Bet Shemesh Weekly News

By Rabbi Dov Lipman


REPORT ON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
The city council met on Sunday evening.  The following is a review of what transpired at the meeting:

*The council approved the half year budget report.  City treasurer, Aryeh Bardugo, reported a deficit of 2.5 million NIS which he attributed to expenses related to purchasing water from the new water company.  Bardugo then said that the third quarter report would be released soon which will include the national government providing 17 million NIS to make up for the budget shortfalls.  Opposition members were quick to point out that this means the deficit had really reached 20 million NIS while coalition members responded with praise for the Mayor's ability to get makeup funds from the government.

*The council approved 18 million NIS of government funds to improve the city's older neighborhoods.  There was some controversy regarding how the funds would be used and the fact that the residents have not been consulted regarding how to best use the funds.  During the discussion, a youth entered the room and began berating councilman Motti Cohen.  He got close to physical contact with Cohen and had to be physically removed from the room all the while screaming to the Mayor, "I'm sorry Moshe, I had to do this to protect your honor!"

Over 100 residents of Old Bet Shemesh gathered outside City Hall during the meeting to protest the fact that they are not being consulted over how this money should be spent.  They want the money to go towards basic infrastructure problems such as their broken sewage pipes but the city is directing it more towards pathways and more external improvements.
*The Mayor delegated the Computer and Information portfolio to Deputy Mayor Meir Balayish.

*The Mayor gave a brief report about his trip to Italy where he met with members of the Jewish community and encouraged them to make aliyah and live in Bet Shemesh.
*The Mayor condemned any acts of violence, especially from city workers in the wake of allegations of a city worker having punched a citizen in the face last week
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FREE MORTGAGE ADVICE FOR YOUNG COUPLES.
Bet Shemesh has been chosen as one of 20 cities to receive a full time mortgage counselor who will provide advice free of charge.  This service, provided by the national government, is a project of MK Gila Gamliel (Likud), serves as Deputy Minister for youth, student, and women's affairs.  Local resident and Likud activist Keti Sheetrit is credited with working with Gamilel to bring this service to Bet Shemesh.


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DELEGATION HEADS TO COCOA, FLORIDA
A delegation of Bet Shemesh residents and youth has departed for sister city Cocoa, Florida.  The trip includes a 5 day cruise together with 150 Cocoa residents.  The Bet Shemesh group will light Chanuka candles for all 6,000 cruise passengers followed by a performance on the ship by local choir "Bein Hashmashot."  The choir will also perform at the Cocoa Music Hall, at a NASA memorial for the Columbia astronauts including Ilan Ramon and in a special show for the Jewish community of Orlando
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 REBELLION IN SHAS ON A LOCAL LEVEL?
A local Rav from the Shas movement has made public that he has organized a group to try to take away the local leadership in Shas from Mayor Moshe Abutobol.  The group feels that Abutbol has strayed from the core values and principles of the party and that he is not taking care of the Sephardim who put him into power.  He said that the situation is so bad that there is a risk of their being two Shas movements in Bet Shemesh, similar to the situation in Beit Sheán where Shas split with one group receiving 2 mandates and the other 1 mandate in the last elections.

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 STATE COMPTROLLER INVESTIGATING BET SHEMESH
State comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss (pictured), is clearly interested in the problems within City Hall.  Staff members of his office arrived at City Hall where they demanded to see certain documents and downloaded huge amounts of information from computers.  Officials have indicated that they are investigating issues related to manpower and hirings but they emphasized that no issue is off limits and encouraged residents to write to the comptroller's office with any issues and problems they have had with the local government.  Complaints can be registered at the following site: http://www.mevaker.gov.il/serve/site/english/eombudsman_frame.asp 
and all residents who want to complain should follow the advice of this official and do so, especially since Bet Shemesh is now the subject of an investigation
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 PETITION AGAINST POLICE REACHES OVER 1,000 SIGNATURES
The petition demanding that the national government supply the local police station with more officers and patrol cars has reached over 1,000 signatures.  If you have not  yet signed the petition please do so (preferably in Hebrew letters) at http://www.atzuma.co.il/betshemeshpolice.

Please also encourage neighbors and friends to sign the petition.

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 62.1% SERVE IN THE IDF
Bet Shemesh residents were stunned to learn that, according to a recent report, only 62.1% of eligible young men in the city actually serve in the IDF.  This places the city in 60th place among the country's cities, followed by Rahat, Netivot, Yerushalayim (41.8%), Elád, Beitar Ilit and Bnei Brak (11.5%).




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HOME GARDENING AND COMPOST WORKSHOP
Matnas Meyerhoff will be holding a workshop to teach residents about compost and other home gardening tips on Sunday between 7:00p.m. and 9:00p.m.  For more information, please contact Renee Halpert at 052-350-6592 or reneeh@netvision.net.il.

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BET SHEMESH EVENTS FOR CHANUKAH
There are a wide range of events happening in the city throughout Chanukah.  Here are some highlights: 

Thursday December 2 - A chanukah festival at the Sheinfeld shopping center beginning at 4:00p.m. including a magic show, raffles and other surprises including free sufganiyot and drinks for all children.

Thursday December 2 - A Chanukah party for women with singer Miri Or, at Matnas Zinman beginning at 8:30p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 057-318-9949.

Motzei Shabbat December 4 (Day 4) - A movie called "Pages in the Wind" FOR WOMEN ONLY at 8:00p.m. at Matnas Zinman.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 057-318-9949.

Sunday December 5th (Day 5) Lema'an Achai's Chanukah Party, Ulam Sport RBS.
Featuring Choir, Entertainment, and Drawing for Lema'an Achai's Grand Sweepstakes. Raffle tickets can be bought on-line at 180 NIS/50 USD per ticket. Click Here!


Monday December 6 - A play called "Ima, do you see me?" performed by Ariella Savir, a blind singer and actress, together with her daughters.  The play is geared to children ages 5-12 and begins at 10:30a.m. at Matnas Zinman in the center of Old Bet Shemesh.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 057-318-9949.

Monday December 6 - A sound and light show on big screen for the entire family called "The Trap" (seems a bit on the scary side to me - DL) at 8:00p.m. at Matnas Zinman in the center of Old BS.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 057-318-9949.

Wednesday December 8 - The movie, "The strength of a child Maccabi" on big screen at the Ulam Sport in RBS.  Men's showing - 12:00p.m., Women's showing - 1:30p.m.

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