This week in Jerusalem: Who do you belong to?

AuthorPEGGY CIDOR
Published date18 November 2021
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Are the city's residents safe from hazardous buildings?

The answer? Yes and no. The municipality is aware of the danger, and updates a list of such structures. Yet most of the implementation to solve the problem remains in the hands of the residents who informed the authorities. In October, no fewer than 99 inquiries from concerned citizens (compared to 44 during the same period last year) reached the municipal Department of Dangerous Buildings. Most of these inquiries were about cracks in walls, fences, ceiling pillars or balconies.

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According to data from the 106 municipal hotline, 640 inquiries were received regarding dangerous structures during the past six months alone, compared with 460 in the corresponding period last year. Most were related to potential balcony collapses, since many were built without permits or engineering supervision. Large amounts of illegal construction in the Arab and haredi sectors, which lack professional engineering supervision, are at the center of this issue.

The municipality's website periodically publishes a detailed report titled "List of Buildings Suspected as Pal-Kal Buildings," which includes buildings suspected of being constructed with the system that caused the collapse of the Versailles wedding hall, but does not give too much detail, as the municipality's policy is to only inform directly the owners and tenants of such buildings. But despite the quite up-to-date list of such buildings, the municipality has not, thus far, decided to launch a large-scale operation to take action, mostly due to a lack of professional staff, sources at Safra Square admit.

Who do you belong to?

Will Mayor Moshe Lion respond to his opponent's demand and declare that the two city council members who recently crossed party lines have officially left their own Hitorerut party list, and thus cannot run in the next election? That is what Hitorerut chairman Ofer Berkovitch has asked from Lion in a letter sent last week, but it seems Lion is not rushing to solve Berkovitch's problems. Whether the mayor is still hesitating as to what is the best step for him, or if he is, as some members of his coalition suggest, just enjoying the situation, things are moving and creating facts on the ground.

As of last week, and as the Hitorerut "rebels" were ousted by Berkovitch from his list, the two – Yamit Yoeli-Ella...

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