Construction Begins in Hebron’s Historic Hezekiah Neighborhood By Hana Levi Julian and Tel Aviv Central Bus Station Slated for Closure by Dec. 5 By Hana Levi Julian and The Big Apple Goes to the RatsBy Daniel Greenfield
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
On Earth Day, New York City's leftist environmentalists succeeded in pushing through a ban on rat poison. The ban on efforts to fight rat infestations in city parks was championed by The Black Institute, founded by former ACORN boss Bertha Lewis, claiming that rat poison was racist.
Now people are dying.
Over a dozen New Yorkers contracted leptospirosis and are suffering from liver and kidney failure. One of them is already dead. The symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, aches, and jaundice. Even those who survive can end up with brain damage.
In the last 14 years, there were only 57 cases in the Big Apple. Now there's 15 in one year.
While leptospirosis is common in the third world, it's rare in the United States and was mostly seen in rural areas among farmers who work with livestock. That's because leptospirosis is spread through contact with animal urine and we don't live in cities infested with vermin.
Or at least we didn't until the Democrats and their radical environmental lobby got its way.
The takeover of the Democrats by radical activists backed by billionaire leftist foundations means that major blue cities are now governed by every lunatic leftist idea under the sun from critical race theory to the denial of the existence of women to allowing the rats to thrive.
Baltimore, one of the few major cities with a leptospirosis outbreak back in the 90s, has a notorious rat problem, but despite that decided to ban some rat poisons. Democrats were outraged when President Trump condemned Charm City's rat problem when they should have been outraged that the city not only has a severe rat problem, but that they're making it worse.
California's Governor Newsom signed a rat poison ban last year even though the state's rat problem had already led to the spread of typhus, a medieval disease, through rats. Now Los Angeles vets are warning about the rise of the "rare" leptospirosis disease in local dogs.
Once the dogs pick it up, it's a lot easier for their owners to get it too.
The story notes that leptospirosis is a "bacterial disease associated with the waste from rats; it is usually seen in rural areas where rats are more abundant." But these days rats are running the show in Democrat cities which legalized homelessness and banned rat poison.
While many Democrat cities have a rat crisis, no city has gone as quickly to the rats as NYC.
New York City's rat complaint calls shot up from 16,000 to 29,000 in one month. COVID shutdowns killed the weakest rats but led to the rise of so-called "Mega Rats". Viral videos show rats the size of small dogs frolicking around apartment kitchens and biting small children.
And even climbing on a sleeping man on the subway.
The New York Post warned that, "rats as big as bunnies are roaming the streets in broad daylight, nesting in trees and chewing through car engine wires".
With rats overrunning New York City, the spread of rat urine also spreads leptospirosis.
While Democrats and environmentalists fight to ban modern century rat control technology, New Yorkers are returning to the dark ages and hunting rats with dogs. Amateur rat hunters like the Reynold's Ryders Alley Trencher Fed Society (RATS) use terriers to hunt down and kill rats in Manhattan. While the medieval approach has made for great publicity, using dogs to kill rats just leads to a greater risk of the dogs and potentially their owners contracting leptospirosis.
Chinese and Russian state media however enjoyed regaling their viewers with the spectacle of America's leading city overrun by rats and reduced to hunting them at night with dogs.
Environmentalism destroys societies and kills people.
Rachel Carson's crusade against insecticides may have led to millions dying of malaria. The green crusade against rat poison is beginning to claim lives in New York and Los Angeles. Modern sanitation helped stop the insects and rats that spread medieval plagues, but as environmentalists put bugs and rats ahead of people, the diseases are coming back.
Environmentalists claimed that they were banning rat poisons to protect dogs and minorities. But rat urine threatens dogs and the spread of leptospirosis is concentrated in minority areas where residents are being terrorized by the giant rats unleashed by their Democrat rulers.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray can't account where $850 million from her mental health program went, his administration cut millions from its rat control budget. His wife's staffers alone account for the $2 million cut from fighting rats. But there is more than one kind of rat and the two-legged kind of leftist Democrat is far worse than even the giant "mega rat".
After banning rat poison, Democrat city bosses have embraced the environmentalist strategy of controlling the rat population through "prevention". And in New York City and San Francisco that meant buying solar-powered trash cans. The cans, which cost $7,000 in New York City and $20,000 in San Francisco, won't solve anything in cities overrun with homeless vagrants.
Prevention strategies penalize homeowners and small businesses while leaving homeless encampments infested with colonies of rats intact. Spending thousands of dollars on solar-powered trash cans won't make a dent in New York City's 2 million rats.
If the Democrats want to have giant junkie tent cities covered in trash and human waste, they're going to have to aggressively fight rats instead of pretending that they can cut off their food supply rats with expensive trash cans. And if they want to ban rat poison and resort to prevention strategies, the first step is cleaning up the homeless tent cities and their waste.
But the Democrats want junkie tent cities and a ban on modern rat control methods. And so the "rare" diseases we used to associate with medieval times or the third world are no longer rare.
The first leptospirosis cluster in New York City claimed three victims in 2017. In 2021, it's already up to thirteen. Around 10% of the infected develop the serious version of the disease requiring hospitalization and around 10% of those die. That means over a hundred are infected. Worldwide annual death rates for the disease are in the tens of thousands indicating how high the potential for serious infections and deaths can be as our cities become third world hellholes.
But rats don't just carry leptospirosis.
A study of New York City's rats found that they carried a "a vast diversity of microbes that may affect human health" including "Seoul hantavirus, which causes Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever and kidney failure in humans", bacterial pathogens that can cause "life-threatening gastroenteritis", and two novel hepatotropic hepaciviruses which can infect humans with hepatitis.
Rats may "serve as mixing bowls", some researchers warned, "providing an environment in which pathogens may interact and even exchange genes". While Americans have sneered at Wuhan's bat soup, American cities are maintaining horrifying breeding grounds for disease.
While New Yorkers studiously wear face masks and show off vaccination tattoos, the next pandemic may be breeding in their parks, their sewers, their subways, and their kitchens.
Face masks don't stop rat urine.
Like Rachel Carson's malaria millions, the next pandemic may be due to the assiduous efforts of environmentalists to cripple our ability to fight disease. Democrats are unleashing a rat explosion in major cities and as the rat populations grow, more people sicken and die.
The "mixing bowls" of rat populations are breeding viruses that exchange genes and become deadlier. The rats will survive them, but humans may not. Today's pandemic came from China, the next one may come out of New York City or Los Angeles, not out of a lab, but a sewer.
The Jewish Community of Hebron this week celebrated the news that construction has begun in the historic Hezekiah (Hizkiyahu) quarter in the ancient city.
The new neighborhood will be called "Hezekiah Quarter – Nachalat Chabad" and is being built on Jewish-owned property that belonged to the original Hebron Jewish community.
When the Jews were driven from the city in the war of 1948, the Jordanian government used the property as a bus station and a school, determining it to be "abandoned property" under a protected tenancy agreement. That status was continued following the 1967 Six Day War, when the area was returned to Israeli jurisdiction, and local Arabs were allowed to continue leasing the property.
It was not until the 1980s, when the Israel Defense Forces seized the property for security reasons, albeit on the recognition of its Jewish-owned status, that the possibility of Jewish return to the land arose.
Unlike other areas of Israel, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria must also obtain military approval for any building or renovation projects. Approval was secured from the Defense Ministry's Civil Administration in 2018 for construction of 31 apartments and two kindergarten buildings on Shuhada Street.
It's the first time in 20 years that Hebron has seen new construction for Jews.
"Building in the City of the Patriarchs by the Israeli government is a Zionist, just, necessary and blessed step," the Jewish Community of Hebron said in a release in 2018.
"Upon receiving the building permit for the Hezekiah Quarter, we congratulate and thank the Prime Minister and all the ministers, Knesset members and public figures who worked with determination and dedication together with us to advance the building permit."
The Hebron Municipality on the Palestinian Authority-controlled side of the city is headed Mayor Tayseer Abu Sneinah, a convicted terrorist who participated in a 1980 attack that left six people dead and a dozen others with injuries. Sneinah was subsequently released in a prisoner swap deal and then rose to power through the ranks of the Palestinian Authority.
The Hezekiah neighborhood is located in the historic Jewish Quarter of the city, just outside what was once referred to as the "Jewish ghetto" by literature of 100 years ago. The main existing structure is Beit Romano, a large building which today houses the Shavei Hevron yeshiva, a flagship institution of religious Zionism and home to several hundred students from around the country.
The history of Beit Romano dates back to 1876 when Hayyim Yisrael Romano built a spacious residential building outside the Jewish Quarter, complete with a synagogue and study hall.
In this building, Rabbi Chaim Hizkiyahu Medini, who served as the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of the city, completed his monumental Talmudic encyclopedia 'Sde Hemed', and studied and taught Torah between the years 1901-1905. Rabbi Medini was laid to rest in the ancient Hebron cemetery.
The Turks used the building as a police station prior to World War I, after which (1917) it was converted by the British to their own police headquarters upon their defeat of the Ottomans and seizure of the land of Israel.
In 1912, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Schneersohn of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement, purchased the building along with the surrounding grounds and established the Torat Emet Yeshiva.
The original Ottoman land deeds (kushan) to the site are currently displayed in the building along with other legal documents and photos of the famous rabbis who lived and taught on site.
After the 1929 Hebron massacre, the bodies of the Jewish victims, all the wounded and the other few Jewish survivors were held at the site prior to their expulsion from the city.
In 1948, the Jordanian army captured Hebron and converted the building to be used as a school. A bus terminal was built next door.
When city finally returned to Jewish hands in the 1967 Six Day War, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson turned over all rights to previously held Chabad property to the nascent Jewish settlement, giving his blessing to the young families seeking to repopulate the neighborhoods.
Many in the Israeli government were less than eager, however, to open the floodgates to young enthusiastic Jewish idealists. Several properties were instead leased to the existing Arab tenants.
It was only after a stabbing terror attack in 1982 that the Israeli government finally returned the building to Jewish hands.
At that time, Beit Romano finally reverted to Jewish ownership and underwent renovation and expansion.
To accommodate the growing demand by young families, temporary caravan homes, similar to a trailer park, were established on the site, despite steep bureaucratic opposition.
Future development plans were drawn up for a seven-story building with 28 apartments including a nursery school, medical clinic, underground parking and open public space. Formal building permits were secured in 2018.
Today, Beit Romano is the home of Yeshivat Shavei Hebron and its 300 students. A recreation of Rabbi Medini's study and an exhibit of Chabad history in Hebron is on display.
Construction of the 31-unit building has finally begun, slowing easing the demand for Jewish housing and reclaiming the areas populated generations ago by Hebron's thriving Jewish community.
Tel Aviv Central Bus Station Slated for Closure by Dec. 5
The bus station in south Tel Aviv is slated for closure by December 5, if the owners of the property do not obtain permits and licenses from Fire and Rescue Services, and the Ministries of Health and Environmental Protection.
The facility must also meet current accessibility standards as well.
The closure decision comes after the Tel Aviv Local Affairs Court decided not to grant an extension to a 2016 closure order, because the owners had made no effort to obtain any of the needed permits.
All bus departures and arrivals were originally set to end by 2023, according to the original evacuation plan, after which the building was to be repurposed.
Nearly 400 privately-owned stores in the building allegedly contain flammable materials and have made no adequate arrangements for fire safety, the city and Fire and Rescue services said in a joint statement quoted by Ynet.
"The station is in legal proceedings in the absence of a license. In order to obtain said license, the holders must obtain a permit for a business license or a temporary permit from a number of parties: the Fire Authority, the Health Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry. It is also necessary to fulfill the requirements regarding accessibility in the building.
"Since the station's management has not acted to obtain all the necessary approvals required for the building, the municipality is required to close it in accordance with the court order," the statement said.
The municipality is required to close the building in accordance with the court order, but owners have until December 5 to file an appeal and/or obtain a license.
"I do not think it is appropriate to allow the property to continue operating without a license when the refusal of the Fire and Rescue Services is so resonant and substantial," Justice Benjamin Hirschel-Doron wrote in his decision, adding that the risks posed by the lack of a license outweigh the damage to business owners in the building.
Passage to the public transportation area of the station is solely through the commercial section.
Attorney Tzvi Shuv is representing the private store owners in the building. "This is another result of the deliberate neglect. . . which leads to more and more store owners being forced to sell their rights until it is completely taken over by the station's parent company, 'Natsava,'" he said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, the Tel Aviv Municipality is one of the factors that neglect the station," he added. "The municipality should have promoted proper planning and licensing for the station decades ago, in which hundreds of thousands of square meters are built without a permit and without a plan."