World media attention is focused on Tahrir Square with its exciting photos,
by comparison Jerusalem’s Safra Square is downright boring.
A public meeting held in the City Council Meeting room on November 23, 2011,
chaired by Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Naomi Tsur was ignored by the press.
After her hour-long report on waste management, physical accessibility,
affordable housing and parks, transportation and a green Jerusalem,
there was a discussion group for each topic where the public could speak.
Each group then reported back to the full assembly during the last hour,
with an attentive Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat present.
He listened to each presentation,
took extensive notes,
and then responded.
The event was more civil, orderly and democratic than many US town meetings.
Near the end a man came close to photograph the mayor,
followed by a second photographer, otherwise the crowd sat politely and quietly.
Though a short power outage occurred during the mayor’s remarks,
Naomi Tsur had good reason to smile at the close of the meeting.
After a resident of an Arab neighborhood gave an impassioned speech
wanting good schools for his children at the housing session, he received applause.
The only noticeable group missing were the Ethiopian olim,
possibly because of the Sigd holiday that is being celebrated this week .
The mayor used the word “savlanut”, patience more than once in this remarks.
Savlanut is usually needed in Jerusalem,
a meeting like this one could be one small step in a positive direction.
Additional photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page.