The Big Felafel


A Post to Jerusalem’s Mayor Barkat: Did Your Landlord Raise the Rent Too?

apartment-drawingThis is an open letter to Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, the city council and young frustrated Jerusalem citizens who have waited for change long enough.

Dear Mayor Barkat,
What’s up? I’m sure you’re busy, but this is an urgent matter which affects the young population of Jerusalem. Six months ago you were elected into office promising great change for the city. But when it comes to your commitment to the young people of Jerusalem and the disastrous housing problem, you have yet to make a dent, submit a proposal or take action on the matter.

Once again, I know you are the mayor and dealing with a full plate, but I can’t help but feel neglected. And I am not alone. I also point my neglected finger at the party Hitorerut-Yerushalmim (Wake up-Jerusalem) that also made unfulfilled promises to young voters.

Although the economic situation is running on an empty tank of gas, landlords across Jerusalem continue to raise the price of rent. Almost every person I know has been informed by their landlord that their rent will be going up at least 10%. So, while your apartment ages and becomes more rundown you find yourself paying more to live there. Fair? No. Is our city council and mayor aware of the situation? Yes.

Mayor Barkat today is the day to make change. Why are there no proper consumer rights organizations to protect you from corrupt landlords? Why is their no proposition making its way to the Knesset floor demanding rent control? The stories I have heard from rent raising to threats of being kicked out, are endless yet there seems to be no beginning to your fight against this fraud.

There was so much talk about affordable housing before election day but come the day after and the day after that, I have yet to hear another word about it. While Israel and the international community debate about construction in settlements and outposts, no judgment is made on the housing catastrophe in the country’s capital.

Is asking for rent control such a far fetched concept? Isn’t it you who wants and needs people to stay put in your city? Students and young families belong in the heart of the country and are the key to the revitalization of this city, but you have yet to try to open the locked — bolted — doors. Soon the only doors left will be those of vacant apartments where the rent became more than a couple could budget, or a landlord that yelled at his tenants too many times or simply homes that are unsuitable to live in — leaving the young to move out of the city and out of their dreams.

Do not become like all the other politicians, representing their interests before concerning themselves with their citizens’ fears. Give the next generation what they rightly deserve, a home for the future at a reasonable price.

Yours truly,
Molly, a concerned young citizen of Jerusalem


I Got My Hands All Over Israel’s Ethiopian Food!

I love eating with my hands. There’s no middleman fork or spoon in between my taste buds and the actual taste. My favorite food to stuff my face with is Ethiopian. And while this country may lack in Mexican food (my familiar angry rant) it almost makes up for it with Ethiopian food.

When it comes to Ethiopian restaurants you need to seek them out, they don’t find you. They’re hidden all over Jerusalem and I assume they take a similar pattern in other cities. They’re small and everyone is really friendly. Until you go to a place at least three or four times, you feel like you are actually walking into someone’s kitchen. In fact one place I went to was basically a home and when we walked in I felt like I had just become the uninvited guest that they always have an extra plate for, just in case.

I have found one restaurant where I go on a regular basis. Don’t ask me the name, because I am not sure if it even has one. But what’s in a name after all? The food is amazing and I’ll tell you how to get there. And then someone will read this and tell me the name and I’ll appreciate it but forget it and still refer to it as my yummy Ethiopian restaurant (thank you in advance).

food11How do you get to this hole in the wall? Get to King George and Agripas (the Felafel King place is right next to the light at the intersection). Walk up the hill keeping on the right hand side. There will be a few narrow alley entrances. Go down one of them and the Ethiopian restaurant will be on your left hand side with green doors and an Ethiopian flag. Which alley way? Now, why would I spoil all the fun of telling you exactly where it is? I want you to find it on your own. It’s a part of the experience!

Once you get there, you might get funny stares (the whole kitchen-uninvited-guess-thing) but they will warm up to you right away. Ask for a menu and take a seat. The menus are in Amharic (Semitic Ethiopian language), Hebrew and now in English-they know we are coming!

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Me eating my yummy Ethiopian food

If it’s your first time eating this food, I would start with the basics and order injera (a large sourdough flatbread about 50cm or 20in in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour) with different types of salads and dips added right on top of it. This is the part where you use your hands. Just tear in and start dipping. Don’t question what’s on your plate just eat the colorful variety of veggies and beans and hope your stomach agrees with your choices.

Ali takes a chance of coffee

Ali takes a chance on coffee

After your first tasting, you may want to venture out, but to tell you the truth I have remained a fan of the veggie option which seems to have new salads and dips every time I go there. Ethiopian food is healthy (probably) and decently priced (I think it was in the NIS 30-40 range the last time I was there). Add a strong coffee at the end of the meal to get the full effect.  You don’t have to drink the coffee with your hands!

Here’s a list of other restaurants that Becca- my skinny co-blogger and friend- found online. And a voucher from Ethio-Israel Restaurant (I found that because I am cheap). Any additions would be great!

Shegar
Opening hours: 9:00 to 23:00
Address: Agripas St. 10, City Center, Jerusalem
Not Kosher

Ethio-Israel
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00
Address: Elyashar St. 5, City Center, Jerusalem
Phone: 02.622.3992
Kosher
Eluna voucher

Ansara
Address: 17 Jaffa Rd., City Center, Jerusalem
Phone: 054.698.6664
Not Kosher

More in Tel Aviv: A list of Ethiopian Restaurants



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