The journey has been a long one. From the summer of 2014, with its mass, violent demonstrations and individual demonstrations of violence, in Zion Square, like we described in this blog post.
To the summer of 2016, with its mass demonstrations of support and dialogue, like we described in this blog post.
In March, we reported here that, as a result of these processes, of which we, and our partners in action including Speaking in the Square have been a part, the Jerusalem Municipality decided to refurbish and re-design Zion Square. And the criteria in the competition included design elements intended to increase dialogue and encourage tolerance.
Last week, the winners of the competition were announced! Here’s the way it’s supposed to look when it’s finished. The photo is from Ha’aretz.
You can read about the winners and the runners up in the Hebrew article in the Ha’aretz daily here.
Speaking in the Square, which we have been mentoring since its establishment in 2014 and which has had a major role in transforming the nature of Zion Square, responded with this post:
“This week we received the very good news about the new design for Zion Square. The understanding that Zion Square is part of the beating heart of Jerusalem and what happens there reflects and in many ways influences what goes on in the city (especially with regards to its youth), makes us very happy. Zion Square can be a center for hate, and in the last two years it has proven that it can also be a center for tolerance. In preparing for the design competition, the organizers asked us for our input – tolerance organizations and initiatives in the Square put together a position paper on the role of the Square and the desired use of public space. We are happy to see that the winning architectural plan indeed reflects the spirit of this paper. We believe that Zion Square, the city square, needs to be a place for sitting and for discussion, and not for violence. A place for human interaction and not for hostility, and the new design will indeed enable this. We wish the architects and the Jerusalem Municipality much success, and hope to see this project come to fruition as soon as possible.”
The original post in Hebrew:
Below is a second article from Ynet. May the new square continue to encourage tolerance and dialogue like its design.