The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee has approved construction of the "Karmit" residential neighborhood on 95 dunams (23.75 acres) on the western slopes of Kiryat Yovel, overlooking Ein Kerem. 93% of the land is privately owned with the remainder belonging to the Israel Land Authority (ILA).
The plan involves rezoning the land from public and agricultural use to residential use and the construction of 1,000 housing units in 12, 14, and 21-floor towers, on the ridge of the hill. The plan, which must be approved by the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee, includes schools, synagogues and a youth club.
Jerusalem Municipality said that building on the area would significantly increase the supply of housing in the region and attract young couples and families and a population that works in the vicinity (such as in Hadassah - Ein Kerem hospital) and that the neighborhood would include a larger area than originally planned for open public areas for maximum protection of the views and the environment.
The original plan submitted by the Kulker Kulker Epstein architects firm was for 1,400 apartments.
Despite being downsized the plan has many opponents because of the damage they say it would do to the environment. Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Adv. Yossi Havilio said that the entire plan should be cancelled. "This is municipal land for nature. There is not much of this in Jerusalem. This land must be protected for greenery and public buildings because above and beyond all the towers people should have a little greenery within walking distance for quality of life.
He added, "The main reason is the village of Ein Kerem. There is no dispute that this place has huge importance for Jews, Christians and Muslims. It's not smart to preserve the heart of the village of Ein Kerem and surround it with towers and concrete monsters. Would somebody surround the Old City walls with towers? This is a world-class asset and you are destroying it. Future generations won't forgive us if we do not prevent this plan. We believe it will prevent the village from receiving UNESCO World Heritage status."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 6, 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.