On September 12th, in a media event, Google maps announced it was beginning to photograph Israeli streets towards inclusion in its global database. YWN-ISRAEL reported the project was already approved by the Justice Ministry amid concerns of some that it may portray Israel in a bad light.
The official launch in the capital was accompanied by a modest ceremony attended by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, held outside the walls of the Old City. Google officials announced that in stage one of the project; the Google photographer will focus on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and in time, it will expand its coverage in Israel.
The Street View vehicle visited Meah Shearim, followed by a security vehicle, apparently uncertain just how welcome the extremely visible Google vehicle would be in the chareidi area as is travels in an area that shuns cameras with its car armed with the advanced 360 degree camera mounted atop.
The Google vehicle did visit Meah Shearim and there were no reported incidents that required the intervention of the security team.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)