The problem of cleanliness (or rather, lack thereof) in Jerusalem has been bothering the city's residents for years, and now it seems that visitors from abroad are concerned with the issue as well.
Ilan Geva, the owner of a Chicago investment firm, visited the capital about a month ago as guest of the former CEO of the Jerusalem Economy Company, Dudik Moshkovitz.
"It pained us to see how dirty the city is and how the houses' facades have been neglected," Moshkovitz said.
Several days after Geva returned to Chicago he decided that he must do something to improve the level of cleanliness in Jerusalem. He initiated a contest titled "Polishing Jerusalem," and invited institutions, shop owners, private house owners and the residents of apartment buildings to clean both the interior and exterior of their building.
Each week organizers will announce one winner who will receive a cash prize of NIS 1,000 ($250) for accomplishing the most noticeable improvement.
"I hope that the mayor will join the initiative and decide to sponsor the contest and reward the business owners and residents who participate in it," Moshkovitz added.
At a conference of Jerusalem hotel owners that was held last week, Mayor Nir Barkat commented on the city's cleanliness problem: "The entire cleaning system in the city is faulty. When I took office I discovered that this department is… one big mess.
"We are currently working on a wide-scale reform in the field, under which each area in the city will be appointed a 'cleaning supervisor,' who will be in charge on all cleaning operations there."