Reuters reports the institution of a new contest by MIT University. Named “Just Jerusalem,” the global contest hopes to encourage the “world’s best minds … to redesign Jerusalem in a way that fosters peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” What exactly needs to be done in order for Jerusalem to become “just, peaceful, and sustainable” by the year 2050? Should Jerusalem be a “capital of both Israel and Palestine” or of just one state, however that may be defined?

These and other questions will be tackled by five winners who will each receive a $50,000 Fellowship at MIT. Each Fellowship will address a different category of effort needed to rebuild Jerusalem “from updating its physical buildings and other infrastructure to overhauling its economy, civil infrastructure and “symbolic infrastructure” รขโ‚ฌโ€œ and a fifth “floating” category.”

“There is a kind of nested set of conflicts that start at a small locality like Jerusalem and work up through the nation-state level of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict,” said Diane Davis, co-director of the project and associate dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning… The nine-member jury includes a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem and a Palestinian scholar… The contest is open to anyone and the deadline for submissions is Dec. 31… A winner will be announced the following March.

Want to find out more? Maybe enter the contest yourself? Then visit the contest Web site. Over at the Good Neighbours Blog, Ramzi, a blogger from the West Bank is trying to put together a team to enter the contest.

As a Jerusalem resident, I am flattered that a prestigious institution like MIT would care that much. Jerusalem is indeed possessed of a storied history and is often seen as being the nexus of the Israel/Palestine conflict. But really, in many ways it is also a kind of backwards, little town, where one can’t help but wonder how it is that it manages to survive, let alone maintain its viability or even prosper. That’s just crazy. The contest is bold, the city suffers from multiple personality disorder, and sometimes I just hate it.

But mostly, despite the mixed messages and confusion, I love it. Thanks MIT. I think…

Enjoy “As” by George Michael and Mary J. Blige. A cover of a Stevie Wonder love song, it’s funky and soulful but also has a sordid history. It wasn’t released in the US because Mary J. Blige’s record label (MCA) didn’t want her to be associated with George Michael who was “openly gay and often controversial.”


Enjoy the song. Hat tip to… well, you know.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I personally am offended that a group of American educated “scholars” will try to “solve” the problems of Jerusalem without understanding the mindsets of all the peoples that live here and cannot comprehend the small geographical area that makes up Jerusalem. Even the above average American has a concept of peace and boarders based on the 50 states of America and maybe even the boarders between the US, Canada & Mexico.

    Let the scholars of America solve their urban problems before they try to take a swing at us!!!