Monday, May 3, 2010

Towers on a Hill

We've got a major corruption story on our hands these past few weeks. If you believe the spin, a former prime minster, two former mayors of Jerusalem, lots of important civil servants and a gaggle of lawyers and investors will all eventually go to jail.

Earlier this afternoon I had a chat with one of our very top journalists. I won't name him, but he would be at or near the top of the list of any informed Israeli asked to name our important journalists (so: it's not Gideon Levy). I was asking him about the story, which has been rumbling along for a month or so, and he commented - correctly, but a bit surprisingly - that 100% of what we're getting these days is slanted information crafted by folks who may or may not know what they're talking about, but are primarily committed to getting their version out to the public, irrespective of its accuracy.

So that's comforting to know. Sounds like most of the news-cycle the world over.

The other day The Economist reported on the story. I read the Guardian to follow the themes of current antisemitism. The Economist, however, I read - a bit warily - in the hope of hearing what goes on in the world. So what, I ask myself, am I to make of this?
THE distinctiveness of Israel’s latest corruption scandal is that it almost literally hits you in the eye. Many Jerusalemites feel affronted each time they look up at the Holyland Project, a string of four high-rise buildings tearing through the skyline on the western hilltops edging the city. Five more towers are to rise up under plans inexplicably approved by the municipal and district authorities.
Here, have a look (source):
Does that look like four towers? I think it looks like eight, but maybe that's just me. For the life of me I can't see how it can be construed as four. Another four are planned, making a total of twelve (12).

How to explain the report of the Economist? I admit, it's not that crucial - but nor is it hard to get the true number. There are complex stories in the world, one or two even here in Jerusalem. But this is not one of them.


Anonymous said...

I would assume that during a construction of this magnitude corruption inevitably happens and so probably everybody is digging like mad hoping to be the one who can implicate the most prominent name.


PS: when I read this piece last night I realized that in journalism we will most likely enter a period where a lot will be willing to write and say anything as long as it pays the rent.

Anonymous said...

The similarities are different

Malcolm said...

Looks like reality jumped the shark.

Victor said...

The buildings actually look fine up close, though the chainmail links are very strange. They'd be perfectly suitable for Netanya, but sitting on top of a hill, it's like a concrete fortress.

They need to offer a challenge to the world's designers to figure out how to fix this eyesore - the HolyLand Design Challenge.

Barry Meislin said...

Dynamite, for starters.

Monstrosities like that should never be allowed to leave the drafting table/computer screen.

And if they do, somehow, get off the drafting table, they should never be built on hilltops.

But there's an epidemic of this kind of stuff in this foolish country, each city trying to outdo the next, it seems, with state of the art eye-sores.

Anonymous said...

actually the longer I look at them the more they remind me of Sanaa and isn't that a world heritage site or some such thing? (but how the tall one fits into that idea eludes me)

(of course with my lack of orientation sense I'd probably go mad trying to re-find my place after each sortie)

Jon said...

Every time I saw those last year, I got annoyed. But they did help me reorient myself if I got lost.