When Jerusalem, Israel is involved
there seem to be few things on which everyone agrees.
But one thing that is obvious to all,
is the number of major construction projects,
with their huge cranes towering in the skyline.
The elections for Mayor of Jerusalem, are set for the fall.
For weeks, current Mayor Nir Barkat has had campaign workers out on the streets.
Streets, where recent roadwork has kept residents awake for nights on end.
Even on a very busy week, some invitations are hard to refuse.
So when I was offered a chance to see some of the new Jerusalem venues
on a tour led by the mayor himself, well, that went to the top of my must-do list.
Finally a chance to find out the answer to what everyone is asking,
where is Cinema City?
The first stop was the new Cinema City complex.
Deep under ground Nir Barkat
spoke to journalists in front of the space for one of the movie screens.
These seats were so comfortable that it was hard to get up and get going,
and hard to believe that there is another theater with even better chairs.
The large multiplex theaters are all built underground,
and the largest auditorium is to seat 6,000.
Photographers were allowed to take many photos of the mayor,
but not of all the construction areas.
It’s hard to believe that this will open at the end of this week as planned,
or even Sukkot time as now anticipated.
I wonder how long it will take until the high speed train comes in to this station.
The bridge to parking garage has been ready for years,
but mostly used to hang protest signs.
These banners, from March 2010, say “Netanyahu stand strong.”
Then, we were off to Teddy Stadium,
where the massive set of the Maccabiah Opening was being taken down.
The newly enlarged stadium was being redone for Maccabiah 2013 Closing ceremony.
The VIP section looked so very different in daylight.
Stop three on the tour was near by,
the new sports arena, still under construction,.
(Pais has nothing to do with peace,
but is transliterated Hebrew word for lottery.)
How often in Jerusalem do you see hard hats at any construction site,
certainly not with popsicles and a talk by the mayor?
This arena was so large,
that it was impossible to get it in all one shot.
There were three buses on this tour,
and Mayor Barkat was our personal tour guide to the last stop at First Station.
As the sun was beginning to set
on the roof top of the Old Train Station, the tour concluded.
Mayor Barkat has initiated massive building and sports projects,
and major events to draw young people and tourists to Jerusalem,
he wants to be re-elected to see his vision for Jerusalem continue.
How ironic that on the very same day of the tour,
a challenger to the mayor launched his campaign.
There was Moshe Lion up on the side of this building, bigger-than-life.
It’s not clear what will happen next in this mayoral campaign,
but one other thing that is for sure:
a lot of money will be spent.
(Full disclosure, I have a friend who is a friend of the Mayor’s mother-in-law.,
but it was another friend who got my name on the list, thanks Lisa)
UPDATE: since many could still not figure out where Cinema City was: