The Value Of Public Spaces - Spontaneous Celebration!

In this video, a seemingly spontaneous celebration of Hanukkah erupts in a normally sedate Jerusalem public space as masses of people demonstrate their dancing skills to the initial bewilderment, then delight of onlookers.

Thanks to Peter Fleg

Full Story: Nefesh B'Nefesh Hanukkah Flash Mob



Israel as an example of good planning? Are you kidding?

Citing the apartheid state of Israel as an example of good planning is short-sighted, at best, and pure propaganda, at worst.

It is, after all, resource-scarce, drought-prone, car-dependent, import-heavy urban sprawl in the middle of a desert, dependent upon massive amounts of foreign aid and ringed by walls that are patrolled by military, paramilitary and police personnel to keep out "undesirables."

Such development is anathema to the very idea of good urban planning!

bizarre comment

Did I miss the part where Israel was held up as an example of good planning? I believe the post was about a spontaneous gathering in a public place.

We are told that this coverage of a Hanukkah-themed event may somehow constitute propaganda and yet the commenter begins by hurling the apartheid slur at the Jewish state and follows it up with a highly skewed and ideologically driven rant that has nothing to do with the posting. One wonders what factors truly motivate this hateful diatribe.

What slur?

It's not a slur to call Israel an apartheid state when it's true.

One last thing

Do you want good urban planning for all, or not?

non sequiter supreme

The relevance of this comment to the original posting which was about a spontaneous Hanukkah celebration in a public space escapes me. In any event, I have come across numerous examples of good urban planning during my travels in Israel which I have been sure to share with my colleagues upon returning home.

That slur!

Except that it isn't true and repeating it doesn't make it any more so.

Israel is a thriving democracy in a region more noted for its repressive regimes. Its declaration of independence specifically states that it will "ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex" and "guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture." It is true that Israel doesn't always fully live up to those ideals, but show me one other democracy that does.

Racial minorities who enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship include over one million Arabs and over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews. And while the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories poses difficult challenges for Israel, there is a near complete consensus across the political spectrum that it will end once the parties can come to a final agreement, most likely in the form of a two-state solution.

This is not what an apartheid looks like. Not by a long shot. Those who maintain that it is either have a sinister agenda to advance or are seriously ignorant.

Two states are separate and unequal

I'll concede that a one-state solution isn't on the table, but, as the Latino descendant of the Native Americans, whose people know a thing or two about these matters, I assure you that a two-state solution is every bit a form of apartheid and segregation as anything Manifest Destiny and the Old South here in America ever was.

Perhaps that's why the peace process is stalled. It depends too heavily on input from white, European, ultimately conservative Judeo-Christians and not enough on input from other races and faiths, leading to a feeling among Arabs and Muslims that they are being "ganged up on," two against one. Imagine, instead, if Latinos, Chinese, Africans, Hindus or Sikhs provided input. Barring that, imagine if Israel were expected to follow the model of the American South, whose desegregation efforts brought about much change in relations between blacks and whites and officially ended the Jim Crow era.

Until then, I don't expect peace to come to the region anytime soon.

As for good planning, if you can't grasp it's role---or lack thereof---in a situation like the one in Israel/Palestine, then you, like so many knee-jerk supporters of Israel, do not grasp the fundamentals of Western secular democracy and how it is supposed to shine a light for humanity to follow and transcend race, religion and nationality.


"as the Latino descendant of the Native Americans, whose people know a thing or two about these matters, I assure you..."


"you not grasp the fundamentals of Western secular democracy and how it is supposed to shine a light for humanity to follow and transcend race, religion and nationality."

There is no contradiction

While Native Americans and Latinos still deal with the effects of having lost our homelands, we continue to undergo various stages of assimiliation into the larger culture around us.

The same simply cannot be said for Israelis.

To add insult to injury, my people and many other minorities are being made to pay Israel's expenses.

Those who consider themselves critics of bad planning should be able to grasp the parallels.

Disconnected from Society?

Here's an article on the disconnect and dangers of walled-off communities, which I've pulled from right here at Planetizen, for context:
Disconnected from Society? Gated Communities: Their Lifestyle versus Urban Governance
Posted by: Alessandro Busà

Good planning

I'd like to see the principles of good planning put to work in Israel and Palestine, the better to bring about real and lasting peace between these two peoples.

First to go: the wall.

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