Friday, August 24, 2012

Kiryat Yovel and the "Mifletzet”©



By Vardah Littman

After the state of Israel was declared, the Jews in Arab lands had to flee for their lives. They came en-mass to the fledgling state into which they where absorbed. Just as an aside; today these Sephardie Jews are completely assimilated into the population, in contrast to the Palestinian refugees who where kept in their squalid state and refugee status on purpose, a festering wound to use politically against the Israel. 

A haven for these immigrants was established Kiryat Yovel in 1952. The neighborhood started out as a tent city and very quickly housing projects or “shikunim” started to mushroom out. The English enforced a rule that buildings in Jerusalem be faced with stone, but this restriction was waived, as there was such an urgent need to build housing in Kiryat Yovel. Since the year 1952 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Jewish National Fund, this new suburb was called “Jubilee Town” or Kiryat Yovel. 

The small green breathing space in the midst of this urban area on the corner of Henrietta Szold Street and Tahon (Thon) Street has amused and enthralled several generations of visiting children.

For the last forty years the "Mifletzet” has dominated this area. This miniature amusement park  at a crossroads in the center of the Kiryat Yoval neighborhood leading to the Hadassa Ein Kerem Hospital is a universally recognized Jerusalem city landmark.

Built in 1971 by French modern artist Niki de Saint Phalle, (who also designed some of the sculptures of garden/playground of the Biblical Zoo), the exciting and scary monster slide affords much pleasure to children. The artist originally named the metal and molded concrete monstrosity "Golem," but the general public's more descriptive nickname the "Mifletzet" was the name that stuck. The funds to create the Rabinovitch Park with the grotesque squatting sculpture were donated by a person with that name.

The enormous black, white, and red protuberance fascinates children who enter it eagerly and call it the Cow Slide. To get inside this colorful bizarre creation, they need to use a twisting set of stairs and climb to the top where they encounter three slides that are in fact the Monster’s long tongues and stretch out to the sand surrounding it down below.

To reach the Rabinovich park in Kiryat Yovel, take the light rail to Har Hertzl. From there, take the 20 or 27 bus a few stops to reach the Monster. If you take a taxi t is so well known that you only have to tell the driver that you want to visit "Mifletzet," and he'll know where to take you. 

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