The Beverly Hills City Council has long made clear its support for Israel and its condemnation of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks. Starting in the new year, that message will be sent even louder through a massive display of Israeli flags in Beverly Gardens Park.
The art installation was proposed by the Israeli Consulate General and received the council’s wholehearted support during a special Dec. 5 Study Session.
During the session, council also approved its meeting calendar up to the March 5 elections, made several commission reappointments and gave the go-ahead to a traffic calming pilot program on Clifton Way.
The art installation will have approximately 1,400 flags with each representing the nationality of a victim of the Oct. 7 attack. While the majority of the flags will be Israeli, the installation will demonstrate that the attacks claimed the lives of people from several different countries.
The display was initially proposed to be located outside of City Hall, but the Consulate General expressed concerns about limited space and visibility and requested it instead be placed in Beverly Gardens Park surrounding the Peace and Love sculptures.
“I wholeheartedly agree that City Hall is not the right space for it,” said Councilmember Sharona Nazarian. “I think that what we want to do with this display is to have it serve as an impactful display that is going to send a very clear message.”
“Right now, with all the antisemitism that’s happening, I think that Beverly Hills really serves as a beacon of hope for a lot of Jews when they see that our community stands side-by-side and in solidarity with Israel.”
All council members agreed on the importance of the display, but also shared concerns about security and vandalism threats.
“I don’t want us to be reactive, I want us to be proactive and I want us to think about what potentially could happen and get ahead of it,” said Councilmember Lili Bosse. “If we’re going to do this, which I wholeheartedly with all of my soul support, I also feel it’s our responsibility to provide a safe way for people to use that space.”
Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said that the police department will dedicate extra resources to monitor the installation, such as drones and camera surveillance through its Real Time Watch Center. And while the department will try its hardest to prevent any incidents, officers are prepared to investigate cases of vandalism as hate crimes where appropriate, he added.
In the study session, council also gave its support to a proposed six-month traffic calming pilot program on Clifton Way between Robertson and La Cienega boulevards. This initiative has been in the works since 2021 and council is looking forward to installing the temporary calming measures to address long-standing concerns about speeding in the residential community.
“The goal is to try and make the residential quality of life one where people don’t use residential streets as cut throughs, so I wholeheartedly support this and I’m happy we’re doing it,” said Bosse.
After thoroughly studying the area and conducting multiple meetings and surveys with residents, staff settled on a series of traffic circles and curb extensions for the pilot program.
The traffic circles will be installed on Clifton Way at the intersections of Arnaz Drive and Le Doux Road—two heavily trafficked streets—to indicate to drivers that they are entering a residential neighborhood and to encourage slower vehicle speeds.
The curb extensions strategically narrow the width of the road at key intersections to slow traffic and promote pedestrian visibility. They will be located at the intersections of Hamel Drive, Willaman Drive, Carson Road and Stanley Drive.
Installation could begin as early as January 2024, and the program is intended to last six months, after which point residents, staff members, and Traffic Commissioners will help determine whether it should be made permanent or if any adjustments are needed.
“I think it’s a great idea because it gives us a test for treatments we can use for other parts of town and we should make residents who are concerned about traffic in other parts of town aware and say, ‘Hey come down and have a look’,” said Councilmember John Mirisch. “I’m completely supportive.”