Plan to Build Security Wall Around PM's Residence Rejected

Jerusalem District Appeals Committee rejects petition to erect 10-meter fence around Balfour Street home.

Ranit Nahum-Halevy
Haaretz Correspondent
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Ranit Nahum-Halevy
Haaretz Correspondent

The Jerusalem District Appeals Committee headed by attorney Gilad Hass has rejected a request by the Prime Minister's Office to build a 10-meter fence around Olmert's residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, in the heart of the Rehavia neighborhood.

The ire of neighborhood residents has been raised more than once, with frequent implementation of special security measures, demonstrations and traffic disruptions.

The planed fence included a 35-meter-long steel plate fence along a sidewalk, reaching 9.95 meter steel wall high - or about the height of a three-story apartment building.

The plan received dozens of objections, including one from the Israel Architects Association, the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites, along with neighborhood residents.

The latter protested that such a fence would block the view to the nearby Terra Sancta site, one of the most historical and well-known sites in the city.

The Architects Association in Jerusalem took the unusual step of filing a complaint, citing among other things the many structures in the area designated for preservation, compounded by the damage that a steel wall would inflict upon the nature of the neighborhood, with its buildings of natural hewn stone facing.

"We were afraid of the precedent that would permit construction of fences and enclosures whenever there is a security problem, causing the city to look like army barracks," explained Eyal Shaar, acting chairman of the Architects Association in Jerusalem.

The committee is now working on an alternative plan for a more aesthetically pleasing structure that will minimize the environmental and scenic damage to the neighborhood.

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