Jlem Councilman: ‘Time to Get Back to Normal’

Jerusalem deputy mayor explains controversial decision to reopen schools.

Maayana Miskin ,

Business as usual? Jerusalem post-snowstorm,
Business as usual? Jerusalem post-snowstorm,

The city of Jerusalem reopened schools on Tuesday after closing them due to the snow storm that hit late last week. The move was somewhat controversial; some argued that going to school put children at risk of injury from falls on slippery sidewalks or while playing outdoors.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich (Jewish Home) explained the decision. It would have been easy to keep schools closed Tuesday as well due to the ongoing effects of the storm, he told Arutz Sheva, but city leaders felt the move was necessary.

Many parents could not take more time off work, he noted.

Kalmanovich explained that the city did not unilaterally decide to reopen schools. Schools that were found to be in acceptable condition were reopened only with the agreement of parents’ committees and principals, he said.

Some schools remained closed due to damages sustained in the storm. Many of the schools that were closed Tuesday are expected to open Wednesday. On Wednesday, as on Tuesday, the school day will begin at 10 a.m.

The storm was “a national disaster,” Kalmanovich declared. “It’s being dealt with courageously, and we’re trying to get back to routine.”

Regarding the chance of injury, Kalmanovich argued that children could have been injured either way. “The streets and parks were full of children, and there were those who slipped and broke their legs,” he said.

Opening schools reduced the risk that children would not be properly supervised due to their parents’ return to work, he argued.

Mistakes were made in preparing for the storm, he admitted, but added, “We need to look forward.”

He recalled the hectic days of the storm. “There were many calls for help from the ill and others in need, trees collapsed on cars, a person died on Friday and needed to be evacuated, women gave birth on Highway 443, and more,” he said.

Kalmanovich related that he was snowed in on Friday. “There was a sense of team pride,” he recalled. “People were proud to help each other. There was no challah in the stores, and other things too, and in some places there was no electricity, but there was a sense of pride as Jerusalemites.”