This petition is now closed.
מעל 40 שנה שחוצות היוצר מאכלס אומנים שונים שנבחרו ליצור לרגלי העיר העתיקה. לאחרונה קיבלו כל האומנים מכתבי פינוי חד צדדיים בהם מודיעים להם חודש מראש כי עליהם לפנות את כל רכושם יצירותיהם ומפעל חייהם של 40 שנה בתוך חודש אחד. תינתן להם ערכה של עד 3 חודשים. הסיבה: רוצים לשנות את המקום ולהפכו לאיזור בסגנון שדרות אלרוב. ( כלכלי ובעל שכירות גבוה) חלק מהאומנים מעל גיל 80 ואין להם לאן להתפנות. יצירות של 40 שנה ללא מקום איכסון .לא הוצעה להם כל אלטרנטיבה. ליוצרים ולמקום יש שם עולמי אשר יהרס ברגע בגלל החלטה כלכלית גרידה.
Motke Blum was sitting in his small studio in Jerusalem's Hutzot Hayotzer Street about a month ago when the street was suddenly flooded with bodyguards, followed by former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Clinton surprised the 85-year-old Blum when he entered the picture-laden studio and asked to buy two works. "I gave him a good price," Blum laughed.
On Sunday, Blum got another, less pleasant surprise: a letter informing him that the contract for the studio he has rented for the past 40 years will be up on January 1, and he is required to leave it "vacant of any person or object."
"Why are they doing this to me?" he demanded agitatedly. "I never did anything bad to anyone. At that moment I asked the Creator to allow me to curse as I have not cursed for 40 years." Blum's wife and daughter tried to calm him down, but they were upset, too.
"You don't do something like this after 40 years," said his daughter, Anat. "He's a Holocaust survivor; something bad could happen to him."
All 27 artists on Hutzot Hayotzer ("Arts and Crafts Lane"), which is near Jaffa Gate, received identical letters. The letters came from the East Jerusalem Development Company, owned by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Tourism Ministry.
The company, which has managed the site since it was founded in 1969, said it has to renovate the area and has issued a tender for each of the studios.
The letters said that because of the tenants' "special situation," they can have another three months to organize for departure.
But the shocked artists, most of whom have been there for decades, are planning a public and legal battle against the demand to vacate the premises.
Most Jerusalemites know Hutzot Hayotzer for the annual crafts fair that takes over the lane and the surrounding area for 10 days or so each summer.
But the lane is open all year round, though it does not get many visitors - certainly not compared to the Old City markets or the new, adjacent Mamilla pedestrian mall, visited by thousands every day.
The idea of establishing an artists' quarter on the site - which was no-man's land when Jerusalem was divided - was raised by mayor Teddy Kollek shortly after the Six-Day War. Blum was the first artist to move into a studio on the street, along with weaver George Goldstein.
"This was to be a place where people could come and see artists at work, an invaluable place of culture," Goldstein said. "This is not a mall."
Strolling along, it is hard to understand how this lane, lined with small stone buildings climbing upward toward the Old City walls, did not become a touristic gem. Some of the workshops look more like storerooms, stuffed to the gills with works of art, while others are prestigious Judaica or jewelry shops.
Goldstein weaves his rugs on huge wooden looms that take up most of the space, and it is difficult to picture how and to where they will be moved. Most of the artists, especially the older ones, said that if they have to leave, they will abandon their art.
"This is the only thing there is," Judaica artist Zelig Segal said. "As is, it's hard for me because of my health. I'll have a problem continuing somewhere else."
Attorney Reuven Yehoshua, who is representing Segal against the East Jerusalem Development Company, said that "everyone should be outraged."
"This is an arbitrary decision that will destroy the last remnant of culture and art in Jerusalem," he said.
Even the artists agree the place needs sprucing up. Hardly a soul can be seen in the lane most of the day. The artists blame the development company for not advertising, and for poor parking and upkeep.
Still, some of the most interesting artists in the country work here. Segal is currently creating a monument for the Knesset square; Goldstein wove rugs for the President's Residence. Others are unknown outside of Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem Development Company CEO Gideon Shamir admitted that there is still no plan for the lane.
Rumor among the artists has it that it will be connected to a big park planned for the area.
"This is a wonderful place that is not living up to its potential," Shamir said. "The goal is to upgrade it from a touristic and economic perspective, to bring in more income than what it does now. The law requires a tender for each of the shops. The current tenants can submit a bid.
אני מצטרף לקריאה לשמירת המודל הקיים בחוצות היוצר והצלתם של האומנים ושמם. אני קורא לשר התרבות ומשרד התרבות והספורט להורות לעיריית ירושלים לשמור ולהגן על היוצרים הייחודיים ששמרו נאמנות לעיר במשך 40 שנה ולאסור את פינויים מחוצות היוצר. לקרוא למקום ולאומנים אתר תרבות לאומי.
אני קורה לעיריית ירושלים לדאוג לאומנים אלו ולא לזרוק אותם החוצה ללא מציאת פיתרון הולם לנושא
אני מכריז כי ללא אומנים אלו המהווים את העיקר שבקיום המקום לא אגיע יותר לחוצות היוצר ואחרים אותו. אפרסם את העוול שניגרם לאומנים ואוקיע אותו כמבקר וכממליץ.
I join the call to keep the artists in their studios, to declare the place a cultural national asset, to make the municipality take care of the place and the artists in it. We will not visit ever again if they take out the artists that are there. We are here to tell about the wrong doing of this world wide.
The הצילו את חוצות היוצר בירושלים petition to ministry of culture israel was written by Ofer Blum and is in the category Arts & Entertainment at GoPetition.