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Online Council

June 19, 2011

One of the tasks I’ve set myself is to read the protocols of the city council from 1967 onwards. They seem to contain a mixture of endless verbiage and serious discussion of important subjects.

The protocols are in the municipal archives, which are open only three days a week, part of the day.

The present mayor, Nir Barkat, elected in November 2008, has put all of the sessions he chairs online. I don’t know if anyone watches, but they’re here. (In Hebrew, of course).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Avi in Jerusalem permalink
    June 20, 2011 7:57 am

    A few months ago we attended a session of the council when the question of moving the present (American) Football field from gan Sacher to Ramot was supposed to come up. We are in favour as a sports field was originally planned for Ramot and has never been built.

    What we saw was play acting to the non existent audience by the Mayor and even more so by the members of the impotent opposition. The Mayor’s coalition had to publicly toe the line and opposition spent its time trying to score points which were of no value to anyone.

    During the previous elections Barkat had been moaning about how the then Mayor, Lupolianski, had only spoken to him twice to ask him if he wanted to join the coalition. Barkat refused and was totally impotent during the whole of that term.

    There a few points that I took away from the meeting that can have relevance to an interpretation of the text of the meetings.

    Firstly, I would guess that the decision making and influencing policy is a process carried out in the corridors of the Town Hall and that the “discussions” in the plenum are on another level, perhaps unconnected with what really happens. The council meetings are just the tip of the iceberg, and perhaps not a very relevant tip either. The decisions have been made elsewhere and their formal adoption may or may not be connected to reality.

    We were most impressed by the attitude and contribution of the Ashkenazi Haredi members of the council who were polite, spoke to the point and generally made most sense. Please note that they are our strategic opponents in the activities in our neighbourhood, if not the city as a whole.

    The representatives of the Sephardi Haredim, the Likud, the mayor’s party and Meretz (the main opposition) struck me as a bunch of amateur jokers.

    The elephant that was not in the room is the total lack of participation by 1/3 of the city’s population, namely the Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem. Paradoxically, what was very interesting was a discussion on the sewage project in the Kidron valley. Suddenly everyone behaved themselves and mostly spoke to the issue with a commitment to get something positive done about the fact that a big part of the city is without adequate sewage treatment. The problem is that for years nothing has been done because of the sensitive nature of implementing a project there. Everyone seemed to agree that the Town council had to take responsibility for the lamentable lack of decent sewage facilities, but everyone was aware that this was too hot a potato for both national leaderships, ours and the Palestinians, to handle like mature grown ups, so the Arab population of the area would continue to literally and metaphorically be awash in their own effluent.

  2. Nycerbarb permalink
    June 21, 2011 2:00 am

    Avi –

    That is fascinating about the sewage! See? I told you it’s the services.


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