Massive Development Back on Track in Jerusalem

By Haaretz

Published November 30, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A last-minute change to the new master plan for the Jerusalem area could open the door to reviving a massive housing project planned for the west of the city that was shot down in 2007.

About two months ago a symbol was added to the map of the master plan, which the National Planning and Building Council is to vote on next week, indicating that a development proposal could be submitted in the future for part of the parcel that had been earmarked for the erstwhile project.

The Safdie Plan, named for the architect behind it, Moshe Safdie, called for building thousands of homes on two mountain ridges in West Jerusalem. The eventual defeat of the plan by a coalition of environmental organizations was considered an unprecedented victory for Israel’s green movement. Environmentalists argued there was plenty of land available for construction in other parts of the city and there was no need to build the capital out to the west and destroy forests to do so. The plan’s supporters felt the project was the only way to counter rising housing prices in Jerusalem and stanch the city’s population drain.

The final blow to the Safdie Plan came from a report that backed the environmentalists’ claims about land availability. The proposal was defeated resoundingly in the National Planning and Building Council, in a vote of 23 to 3.

Since then the plan’s detractors have claimed that this was a strategic turning point for Jerusalem in that it catalyzed development of the city center. But environmental activists in the capital often expressed concern that pressure from real estate developers and the desire for easy answers to Jerusalem’s chronic housing shortage would spell the return of the Safdie proposal. These concerns have grown in the past two years in light of international pressure against new construction in areas beyond the Green Line such as Gilo, Har Homa, Givat Hamatos and Pisgat Ze’ev that contain the largest reserves of land for residential building.

Environmentalists say that the new head of the Interior Ministry’s planning administration, Bina Schwartz, is an enthusiastic supporter of reviving the Safdie Plan. Schwartz, who began the job toward the end of the discussion process for the district master plan, was indeed behind the proposal that ended with the symbol signaling possible future development to the map attached to the master plan.

Go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.