Jerusalem Day Celebrations Will Not Cover Up the City's Rot and Discrimination

Jerusalem Day is an 'artificial celebration'; Jerusalem is the most ultra-Orthodox city, the most Arab, plagued by negative migration.

Jerusalem Day is an artificial celebration, which only the religious Zionist movement, settlers, workers on an organized outing, the president, the mayor and Channel 1 bother celebrating in a big way. Most people in Israel don't even know, and don't care, why it even exists.

The poet and Jerusalemite Gilad Meiri, who apparently also loves a different Jerusalem, has called in a poem "to liberate Jerusalem from Jerusalem Day."

Ultra-Orthodox men near Jerusalem

Ever since Jerusalem became a city that was compacted together 44 years ago, there have been few reasons to celebrate, and this year, fewer than ever.

Jerusalem 2011 is a sad city pretending to be glad.

Earlier this week, the Central Bureau of Statistics published real data that puts us into a less than party-like mood: Jerusalem is the most ultra-Orthodox city, the most Arab, and plagued by negative migration. Some 8,000 Jerusalemites got fed up with the city over the past year and abandoned it.

The rate of high school students who pass their matriculation exams is low and the city is is not heedful of the children of the poor.

Meanwhile, in the eastern part of the city, more than 1,000 classrooms are lacking; about half the children have no place in a classroom, they are mamzerim.

Even before this, Jerusalem was no bed of roses. But in recent years is has become a bed of thorns.

In the neighborhood of Al-Bustan, at the foot of the City of David, the municipality insists on destroying dozens of inhabited homes to turn a delusional vision into reality - the "Garden of the King."

In the neighborhood of Silwan, has anyone noticed that a "quiet intifada" is under way? Settlers in Beit Yonatan and Wadi Hilweh have been clashing daily with local residents and lives have been lost. Beit Yonatan should have been evacuated long ago according to the High Court of Justice decisions at which Mayor Nir Barkat thumbs his nose and the attorney general neglects.

The police are arresting local leaders, including Jawad Siyam, who established a community center for children and has fallen victim to false complaints by settlers, his neighbors. The police are also arresting minors; just the other day, Haaretz reported on the illegal arrest of a 7-year-old boy.

In the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian families continue to be ejected from their homes. The settlement of Simon the Just is expanding with the open and covert support of the state authorities.

On the ruins of the Shepherd Hotel, which the Custodian of Abandoned Property sold to Irving Moskowitz, a new settlement will soon arise. Quite a few celebrations await Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers, Rivlin and his MKs, ahead of next Jerusalem Day, even before September and mainly thereafter. We can start getting ready for the dedication of the Third Temple.

This year has not been good for Jerusalem's good name; it is the year the Holy City became synonymous with a building project called Holyland. Something is rotten in this city, many of whose past and present leaders are on trial for their shenanigans. Annual festivals (and not only in churches ), marathons, new restaurants in the market and other pleasantries on its day of joy will not cover up the rot, the discrimination or the deprivation.