Mar 12, 2018

too much tourism

It is tough living in the Old City of Jerusalem. Tourists all over the place, noise that echoes through the narrow paths all day and all night, events, ceremonies, security issues. It is a never-ending stream of disturbances to a normal life.

But they live in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Janglo is reporting that residents of the Old City are petitioning City Hall against the multiplicity of events and festivals, with a new one being announced to take place May 8-10 in the Old City.

According to the petition:
"Until now, the Jerusalem Municipality has produced 2 festivals a year in the Old City to attract audiences that are not used to visiting it: the festival of sounds between Purim and Passover and the festival of lights in the summer," the petition says. "Moreover, during the month of Selichot, during the Ten Days of Repentance, during the intermediate days of Succoth and Passover, during Chanukah and Lag BaOmer days, tens of thousands of visitors flock to the Old City, even without festivals."
"This year,  the festival "Hanukkalayim" was added on the last day of Chanukah and the next day," the petition adds. "Residents of the area are aware that the Old City is the number one tourist site in Jerusalem and in Israel and witnesses to the arrival of masses of visitors a year. However, there is great importance in maintaining the balance between a tourist center and a residential area. Residents are entitled to lead a normal life during festivals. The multiplicity of festivals violates the proper balance and makes life difficult for the residents. During the festivals they stop public transportation to the neighborhood, blocking other access routes (including walking!). The noise and lighting of the exhibits disturb the residents' rest, in addition to the noise and dirt of the visitors. We appeal to you to cancel the planned festival," the petition concludes. 
It isn't easy living in the middle of the densest and most popular of tourist zones...

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  1. What will they do when we are Oleh L'Regel again?

  2. I read this complaint in a guidebook to the Old City, written by a resident, decades ago. Something like, "We live here and dont' appreciate you singing under our windows at 2 AM!") My reaction then was, "You chose to live in the wackiest part of the wackiest city in the world. Deal with it." And my reaction remains the same.

  3. I feel worse for people living in Nachlaot. People who moved into the Old City (and I have family that grew up there) knew what they were getting themselves into when they bought. Not just tourists day and night, but also the "Yells and the Bells" from the other quarters, not to mention Shofrot late at night during Elul

    On the other hand, in the past few years Nachlaot has become a hot destination for "Tiyulei Slichot" there are groups of schoolchildren or soldiers there every night during Elul. People who bought in Nachlaot decades ago weren't expecting to live in the center of night-tours, but now have to spend a whole month of disturbed sleep.

    1. A friend of mine lives in Nachlaot. When the groups come by, she comes out yelling that they should have more respect and it's selichot season and they should consider other people and...oh, as long as you're here, why don't you come in, and whaddya know, coffee and cake is laid out and they have a good long talk.

      (She knows all the tour guides and they set it up ahead of time, of course.)


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