The view from my window has been better of late. The rains have helped give the city a cleaner appearance, but there are still more than a few eyesores out there.
The first, and most obvious to everyone, are the mounting garbage piles in and around our neighborhoods.
The second, is the Holyland apartment complex atop the Begin Highway near Malha.
One thing connects both, the Jerusalem Mayoralty, past and present.
A brief history: The current mayor is Nir Barkat, and before him was Uri Lupolianski. Before Lupoliansky, the mayor was Ehud Olmert. Back before Mr. Olmert entered national politics he’d given a speech in my hometown synagogue discussing some of the issues he faced managing Jerusalem. The one that stood out most was — according to a source in attendance — was Olmert saying how keeping the city clean was a daily battle. I’ve been living in Jerusalem (past 8 years), and this has been the only issue to arise with such regularity.
In a matter of days — I believe at most, weeks — the garbage that has been building up on our streets will be removed, and pickups will return to normal. Thanks will be due to the sanitation workers returning to work. Their absence is sorely missed. As is the mayor’s. His lacktions in city management while shifting political attention towards national politics are an unacceptable excuse.
Once this is cleared up, however, the Holyland complex will still be standing in place—an everlasting monument to Mayoral corruption. Both previous mayors have received jail sentences, with the latter, Lupoliansky serving it now. The former, Olmert, chose to fight his sentence and has seen it reduced from 6 years (one for each tower, same as Lupoliansky’s) to just 1.5 years. He will likely begin serving it in the coming months. By then, hopefully, Lupoliansky will be released back to serving the public with his Yad Sarah charity organization.
What a great way to start 2016!