Jerusalem Opens New Urban Park in Time for Tu Bishvat

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Across from the busy Pat Junction, a nature reserve and park is being developed. Meet the young volunteers who planted trees.
Tree planting for Tu Bishvat

Tree planting for Tu Bishvat

Across from the busy gas station at the corner of the Pat Intersection just before it turns into Begin Highway is a large patch of undeveloped land called Emek Hatzva’im, or Gazelle Valley. This month, work began to turn the area, also referred to as Pri-Har Valley, into a park with a soccer court and open space for the small herd of native gazelles to graze. A tough fight in the Jerusalem Municipality resulted in plans for new commercial area to be cancelled.

On Tuesday, a group of volunteers planted trees in anticipation of the holiday of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for the Trees which began Wednesday evening and will last until sunset Thursday.

Rotem Palti, a young national service volunteer from the north of Israel spoke to Arutz Sheva’s Israel National Radio about the land and his work.

Gazelle Valley Interview

To hear the interview in streaming audio click here.

“This is considered an urban nature park because it’s like an oasis within the city limits,” Palti explained. “There a lots of buildings, people, cars and noise and right here there’s a place where people can come and connect to nature and just forget about the troubles of the city for a bit. We need to preserve this place.

Among his jobs are planting and trimming trees, and making sure wild jackals don’t break through the fence and attack the gazelles. “Jackals are attracted to garbage and scraps of food that they can eat.” he explains.

He and his fellow young national service volunteers sit next to an old one story, one-room stone building, used as a storage facility, and play guitar during their break time as cars race past in the background.

Rabbi Shaul Judelman of JiVE! – Jerusalem Volunteers for the Environment, and the Teva Ivri (Hebrew Nature) organization was there as well, leading a group of volunteers in transforming a barren slope into a mini garden with diverse trees. The area was once owned by Kibbutz Ramat Rachel and used for apple groves. This month tractors began working to transform one third into children’s park areas, one third a nature center and one third to remain a wildlife preserve.

“We’re here to recreate the hillside that was damage due to construction,” he stated, as he set down a shovel. “We’re planting almond, Israeli pistachio, mastic trees, and pines. In a couple of years we’ll have a little forest.”

With the Holyland apartment complex looming in the background Rabbi Judelman described what the future neighborhood would look like.

“The vision for the future is we will recreate what would be the natural Jerusalem hills environment. The visitor’s center will be a welcoming place for kids,” he explained.

“This is a low income neighborhood and people don’t always have the money to take a long trip to a park. For 2,000 years we’ve prayed to return to Jerusalem, but in the past thirty years people have actually been leaving due to high rents, and small apartments. Studies have been done (which show) that proximity to parks and gardens indicates a higher quality of life. So the municipality of Jerusalem has been trying to increase funding for such projects,” he related.

Rabbi Judelman highlighted the desire for the park with an anecdote about riding the bus past Tzomet Pat Junction.

“I remember when there was a vote going on in the city as to whether this was going to be a commercial zone or a park and it was a hot Jerusalem July afternoon.

“I was on the 32 bus from the center of town at about 5:00 p.m. and everyone was hot and annoyed and we were anticipating going to war, and we got stopped at the red light in heavy traffic… And every single person’s head was turned to the right looking out the window and gazing at this green area. It encapsulated what this place means for the city.”

For the full interview plus Tu Bishvat music, download Arutz Sheva’s – Israel Beat by clicking here. For the Israel Beat archives click here.






 

Azaria Alon -Lover of Zion and The Land of Israel

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Azaria Alon z”l – Lover of the Land of Israel
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Whenever we travel throughout our beautiful country or enjoy our streams and our clean well-kept trails it is thanks to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and their development of Israeli nature reserves.
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Azaria Alon, who died this morning, was one of Israeli nature’s greatest lovers and guardians.As a Bar Mitzvah gift I received an encyclopedia titled “HaChai V’HaTzomach Shel Eretz Yisrael” (The animals and greenery of Israel), edited by Alon. I loved turning the pages and afterwards going on a hike in those very same places.
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The Nation of Israel owes much gratitude to this very special lover of our beautiful country. He was a Humble and good Jew.and Zionist
May his memory be blessed.

יהי זכרו ברוך —
18 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Stephen Darori In 1972 , 76 and again 1980 the South African Railways proposed taking over the Administration and Development of Israeli Railways ( at the expense of the SA Railways entirely).The negotiations were led by my late father Morrie Drus. In 1980 he came on Aliyah with the entire Drus family but remained the Right Hand Man of the then Director General of the South African Railways , Dr Johannes Marais ,a great Christian Zionist. Between 1980 and 1982 he worked closely with Azaria Alon and produced a 10 years development plan for the Israeli Railways that included railway lines from Rosh Hanikra ( the tunnel by the way and line to Beirut was built by the South African Engineering Corps within the British Army during the Second World War… my father led this Unit) .The Plan included Railway lines from Katsrin on the Golan, Metulla and Rosh Hankra through the Shomron to Ashdod , Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot , Dimona, Yerocham , Beer Sheva to Eilat with an additional Narrow Gauge commercial line from Eilat to Tel Aviv and the Jewels of the Development Plan a Fast Net to Jerusalem and a MonoRail System in the Mercaz ( the water table is to close to the surface for an underground) . 47 Israeli Railway workers ,all members of the Histadrut objected and the high level contract was never signed. The Cost to Zion of the 47 in today’s money is estimated at $63 billion dollars and counting. The Fast Net to Jerusalem has already cost Zion about $9.4 billion and is slated to open in early 2016. ……………………My father walked the length and breath of Zion with Azaria Alon and his Society for the Protection of Nature clutching their Nature Biblehttp://www.amazon.com/…/038514…/ref=la_B001JOIT6I_1_2… …..Azaria Alon’s contribution to Zion’s landscape is his legacy. A very Great Man. May his his Memory be Blessed.Wonderful………………… … For the last 6 months I have been transitioning back to a position in Zion ( the White Silicon City would be nice) but I have been repeatedly tagged with ” too much experience ” or “too many degrees”… it is very frustrating especially as remuneration isn’t an issue ( unless it is insulting or/and a disincentive). If you have any contacts or know of companies looking for a mutlifaceted skilled person, please contact me Tel 0524182849 ( stephendarori@gmail.com)http://www.linkedin.com/…/stephendarori… the 6th September 1986 , Drus ( pronounced Darus) was Hebrewaized to Drori. The “a” in English was added for branding purposes. Darus is the gerund of “Le Dareis ” to be trodden on . we couldn’t live with that.Dror is the Biblical word for Sparrow. Achad Ha’am wrote … “cage a sparrow ad it will die” ( think about it .. it is true) . Eliezer ben Yehuda included the word Drori in his 1930’s New Hebrew dictionary with a meaning of “freedom, liberty”

    www.amazon.com

    Describes the flora and fauna of Israel and adjacent areas. Geographically Israel…See more
  • Larry Williams It’s sad to loose someone like that who is so in touch with nature !
  • Lisa Kamins bauruch dayan emet
  • Stephen Darori