"The grandiose project 'City Entrance Quarter' is supposed to generate economic activity that the city so dearly needs. But, how exactly is the municipality planning to fill half a million square meters with businesses? [...] The Jerusalem municipality is pinning its hopes on a giant 24-building project, [...] nine of which will be 36 stories tall, all at the city’s entrance. [...]
As is well known, business properties generate a lot of property tax to the municipality, and its attractive location next to the new Tel Aviv-Jerusalem line train station, the central bus station, and the light rail  makes it into an area with high potential for attracting businesses and economic activity that are so needed. But…
Filling half a million square meters is not so easy. All of Ramat HaHayal [neighborhood] in Tel Aviv is less than 500 thousand square meters of developed property, and that is one of Israel’s largest and most active hi-tech centers, maybe even [one of the largest in] the world. Think how difficult it will be for the municipality to try to brand the city entrance as a hi-tech center [...]
I suggest we think a little more broadly. Hi-tech isn’t everything. Remember the media that currently resides in Tel Aviv? Let’s bring it to Jerusalem. [...] First of all, the 'Jerusalem, Israel’s capital' law requires that new television companies reside in Jerusalem. Secondly, in a few months, we’ll be half an hour’s comfortable, modern train ride away from the heart of Tel Aviv.[...] The entrance to the city could be the perfect place for Israeli media, if we actively create the right conditions for it. Bringing the media to Jerusalem will also lead to media workers residing here. Then the media will cover what goes on here, near their own homes and Jerusalem will be able to establish it’s position as the center of public interest, as is suitable for the capital of Israel."
- Meirav Cohen, Jerusalemite activist, in Kol Ha'ir newspaper
“This is a new type of normalization ; the Palestinian Institute on Public Opinion partners with Hebrew University in conducting a poll of [Palestinian] Jerusalemites' opinions on [participating in] municipal elections in occupied Jerusalem.”
[Translation of Video:]
“There was a new normalization between the Palestinian Institute on Public Opinion and Hebrew University in occupied Jerusalem; the Palestinian Institute is under the leadership of Nabeel Kokeli from the town of Beit Sahur. The goal of this new normalization was to poll [Palestinian] Jerusalemites’ opinions on participating in municipal elections. Since 1967, Palestinians have boycotted the Occupation’s municipal elections because participating in these elections would be a practical recognition of the Occupation’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. […] According to Zionists' polls, Palestinians are around 40% of the population of occupied Jerusalem; it is for this reason that the Occupation tries to pressure them into voting in these elections: to legitimize itself to the rest of the world. […] It was not enough that the Palestinian Institute normalized its relationship with the [Israeli] enemy by conducting this poll, but its results concluded that most Palestinians are in favor of participating in these elections, despite there being a complete Palestinian boycott of them previously […]”
- Quds News Network
---- 0202 Editor’s Note:  The normalization of day-to-day life with Israel is a major source of ideological concern for some Palestinians out of fear that acknowledging the Occupation compromises Palestinian identity and national struggle. The term ''normalization'' has been adopted by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, and is explained on their website as follows: "It is helpful to think of normalization as a 'colonization of the mind,' whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only 'normal' reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.”
For a 0202 West Jerusalem post about Palestinian voting in municipal elections, see: goo.gl/oma4XG
Thirty-five Sephardic rabbis have addressed a letter to Talmud Tora (elementary school) principals warning them to prohibit children from dressing up as soldiers or police officers in the upcoming Purim . In the letter, they write: 'To our great woe and shame, the government leaders are trying at all times to tempt our boys, using temptations and threats, to leave the way of the holy Torah and go enlist in the army or National Service, which have been forbidden by all the Gdolim (the great rabbis of the generation). And so, undoubtedly parents and teachers have a holy duty to put the right views in the hearts of their pure children from an early age, to avoid like the plague those forbidden places... With Purim now arriving, when Jewish children dress up, it is clear that costumes have a large impact on children’s soul and their life goals. Therefore, in order to teach them to avoid ugliness and the like, they must not dress up as police officers and soldiers. So that they will separate themselves from the masses. On the contrary, the children must be coaxed to dress up as rabbis and holy men, so that they will dream of becoming great Torah scholars and God-fearing.'"
- Kikar HaShabat
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:  Purim - a Jewish holiday, celebrating the Jewish victory in Persia as told by the Book of Esther. The festivities include reading the Book of Esther in the synagogue, eating a meal, festively drinking alcohol, and dressing up in costumes.
"The events of the last 24 hours [February 15, 2018] which took place on the road between Ein Khinia and Al-Walaja  are insane, even compared to the normal craziness of the Jerusalem municipality.
The municipality began work in order to transfer the Ein Yael checkpoint so that the Ein Khinia site could be opened for Israelis, while blocking access to the Palestinians. The work is being done at the expense of the municipal budget, although it is a police checkpoint. They’ve started working, although they have yet to receive a work permit, and they have been continued working these past few hours in spite of a court order [not to]. Projectors have been brought to the place so that they’ll be able to continue through the night. Meanwhile, Aviv Tatarsky has been detained for standing on a bulldozer.
Update 22:00: The work continues at full force despite the court order. The municipality has filed its response to the claim of contempt of court. In their appeal they claim that stopping the work at this stage will cause a severe security risk. Additionally, the work is being done in accordance with police orders because of 'urgent security and operational needs.'
Update 00:01: The judge on duty has accepted the municipality’s claims that stopping the work now will cause a security risk, and that temporarily transferring the checkpoint (if the appeal against the transfer will be accepted) will not cause damage to the residents of Al-Walaja. The court order has been cancelled. I estimate that the checkpoint will be transferred in the next few days, maybe even sooner."
- Nir Hasson, reporter and blogger about current events in Jerusalem
[Selected Comments:] - “So disheartening” - "Pure evil, nothing but malice and heartlessness" [In response:] “I wish it was 'only' malice. This heartlessness is political, and I don’t doubt it is tied to the mayor's political status, which is currently in a transition period between a municipal campaign for re-election and a leap to Likud [a national political party]: [part of an attempt to] create a stable core of support in order to be elected to the Likud list for the Knesset, to be viewed as ‘kosher’ . If that is the reason/motive behind this wicked act, Nir Barkat [Jerusalem Mayor] deserves to be in the Likud, but definitely does not deserve to be Jerusalem mayor, or head any other municipality.”
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:  Al-Walaja is a Palestinian village on the south-western outskirts of Jerusalem. Ein Khinia is a spring situated by the road connecting the village to Jerusalem. The post refers to the transfer of a checkpoint that was situated there as a barrier between areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority, and Israeli governed area.  The comment refers to accusations against Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, which have been raised repeatedly, that he is sacrificing the interests of Jerusalem's residents in order to further his aspirations in national politics.
“Egged bus driver Salah Abu-Jamel was assaulted this morning [February 18, 2018] by [Israeli] extremists in the settlement of Kiryat Arba ; he has been transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.”
- Sur Baher FB page
[Selected Comments:] - “He [the bus driver] is not the first one to be assaulted and he won’t be the last.” - “God is sufficient for me, for He is the best disposer of affairs .” - “Get well soon my friend.” - “First of all, thank God he is all right. Second of all, every bus driver, Arabs and Jews alike, should have a gun around. So that if anyone tries to assault the driver, they can shoot them in the head.” - “There should be a strike by all Arab bus drivers in Jerusalem.”
---- 0202 Editor’s Notes:  Kiryat Arba is an Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank. It was founded in 1968, and in 2016 it had a population of 7,272 people.  This is a Muslim prayer said in times of calamity or distress.
"A resident of Jerusalem tries to silence his son and stop him from crying after their home was destroyed"
- Post in Ask Jerusalem Facebook page
[In video: Father: "Don't worry. I'm happy, we want to build on the land and all, but we aren’t strong enough to resist the Occupation army in this way. Don’t be sad and don’t cry over it like this,enough. It’s my fate. Thank God for everything, and that’s it." Son: "Nothing’s left, they took everything." Father: "God will provide for us, praise God, Lord of the worlds. Praise God for everything. In a bit, summer will be here and God willing, our Lord will give provide us with sustenance, and all the people will eat from the fruits of the tree. God willing and it will all be here." Son: We did it all for nothing. For nothing. Father: We didn’t do it all for nothing. There’s no such thing. These trees we planted, we will eat from their fruits. Son: Not enough for all the work we put in, 24 hours a day, all we invested. Father: Praise God. Praise God. Praise God... No one’s been killed and no one was hit from steel or concrete, praise God. Don’t get mad, and don’t worry. The one that gave you all that was, will bring something else better instead. God willing, our lord will bring us better things, sweetheart. Son: God willing. Father: God willing. Our Lord will bring us better things. I, how I tried to protect these trees, and protect this tree. Son: It’s good we planted it. Father: Yes, we planted it also. If it's enough for people and birds to eat, then I’m happy. Praise God, Lord of the worlds.”
"So it's finally official and we can publish it... After a lot (a lot) of work behind the scenes, we are the first to meet the criteria for financial support in shared society and tolerance initiatives within the Jerusalem municipality's budget! So yes, you have to go through the seven levels of bureaucratic hell in order to get the support, but this is really a fulfillment of one of my wildest dreams that I've had since I started coordinating the Coalition of Tolerance a little under a year ago.
Today, with more than 50 member organizations working in coalition and dozens more organizations, activists, and initiatives throughout the city, we can proudly say that we are a force to be reckoned with. We are a movement. And we are influencing the system. And of course it's impossible not to give a big shout out to everyone who made this happen. [...]
And yes, there is a lot still missing, every one of these organizations works everyday to make Jerusalem a tolerant city for all of its residents (most are in the picture below, but there are still some missing logos), the amazing donors who support us, and all of our urban and governmental partners. There is no way I could tag all of you, so just know that this achievement is all of yours."
- Irit Einav, Director of Business and Resource Development for the Jerusalem Center for Young Adults
"The Liba [meaning, core] project: a new Judaization around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A Liba settlement complex near the Western Wall."
[Video in translation:] "A new Judaization in Jerusalem. The Occupation authorities began building a settlement complex about 100 meters from the Western Wall and the western border of the Al-Aqsa Mosque: the Beit Ha-Liba project. The building has two floors to accommodate as many tourists and soldiers as possible.
The height of the building rises to 4.7 meters. Its total area ranges from 1500 to 1700 square meters. The first floor will contain working and administrative rooms and an educational and study center. The second floor will contain the main lobby of the center and classrooms. On the underground floor, remains of seemingly archaeological findings will be displayed.
The Beit Ha-Liba project will be the largest of the buildings and projects that the Occupation is building in the Western Wall plaza. The project is a legal, religious and political violation in the area of the Western Wall Islamic plaza .
'The project is a change in the appearance of the Western Wall plaza and contradicts all international laws and conventions' -(Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Waqf in Jerusalem and the affairs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque).
How can the Occupation's plans be thwarted?"
- Al-Quds News Network
---- 0202 Editor's Note:
 The Buraq Wall is the Arabic name for what Jews call the Western Wall, the Wailing Wall, or in Hebrew, the Kotel. The Jewish name for the site refers to the wall’s placement as the westernmost wall of the Jewish Temple, which was destroyed in the year 70 CE, save for this wall. The Arabic name for the site got its Arabic name from the Prophet Muhammad's night journey, or mi'raj, during which he tied his steed, called the Buraq, to the wall while he ascended to heaven. The Western Wall was won from Jordan by Israeli forces in 1967, and today is controlled by Israel and considered one of the most holy places for Jews to pray.
"Okay, so it seems that in under two hours the city government has gone back on its crazy decision. Thanks to Shany Granot, Itai Gutler, Nava Hefetz, and the Jerusalem branch of the Young Guard  for their immediate help and collaboration in this struggle against despair - justice will win.
‘Request for Evacuating Nuisances'
The nuisance: a sign on the front of our building saying 'These Deportations Kill,' in protest against the deportation of asylum seekers. A legitimate protest in a democratic country, no? Well, it seems that in our not-so-democratic country even a protest in your own home is illegitimate.
Jerusalem Municipality/State of Israel, you’ve cancelled demonstrations, you wrote in the media, so let us do what we want with our homes. Allow us to, because this protest is all that’s permitted to us. I hope it’s a racist superintendent and not a racist neighbor, or worse, a clearly anti-democratic policy.
Share this post because today it’s our protest, but tomorrow it’s all of yours.”
[Selected Comments:] - “They didn’t send you a summons because of what was written on the sign, but because you put up a sign without paying a fee.” - “They should’ve deported them awhile ago![...] Nice words, but actions are much nicer. Give them shelter yourself, to one or two of them, for a month, or maybe two weeks. After you do that, continue your protests and maybe you’ll change my mind.” - “Ugly responses, including insults and ridicule, will be erased. There is room for all opinions here.”
---- 0202 Editors' Notes:  The Young Guard is the youth movement of the Labor Party.
"The churches are boycotting an event run by the Occupying Jerusalem municipality
Jerusalem-based senior officials have decided to boycott a reception for the Jerusalem municipality after the Occupation authorities imposed taxes on Christian institutions and assets in the Palestinian Holy Land.
Reverend David Greenia, a Franciscan official in the Holy Land, said that the churches' decision to boycott the event for the new year, which is being conducted by Mayor Nir Barkat, is an 'unprecedented' decision.
The Israeli Occupation Council announced earlier this month that it was determined to impose taxes on church assets. This surprised the church's leaders, who on Thursday issued a joint statement that this step 'contradicts the historic status quo between the churches in holy Jerusalem and the civil authorities over the years.'
Thirteen Church leaders, including the Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Anglican churches, announced that this step 'endangers' their ability to perform their work, which not only caters to religious matters but also provides social services to the needy.
Some of the churches' bank accounts have been frozen, and the municipality estimates that the total debt of 887 of the assets belonging to the various churches amounts to some 700 million shekels (more than $190 million).
Reverend Wolfgang Schmidt, from the German Protestant Holy Lands Organization, said that the actions of the municipality were not coordinated with them. Schmidt called to boycott the municipality event as a sign of 'solidarity with the churches in Jerusalem.' He also told the France Press Agency: 'It is impossible to go on as if everything is normal with this approach,' and clarified that representatives of the churches will meet with city officials next week to discuss the issue further."
---- 0202 Editor's Note: To see a West Jerusalem view on the issue, see: goo.gl/in2qPk
In a strange ceremony, ten wigs were burned in Jerusalem, to the sound of the singing crowd. Over the past few years, there has been a growing campaign among Haredi women advocating against wearing wigs . Every so often, signs and banners are put up in Haredi neighborhoods aiming to convince women to give up wearing wigs, claiming they are opposed to modesty Halachot (Jewish laws).
This Thursday, the anti-wig advocates outdid themselves and organized a wig-burning ceremony in the streets of Jerusalem. Several wig heads were hung over a high stage and each wig was given the name of one of Haman's children . The rabbi holding the torch said a prayer out loud, and proceeded to burn the wigs to the tune of the singing crowd."
- Kikar HaShabat
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:
 According to Jewish custom, married women are obligated to cover their hair. Though wearing wigs is widely accepted among most religious sects, and adopted mostly by Haredis, a few groups of Haredis are opposed to wig wearing. The most notable opposition comes from Sephardi sects, but includes a few more extreme Ashkenazi groups.  In the upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim, the book of Esther is read in the synagogue. In tre story, the wicked Haman, who plots the death of all Jews, is the main antagonist. At the end, he is hung on a tree along with his ten sons.
News Digest: West Jerusalemites' Discuss Palestinian Jerusalemites Voting in Municipal Elections
"East Jerusalem residents cannot vote in parliamentary elections, but they can vote in municipal elections. Although the percentage of voters is less than 1%, lately, we hear more and more voices calling for this to change. Almost 60% of east Jerusalem’s residents think that Palestinians should take part in municipal elections, as opposed to 13% who think they should not. So reveals a survey run by the Hebrew University."
- Haaretz newspaper
*** "Anyone who knows Jerusalem knows just how rare it is to find a serious and trustworthy survey of Palestinians in the city. Dan Midownik’s survey is one of those. A few of my insights: - There’s no doubt that the time is ripe for a political move by the residents of east Jerusalem as we approach the upcoming elections. The chance of this happening is still low, because of the strong ethos of the ban, and the political position of the Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, against taking part in elections. - When residents of east Jerusalem are asked about the future, they cannot imagine a different one. Almost 100% are opposed to full annexation of Jerusalem (no, as long as the Palestinians [in east Jerusalem] are not citizens, it’s not a full annexation. Don’t even start arguing this fact). Additionally, almost 100% are opposed to a concrete division of the city, with walls and fences. That can be understood, it’ll destroy their daily lives. - Opposition to continued Israeli control of the holy sites is also close to 100%. What I wrote above notwithstanding, the level of opposition goes down when faced with the option of dividing the city, but in an open scheme. Palestinian sovereignty in east Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, but free passage for work and study in west Jerusalem; whoever loves Jerusalem, and Jerusalemites, should strive for this future."
- Nir Hasson, reporter and blogger about current events in Jerusalem
*** "How does the saying in Yiddish go? Inshallah . Only the pluralistic sector remains dormant and divided into a million pieces. [Link to the Ha'aretz article above]"
- Other Jerusalem, an organization furthering secular and pluralistic causes
[Selected Comments:] - "I especially liked the fact that 97% are opposed to east Jerusalem remaining under Israeli sovereignty as part of an agreement, and the same 97% are opposed to a division between the parts of the city if east Jerusalem becomes part of a Palestinian state. In other words, they want to live in Palestine, but enjoy all the advantages of living in a democratic, western and modern country like Israel. Nice… I too would like to live in Israel while enjoying the advantages of living in the US."
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:  A phrase in Arabic meaning God willing.
"These are the cities in which there is no fear of Sabbath  violation when turning on the tap, [...] as revealed by an internal letter from Mekorot .
The turmoil of [using] water on the Sabbath broke out, when Rabbis and various activists notified that water desalinated on the Sabbath is ostensibly forbidden. Because of this, ‘Great ones of the Generation’  got involved in the matter, as well as other public figures, to examine the issue in depth in order to find a satisfactory solution to permit use of the water without fear of ‘breaking the Sabbath’ .
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yitzhak Pindrus spoke with the Gihon company  about the situation in the capital. In light of the [the problem becoming] widespread in other cities throughout the country and in consultation with ‘Maran Minister of the Torah’ Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky , MK Uri Maklev  approached the Water Authority and Mekorot in order to solve the problem quickly before the upcoming Shabbat. Indeed, as noted in a letter received by Kikar Hashabat, a series of actions are being taken to prevent the problem.
In an internal letter sent by Mr. Danny Sofer, VP of Mekorot, to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Sofer details the solutions they have reached, so that on weekends and holidays the control centers work automatically. Actual intervention of workers is carried out in special cases where there is a real concern about the continued supply of water to a locality, such situations occur very rarely [...]. In his letter, Mr Sofer points out that there is no problem in the cities of Bnei-Brak, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Betar Illit and Modi'in Illit , since their water reservoirs are filled before the Shabbat and sufficiently supply water for the entire Shabbat or holiday. [...]"
- Kikar Hashabat
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:  The Jewish Sabbath takes place on Saturday. As the holy day of the week, there are many religious laws pertaining to the religious observance of the Sabbath. Among these many laws, manual intervention by Jews in most forms of machinery or electricity is forbidden, as well as benefiting from such an action performed by a fellow Jew. These actions are termed “Shabbat Acts” or “Breaking the Shabbat.” In this case, manual intervention by Jewish technicians at desalination plants may have prohibited the use of tap water during the Shabbat. Using this tap water would be considered benefiting from a “Shabbat act,” or an act that violated the religious Sabbath laws, therefore making the water forbidden. Exceptions to these laws are made when there is a life endangering situation, as well as in other unique situations.  Mekorot is Israel’s national water company.  ‘Great ones of the Generation’ is a term used by some Haredi communities for the Rabbis that are considered to be the social and religious leaders of those communities.  See note 1.  Gihon (lit. the Hebrew name for a Biblical-era spring in Jerusalem) is the water company of Jerusalem.  Minister of the Torah is an unofficial title given by some Haredi communities to the Rabbi that they consider to be the leader, or one of the leaders, of the generation. Here it is referring to Rabbi Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievsky (b. 1928) who is a leading authority in the Orthodox Jewish society.  A Haredi Knesset Member from the Haredi party “Judaism of the Torah.”  All the cities mentioned either have large Haredi communities or are predominantly Haredi.
"People of the nice and loving city, how tolerant is the city towards Transwomen who live peacefully? I’m thinking about returning to the city. (Respectful responses only, please.)"
- Jerusalemite FB Group
[Selected Comments:] - "Jerusalem is pretty homophobic, but if it’s for work, I don’t think it should bother you."
- "Dear Sharon, do what you feel is right...You don’t have the mark of Cain on your forehead, and you don’t need to feel different, because you’re not. I wish you success in any path you choose. A friendly piece of advice: don’t pay too much heed to any negative comments; simply ignore them."
- "I haven’t read the previous comments to avoid getting pissed. Why do you need to ask this question at all? What is the difference between Jerusalem and other cities? Apart from the State of Tel Aviv , I don’t know of any city in which there are no primitive and ignorant people that have trouble accepting those who are different. (Which is a separate discussion – you label yourself as different and expect to be treated as if you’re not.) You chose a certain way, be proud of who you are and live wherever you want! You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend you live in neighborhoods in which I myself would not live, like Me'ah She’arim  etc. Good luck."
- "As a gay man, I wouldn’t want to live in Jerusalem. I can’t walk down the street holding hands with my partner without hearing remarks, at the very least. As painful as it is that you can’t feel free everywhere, I wouldn’t recommend you live there, but rather in friendlier cities."
- "Things here are not always simple, and it depends on where, but there are more than a few transmen and transwomen in Jerusalem, and there’s a large and prosperous gay community. If you choose to come, you won’t be alone – that’s for sure."
[Harsher and more negative comments appeared in response to this post, but they were deleted by the admins before 0202 could translate them]
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:  Tel Aviv is considered by some to be a unique bubble, a state within a state, with different social norms than the rest of the country, and where different rules apply.  Me'ah She'arim is an Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem.
"Sneak peak: This is how thousands of schnitzels  are made in the Mir Yeshiva . This is a rare glimpse into the Yeshiva's huge kitchen while preparing thousands of schnitzels for the Torah-study students." [Video credit: שלומי כהן]
- Kikar Hashabat.
---- 0202 Editor's Notes:  Thinly-sliced chicken cutlets that are breaded and fried. Schnitzel is a very popular Israeli cuisine brought to Israel by Ashkenazi Jews from Europe.  The Mir Yeshiva (an institute for religious Judaic studies, known as Torah studying) is one the largest Yeshivas worldwide. It is considered one of the flagship yeshivas of Haredi society.