Photo: Haim Tzach
Nir Barkat
Photo: Haim Tzach

Court orders J'lem's Karta parking lot be open on Shabbat

District Court orders Old City's Karta parking lot remain open over the weekend instead of disputed Safra lot. Decision meant to solve parking distress without sparking more ultra-Orthodox riots

Following the ultra-Orthodox riots sparked by the Jerusalem municipality's decision to keep the Safra parking lot open on Shabbat, and a court order to that effect, Mayor Nir Barkat announced Thursday that Safra will remain closed and the city's Karta lot will be opened in its stead.


The Karta parking lot is located near the Old City's Jaffa Gate and offers 800 spaces. The municipality is hoping this will be enough to significantly ease the city's weekend parking shortage.


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The previously municipal-owned lot is currently in receivership, after defaulting on a $35 million debt to businessman Alfred Akirov, and therefore the city has had to ask the court for permission to open it.


"The move is meant to serve the greater good for the city's residents, it will answer the needs of the city's different sectors and to soothe the tensions between them," the Jerusalem District Court said in its ruling. The court did not decree who will benefit from the profits made by keeping the parking lot open.


"The Karta parking lot gives the best possible answer to the problem, location-wise and because it can accommodate buses," said the Jerusalem Municipality.


Opening the Karta lot, the city said, "Makes opening the Safra parking lot redundant. The mayor stresses again that the move stemmed from his commitment to public safety and from the need to find a true solution to the (parking) problem while adhering to police orders.


The ultra-Orthodox community has had a tempered reaction to the decision so far, but heads of the haredi congregation warned that any attempt to open the Safra lot, which is a municipal parking lot, will not stand.


Aviad Glickman contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.25.09, 18:14
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