the Ministry of Defense) has begun construction of an elevator at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron to enable handicapped access to the site. 
While this may sound eminently reasonable and long overdue, left-wing organizations waged a public and legal struggle that delayed the improvement, fearing that it would damage the site, which is also holy for Moslems.
The plan was launched in March 2020, by Naftali Bennett, then minister of defense. Among those objecting were the Hebron municipality; Emek Shaveh, a left-wing NGO that says it works “to prevent the politicization of archaeology” in Judea and Samaria; and Palestinian residents of Hebron, whose claim was that while the plan aids disabled and elderly worshipers, it stirs political controversy at a site that belongs to the Islamic Waqf. 
Emek Shaveh CEO Yonathan Mizrahi contends that since UNESCO designated the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a World Heritage Site in Palestine, any changes constitute a violation by Israel of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, to which it is a signatory. 
In April 2021, the High Court denied the motion Emek Shaveh submitted and approved work on the lift, which finally began on August 9.

Trains on track

Earlier this week, the tracks for the extension of the Red Line toward Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem were laid on Hantke St. in Kiryat Yovel. The entire line will run for 27 kilometers, with 50 stops along it. When the work on this line is completed, it will connect Mt. Herzl (where the Red Line ends now) to Hadassah at its southern end, and its northern extension will connect the present terminal stop at Pisgat Ze’ev to Neveh Ya’acov. 
Mayor Moshe Lion pledged to complete the work on this key light rail line by the end of 2023 – incidentally, the year of the next mayoral elections. This dramatic improvement in the city’s public mass transportation could easily earn him broad electoral support, but it is also a serious risk if the work is not completed by then. Meant for rent
For the second time in less than a decade, the Israel Land Administration is taking a meaningful step toward meeting the housing needs of the young generation, including also young families. A project for 296 housing units with apartments designated exclusively for affordable long-term rental was approved earlier this week and a tender will be published in the coming days. The structures will be erected in the Pat Junction area, a location highly valued by young families for its proximity to the city center and to most of the facilities needed. The two highest towers will rise 30 stories, and three lower buildings, up to nine stories, will be designated for businesses, offices and other public facilities. 

Still serving

Abuse of employees by superiors is not unheard of, unfortunately, but it is particularly outrageous when the abuser is the legal adviser of the municipality. 
Adv. Eli Malka has been convicted by the Labor Court of “hurting the terms of employment of one of his employees, separating her from the employees who worked under her and excluding her from the work of the department,” adding, “This is an extreme case of injury to her status.” 
However, despite the severity of the offense, Malka is still serving in his position. City council member Laura Wharton is asking council members to sign onto a demand to fire him, something that is among their prerogatives. But the final word in such a case is in the hands of the mayor, who so far hasn’t disclosed his decision. The matter should be decided at next week’s council meeting on August 26. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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