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Category: Smile (page 3 of 14)

Fun stuff, politically incorrect humor and silliness in Israel, the Middle East and the world around us on OneJerusalm.com

Let’s Go Out to Dinner and See a Movie

klawansLast week we sent a Mazal Tov to Israeli film director Haim Tabakman, whose flick Eyes Wide Open has won awards in the MedFilm Festival in Rome, as well as the Ghent Film Festival in Belgium. Now I am happy to report more Israeli cinema news.

This time the moving picture entertainment comes to the public under the auspices of one jointly directed project by Yaron Shani Jewish Israeli and Skander Copti an Israeli born Arab. The film is called Ajami. Also we want to tell you about another film that is in a much different vein called Defamation.

ajamiThe joint project will be the first Arabic language film to represent Israel at the Oscars. Shot as a raw documentary, the film is about life in Ajami, a former slum in Jaffa. The documentary portrays the street life of impoverished Israeli Arabs, who are caught on film carrying out brutal mafia-style murders and other crime.

The movie has already won the Israeli Ophir and Wolgin prizes and was even honored with special mention at Cannes.

The other Israeli film to be on the lookout for is “Defamation” by director Yoav Shamir. This documentary is a first-person excursion into the taboo subject of anti-Semitism. The filmmaker explains that it is a phenomenon which he has heard of but never actually witnessed first-hand. The idea of the film is that anti-Semitism matters less today than many Jews care to admit, or would like to believe.

But the film does not actually become quite as cold as that. Instead his aim is examining the moral effect on Diaspora Jews and Israelis, of their fear of anti-Semites. The previous description is more of the way which Shamir teases his audience into watching the film.

The film’s greatest moment and example of anti-Semitism comes from his grandmother in Jerusalem who says, “Jews? They’re nothing but schemers and layabouts…liquor-store owners and interest gougers, too lazy to do any real work but skilled in every sharp practice.”

Tnuva Cottage Cheese Hits New Jersey

I got this from my people in NJ – they walked into Kings and saw this. Mazal Tov Tnuva!
It’s about time the good people of NJ found out what real Cottage Cheese tastes like!

Tnuva Cottage Cheese

Mazal Tov to Haim Tabakman

Mazal Tov to Haim Tabakman, an Israeli film director whose first feature-length picture, “Eyes Wide Open” won first prize for the “Eros and Psyche” award at the 15th annual MedFilm festival in Rome, Italy.

“Eyes Wide Open” is an Israeli, German and French co-production. The story is about a kosher butcher who has a homosexual love affair with a young man in Jerusalem’s Meah Shearim neighborhood.

The festival was held on Nov 7-14 and showcased 130 films from countries all around the Mediterranean region.
“Eyes Wide Open” also won the grand prize last month at the 36th Ghent International Film Festival in Belgium.

Mazal Tov to Hebrew University

Mazal Tov to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It has been ranked among the world’s top 100 institutes of higher education, out of a complete list of 500. The annual ranking by the Centre for World Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai’s Jao Tong University, HU has risen one place since last year, making it number 64. Harvard is at the top of the list, with Stanford coming in second and the University of California Berkeley, number 3.

einsteinThe Hebrew University was ranked 25th in computer sciences, and among the 75 best in the categories of mathematics, economics and business administration. And among the top 100 in chemistry.

Of the top universities in the Asia Pacific region, the Hebrew University was ranked number 4, just after the Australian National University and the Japanese Kyoto and Tokyo universities.

Also, Tel Aviv University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology were ranked in the second tier group of the 150 best universities. The Weizmann Institute of Science was in the top 200, and The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Bar-Ilan University in the 400 category.

Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson expressed delight at his university’s ranking:

“I am pleased that the Hebrew University continues to stand out among the 100 best universities in the world, both in general and in specific disciplines,” he said. “Our aspiration now is to rise in standing in order to reach the rankings of the top 50 universities in the world. We must continue to be Israel’s best university in every area.”

The Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus of Jerusalem was opened on April 1, 1925, more than 20 years before the founding of the State of Israel. The first Board of Governors included, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber and Chaim Weizmann.

World Wide Suicide

Former Maccabi Tel Aviv manager Moni Fanan is not unique in his tragic suicide. The last year, characterized by the current recession, has been responsible for countless other suicides and tragic incidents.

Ronan Bell, a 35-year-old Venice man from Venice, California, killed himself last month at a beach pier, when his financial debts drove him insane.

On April 16, a pharmacist opened fire on the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, in California. He killed two co-workers before turning the gun on himself. An article in China View says about this particular incident, that Police cited the “tension going on in our society” as a contributing factor.

William Parente, a New York lawyer, who had lost roughly a collective 27 billion dollars for his clients, killed his wife and his two daughters, before killing himself in his Maryland Hotel Room on April 19.

David KellermanThe most famous suicide report in the last year was that of Freddie Mac CFO, David Kellerman, who was found hanging in the basement of his Washington home on April 22.

A report done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exposed that in Los Angeles alone the suicide count went from 695 in 2007 to 805 in 2008.

Americans have nothing to compare this era to except for the Great Depression, in which, suicide rates rose from 14 to 17 for every 100,000 Americans from 1929 to 1933, as unemployment rates soared from 3.2 per cent to 24.9% in the same period.

An article in China Views says that, “Based on previous experience, researchers predict that suicide rates will go higher if the economy continues to deteriorate.” We all pray that this will not be the case, as we all can realistically expect lay-offs and unemployment to increase yet slightly more, as the economy does begin to pick itself up off of the floor.

The chief of psychiatry at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Steven Garlow said, “There is very clearly a relationship between macroeconomic conditions and suicide…in times of financial hardship, financial distress, upheaval, there is an increase in suicide.”

Since the recession does not only hurt the United States, but the whole world, the suicide back lash is also being observed globally. France Telecom, a bankrupt, state-run, French company has already lost 25 employees to suicide. The company has laid-off 22,000 workers between 2006 and 2008.

Defense Ministry Spends a Million Shekels on French Tour

What’s a million shekels off the public’s back when you’re talking about swanky French hotels that cost 2,500 Euro a night for six rooms…two of which nobody actually stayed in…for two days longer than they actually were there for…with the plans being so horribly put together that they had to pay late fees?

This latest disgrace to the citizens of Israel happened this past summer, in July during the 48th Annual Paris Air Show, and was revealed yesterday by the State Comptroller’s Office headed by Micha Lindenstrauss. He said, and quite rightly, “There is no place for spending so much on hotels and lavish suites, particularly during an economic crisis, when most citizens are struggling to make end’s meet.”

He published a 16-page report that depicts careless spending with no supervision of expenses. I guess they have no cheap falafel in France? Too bad.

Barak Air ShowThe defense ministry was quick to absolve Barak of all responsibility of course, saying that he was not in charge of supervision of expenses or which hotels were booked. You see, that’s the problem with Israel. You can never actually find the person in charge, because they rarely if ever seem to exist. The sad thing is, the nonexistent person in charge didn’t even pick the swankiest of hotels. The person picked the swankiest hotels at exorbitant late fees because the event was haphazardly planned at the last minute.

“Nonetheless,” said a defense ministry spokesman, “the defense minister has instructed that from now on, all spending irregularities or deviations from regulations be submitted for his authorization.” Do you think that’s a good idea? I think that’s a good idea. Does this mean Barak is actually in charge now? A living breathing person? I really don’t know what to say. Tears are welling.

Here’s how the expenses broke down:
NIS 527,000 in hotel expenses
NIS 417,000 in covering the rest of the entourage
which totals 944,000, which doesn’t even cover flights, food, or any other expenses.

And get this: Lindenstrauss actually ordered an “accelerated investigation” because an “extensive inquiry” would have taken two years, at which time all those guilty would probably be out of office. This reminds me of a little game I went through when I first moved to Israel and attempted to get my degree from America recognized. Luckily, I knew someone who helped me with the fiasco, who told me to get a certain letter from the unemployment office declaring that I needed my American degree certified “quickly.” Otherwise, it would have taken six months, instead of two weeks.

I see things work this way at the top as well, which is strangely comforting, if not a bit disturbing.

Here’s some other sordid details: The hotel the delegation reserved, the Intercontinental, demanded that the Israeli delegation commit to the suites within four days, agree to pay for the reservation in full in the event of cancellation, and reserve the rooms for six days even though they needed them only for four.

Apparently “international pressure” now includes pesky French hotel managers. We have to be diplomatic, as they say.

Goldstone Indicted a Fictional Character of War Crimes in the Past

Richard GoldstoneIt seems that Judge Richard Goldstone – the selfsame jurist in charge of the Goldstone Report accusing the IDF of “war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity” in Gaza this past winter – indicted a fictional Serbian character for war crimes back in 1995.

While we all know that fictional characters can often be really really bad and evil, indicting them as part of an international criminal tribunal is perhaps taking it a bit too far. And is the step from indicting fictional characters to indicting real people for fictional crimes really that big of a leap?

So the story goes, as first reported by Makor Rishon newspaper in Israel, that back when Yugoslavia was breaking up, Goldstone presented an indictment of several Serbs for crimes against humanity. Among those was a man named Gruban, with a silhouette for a picture, charged with raping Muslim prisoners in a Serbian concentration camp. The witness to these crimes was supposedly “Witness F,” who claimed to suffer at the hands of Gruban.

As the picture of Gruban’s silhouette was distributed, all of his details – including description, father’s name, location, and age, were listed as “unknown.” Later identified as Gruban Malic, he was found to have been a fictional character from a Serbian World War II novel called Hero on a Donkey.

The hoax began because some American journalist really, really wanted to see a real live war criminal. So a Yugoslavian war correspondent who probably read Hero on a Donkey, told the journalist about Gruban Malic, likely trying to get the journalist off his back, or simply pulling his leg. He later wrote his own book, Hero on a Donkey Goes to The Hague, capitalizing on the fascination with the silhouetted war criminal with no known description, and how his comment to an American Journalist took off suddenly into an indictment.

The charges were dropped in 1998 for lack of evidence. (Note: Not lack of reality though.) I wonder when the charges against Israel will be dropped as well. Does it even matter?

China, Organ Harvesting, Sweden, Iran Sanctions, and Israel

Sounds like a lot to cover in one post, but believe it or not, these topics are all related. Here’s how.

Hu JintaoChina, a huge, repressive, polluting, morally repugnant regime is known to have many an “organ harvesting prison” in its territory. They arrest political opponents, and they tell them they can go free if they simply give up a kidney and half of their liver. Oh, it won’t kill them, and yes, they get to go free, but on the other hand, if they don’t give up an organ, they stay in prison. Call it organ extortion, organ harvesting, call it repugnant, which I did already.

Let’s talk about China and Israel. Recently, China hosted the Olympic games in Beijing. Israel participated, over several calls to boycott by few, but vocal politicians. And now, a year later, Israel – not China – is being accused of organ harvesting, by Swedish newspapers. OK. There have been those who have written of a possible “divine” connection in this, articles you may find floating around the internet here and there, or call it Karma, or whatever you want. Whatever you may want to say, it is definitely poetically ironic that the nation that actually engages in organ harvesting out in the open is not the one that is actually being accused of it. But China is causing Israel some more trouble than just that.

Shall we now go over to China and Iran? Sure. China and Iran have a lot of business relations. And as luck would have it, just like Iran and Venezuela, they represent the opposite extremes of the political spectrum. Iran is on the extreme right of fascist dictatorship. Venezuela and China are on the extreme left of a sort of jumble between socialism and communism, and they’re all pretty much good friends. So it’s really no surprise at all that a day after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that handsome theocrat of an Iranian dictator, decided to rant again about how much he hates The Zionist Entity, China comes and says that, hey, they’re not really all that interested in slapping sanctions on Iran anyway. It wouldn’t be good for negotiations, they say.

I’m sure their road to hell is paved with the best intentions ever known to man. In China’s words, “At present, it [sanctions] is not conducive to diplomatic efforts.” The words of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. How, exactly, is it not conducive to diplomatic efforts? I’ll tell you what it’s not conducive to. It’s not conducive to your trade with Iran. You get less money, and you’ll have to charge even more money for those organs you sell from your political prisoners to even out the balance. How much does a local kidney go for anyway these days in China?

And how about this: The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that Chinese state companies began supplying gasoline to Iran earlier in September. They now provide one-third of its imports. Are they in the money…or what?

Ahmadinejad Spiritual Advisor Sanctions Rape and Sodomy of Prisoners

Let us assume, for a second, that Islam was intended by its founders to be a religion of peace. What does that matter if its more vocal followers sanction the rape and sodomizing of political prisoners? We may engage in a definition and nomenclature debate as to what is the “real Islam” and what is the “fake Islam,” but that, too, is irrelevant. Both of them are real, because both of them exist in reality, we have to deal with both of them. Calling something fake is no excuse for ignoring it.

And as for these people that I am about to write about, whatever religion they follow, it is not a religion of peace.
——–
An influential Shi’a religious leader that Ahmadinejad has close ties with and regularly consults, has told his followers that coercion by rape, torture, and drugs is acceptable against all political opponents of the Islamic regime.

There have been reports recently regarding the torture of Iranian dissidents who were active in the opposition to Ahmadinejad‘s phony reelection. The cleric’s name is Mesbah-Yazdi, shown here, and is considered Ahmadinejad’s personal spiritual guide.

Mesbah YazdiAt a gathering, Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad answered questions about the rape and torture charges. This is a partial transcript of the question/answer session they conducted.

“Getting a confession from any person who is against the Velayat-e Faqih (“Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists”, or the regime of Iran’s mullahs) is permissible under any condition.”

“Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?” was the follow-up question.

Answer: “The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it’s acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed.”
“Is the rape of men and young boys considered sodomy?”

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: “No, because it is not consensual.”

He continued: “If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi’ite holy city of] Karbala.”

I think we’ve heard enough. Anyone interested can find the full report here.

Haredim Continue to Scream up a Storm

Well, several weeks have went by, and the Harta parking lot is still open. Now the Haredim are really pissed off, and they’ve decided to, in the words of Emeril Lagasse, kick it up a notch. In the last two days of protests, a Haredi man was run over by a car after he literally threw himself under it, six policemen were injured, and 16 were arrested.

Haredim parking lotIt’s now a battle of wills between mayor Nir Barkat and Haredi stubbornness. At some point, one of them is going to break, but both seem dead set on maintaining vigilance. Police reported an increase in the level of violence, the amount of people participating, the attempts to block roads and the parking lot itself, none of which succeeded. If you’re a policemen, at least your days are no longer boring.

Despite the ratcheting up, the police have no plans to instruct the mayor to shut down the parking lot.

I remember being at a rally recently on Tisha B’Av, where a group of religious nationalists were attending a rally circling the old city of Jerusalem mourning the destruction of the Temple. Meanwhile, upon exiting this rally, I walked through the Haredi Neighborhood of Meah Shearim. There, there was a different Tisha B’Av rally going on, about the parking lot.

Picture it. National religious Jews are circling Jerusalem and mourning the Temple. Haredim mourning the opening of a parking lot. There is something of an obsession here that has taken hold of the Haredi community and caused them to lose their Jewish sanity, until it seems there is none left.

I can imagine that, theoretically speaking, the Temple is actually rebuilt and they’re still protesting the opening of the parking lot. Is it really that far fetched?

Interestingly Dr. Hadas Hanani, a researcher of the haredi society, believes the real reason for the protest’s timing is economic.

“I think that the reason for holding protests at this time is the donations they have to raise ahead of the High Holidays,” she told Ynet. “This is the period when they look for donations abroad, preparing booklets and leaflets with explanations on why it is important not to leave families hungry during the holidays.”

She continued, “They show that they are bravely protecting Shabbat, presenting secular newspaper reports and pictures. It really serves them, it gives them ‘meat’ when they come to donors and tell them, ‘We are facing the seculars, the municipality, the police, and everyone.”

And when will they end according to her? Likely at the end of the holidays. “It will probably calm down slowly. They’ll find a patent in the form of an agreement with the municipality, or have the rabbis say that the demonstrations desecrate Shabbat.”

We shall see.

An Immigration System Worth Crying Over

passportA few days ago, we received a letter from a reader who is a Russian immigrant, involving the immigration issues surrounding his non Jewish wife. We are posting it here not because we advocate the cause of non Jews immigrating to Israel, but rather because we advocate consistency in immigration policy, so people, when they come here from foreign countries, get actual information that makes sense and doesn’t strand them without health insurance or any means of normal living.

Meaning this: If you, State of Israel, allow the immigration of non Jewish spouses to Israel, then allow it fully and cut the double talk. If you don’t, then don’t, but say this unequivocally. But don’t lure them here under the pretense that everything will be fine and then unload a trap. It’s embarrassing for a modern State to act this way.

The Office of the Interior Ministry has been known to make people cry like children for its zoo-like cacophonous horror of primordial discord, and here’s yet another illustration of it. It’s a wonder we’re able to win wars with a public administration like this.

This is a story that is happening with my family right now, it is unbelievably ridiculous but very true.

I made Aliyah a few months ago from Russia. I am Jewish on both sides of my family and my wife is Russian. In July 2009 I received all my documents and Isaeli permanent residency status without any questions or problems whatsoever. My wife, on the other, hand came one month after me, once I prepared everything for her arrival. At the consulate we were told that she could not get her visa before August 8th 2009, since we were married on August 8th 2008 and one year must pass before she can become an Israeli citizen.

So, after August 8th, my wife went to the consulate in Moscow and submitted her passport. Prior to this we presented all documentation required by the consulate for approval of our status as immigrants. We were told everything is fine and to prepare our new passports for visas, which of course we did.

After arriving in Ben Gurion Airport on the 17th of August, my wife presented her visa to the representatives of the ministry at the airport. Everything was fine and she was let into the country. On the 23rd of August we went to the Ministry of Interior to get her Israeli I.D.. This is when the fun began.

We were told that she must go to the visa section at the Ministry in order for them to review something and she was not issued an I.D., the persons at the visa section gave us a list of documents which must be presented in addition to what was presented already to the consulate. For instance a marriage certificate, certificate of no criminal offenses, pictures to prove that we live together, letters from relatives and a lot of other bull. This was all presented to the consulate in Moscow and they were satisfied. Otherwise they would not have issued the visas.

We were sent to the visa section at the Ministry of Interior immediately after my wife was asked if she was Jewish and what religion did she follow. Of course she answered that she is not Jewish and she did not ascribe to any religion.

I find the whole situation insulting. How is it possible that you get a visa to immigrate to a country, spend money, time, and great effort and when you think everything is finally done, you are told that because your wife is Russian she has to present a bunch of documents which no one told us she would need to present once in Israel? Now they are proposing to issue my wife a temporary visa status. She is not eligible for health insurance, she cannot take language courses, she cannot receive absorption compensation, and she cannot even have a bank account in Israel.

This is the most idiotic thing I have had to deal with in my life. Why issue an immigration visa for permanent residency if then once the person is in the country they are told that it was a mistake?!

Welcome to the Jewish State my friend. When you’re with a people who haven’t had one for 2,000 years, just know that things can get a bit rusty. Just watch out for tetanus on the rust.

IDF Chief of Staff Credit Card and Rifle Stolen

Gabi AshkenaziHow’s this for an oops story. A soldier on guard duty just roamed into IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi’s office, stole his credit card numbers, and gave them to an Israeli Arab he happened to own money to. While he was at it, he stole a souvenir pistol given to Ashkenazi as a gift by an American general.

The soldier in question had also stolen two M16 rifles in the past, one from a soldier who was attacked on guard duty in July, and it appears that he took up theft in order to pay for an apartment he moved into with his girlfriend.

Gaining access to the top IDF officer’s office and stealing his credit card so easily? This has the IDF breathing a rather sizeable sigh of relief that it was only a credit card, because the army can think of lots of people who would love to get in there and put a microphone under his desk, or even a bomb. That wouldn’t be so good.

Talk about something to starkly contrast with the image of Israel as a security mammoth, El Al guards stopping you at every security level for a flight, asking you weird questions about where you’re going and why, if you know Hebrew, what synagogue you go to and such. And suddenly some guy can just walk into the office of the IDF chief of staff, open up his drawer and swipe his credit card info and a souvenir Western pistol? Well, alright then, if you insist.

The soldiers standing guard in the hallway apparently did not have any intensive background checks before they were accepted to duty, something that will now quickly be changed. Locks have been changed. Well, that’ll make me sleep better tonight, knowing the locks are nice and fresh, and the guy in charge of the next big war has a new credit card.

Heart Warming

The “good fence” soccer match: Palestinian version

It seems that sometimes our guys can’t win – even when it involves a friendly game of football. A big controversy has arisen following a commercial by Israel’s largest cellular phone company, Cellcom, in which a soccer ball comes flying over the West Bank security fence and strikes an IDF jeep going by on patrol. One of the young soldiers kicks it back to the other side, and thus an impromptu game begins of kicking the back and forth with a bunch of female soldiers cheering both sides on.

In reality though, representatives of the Palestinian authority didn’t think the idea was very cute at all, especially in light of all the hardships they say that Palestinian citizens go through daily because of the “wall”. In fact they want Cellcom to stop running the commercial, and as a rebuttal, made a Youtube version of how they see the actual incident played out, when their efforts to induce the IDF soldiers to play winds up with the soldiers pitching canisters of tear gas at them instead of a football.

The timing of these incidents almost coincides with some comments made my Israeli P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu in which he said Israel has no plans whatsoever to dismantle the fence, and that it has helped prevent terror attacks from occurring during the last few years. The fact that so few attacks have taken place, probably isn’t so much attributed to the presence of the fence as it is to a change in tactics by the Palestinians, who now see that it is worth their while to refrain from such actions, especially with the new Obama Administration in Washington being more partial towards them than the previous one under George Bush. A few serious terror incidents would not be very user friendly to Mahmoud Abbas’ government in Ramallah, to say the least.

As for the two sides actually playing a real match, maybe this will actually happen one day, especially since the Palestinian national squad is now back on it’s home ground, after being located for many years in Jordan. And as a final word to this situation, playing football together is surely far better than lobbing other “missiles” over the 4 meter high wall – especially Qassams.

More clashes of Haredim with Law in Jerusalem over Child Abuse Case

Child abuse JerusalemSomething appears to be going awry among the ultra orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem. The recent child abuse incident involving a 30 year old Haredi woman suspected of literally starving her three year old son over a two year period to get more attention from him, appears to be yet another incident involving a community who is not only a “culture within a culture” but one that is now trying to exert it’s influence – and even control – over a city that is not only sacred to the Jewish People, but to other religions as well.

The furor that been created, resulting in mass rioting by Haredi Jews, especially those belonging to extreme sects such as the anti-Zionest Toldot Aharon and Neturei Karta sects, who have set themselves apart of the rest of the community and have turned parts of Israel’s capital into a virtual battleground, and is causing widespread disruption to normal life in the city, especially in regards to municipal services.

The woman involved in this latest incident, was detained and later released under house arrest to the home of a prominent Haredi rabbi, was due to undergo psychiatric examinations today to determine her mental ability to face charges for her actions, which have been flatly denied by members of the Eda Haredit groups whose anti-Zionistic extremities may have set back normal relations with Jerusalem municipal authorities “at least 20 years”.

The woman, who is 8 months pregnant, has four other children, whose whereabouts as presently unknown; with speculation that they have been “absorbed” into this community that not only does not recognize the existence of the State of Israel, but often has members seen in photo clips at very unusual places – even posing with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at international anti-Zionest conferences.

Jerusalem in former years used to be city in which both religious and non-religious people seemed to coexist with each other, despite major differences – especially to the observance of the Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. This was especially true under to municipal leadership of Mayor Teddy Kollek, who managed to keep the “pressure cooker” of religious differences from exploding during his long mayoral administration which lasted nearly 3 decades.

More recently, however, secular and even mildly-observant Jews have been leaving Jerusalem and have been replaced by more religious groups, especially Haredi Jews who have moved into many Jerusalem neighborhoods, especially those within reasonable walking distance of the Old City and the Kotel Maaravi or Wailing Wall. This new trend may be the reason why such an uproar has been recently made by Haredi Jews over the parking lot located under the new shopping mall in the Mamilla Quarter, just outside the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. The opening of the parking lot on Shabbat, for use by non-religious Jews and other visitors to the Old City on the weekends, resulted in mass rioting and demonstrations by the extreme Haredi communities in recent weeks.

Why all of this happening, including personal incidents within these extremely closed communities, is bringing more and more attention to groups of extremely religious groups who now appear to be trying to gain an even greater hold on Israel’s capital, as well as bringing attention for people to appear to live under their own moral and even legal codes of conduct, and seem unwilling to act according to legal codes and statutes that have been set up for the benefit of all residents.

How both municipal and even national legal authorities will be able to deal with this apparently growing problem is one that remains to be seen. But most likely, non-religious Jews will continue to make attempts to exert their presence in the capital as well, resulting in further friction among the various groups of residents which make up the cultural and religious mosaic of the city of Jerusalem.

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