Bet Shemesh Weekly News



By Rabbi Dov Lipman

BUDGET READY FOR VOTE DESPITE SIGNIFICANT QUESTIONS AND CONTROVERSY

Mayor Abutbol is presenting the 2011 municipal budget to the city council for a vote this coming Wednesday evening at 6:00p.m.  It was not an easy process and there is still significant controversy surrounding the budget.  

Issues include:
  1. A line which reports income of 133,000 NIS with the headline "meat and fish."
  2. 200,000NIS for the "Foundation for City Success," a foundation with which city reps are not familiar.
  3. Projected income of 1.8 million NIS from parking tickets when in the first 9 months of 2010 there was only 400,000 NIS income from tickets.
  4. An increase from 100,000 NIS to 150,000 NIS for "Help for newborn mothers" when in 2010 only 13,000 NIS was actually spent for this cause.   
  5. 400,000 NIS to Yad Eliezer which is a national chesed organization and zero to Lemaan Achai, a local organization which was promised funding by the Mayor and was even part of the coalition agreement for Jacky Edri to enter the coalition.
  6. Reductions in funding for children at risk and special education.
The law requires that before the city council votes on the budget, that a discussion about the budget take place in the city's finance committee.  Councilman Shalom Lerner tried to have numerous points clarified at the finance committee meeting but was told that the meeting had to end because the committee chairman, Deputy Mayor Dovid Viner (Agudah), was making a bar mitzvah that evening.  This breach in the law was reported to the authorities on the national level.

Despite these and numerous other issues, the budget is expected to pass (especially if the five new members of the coalition have to support it).  A complete report regarding what transpired at the council vote will be presented next week.
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CORRUPTION FOUND IN THE PROCESS OF HIRING LOCAL FIREMEN

The chief of the Bet Shemesh Fire Department, Eli Peretz, sent a letter to the attorney for the Interior Department in which he alleges that Deputy Mayor Meir Balayish (pictured) made sure that family members and others close to him received jobs as local firemen despite their not being deserving or worthy of the job.  Ten people applied for 5 open positions at the beginning of the year and the 5 who were chosen all had close connection to Balayish who holds the portfolio which oversees the fire department.  Peretz wrote that Balayish has "interfered with my professional running of the station" and asks for intervention from the ministry "to make sure that politics don't mix with a service charged with saving lives."
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FIRE CHIEF SAVES HIS JOB IN COURT

The tensions between fire chief Peretz (pictured, left) and Deputy Mayor Meir Balayish led to a court case in Labor court where Peretz challenged Balayish's attempts to fire Peretz.  The court ruled in favor of Peretz saying that Balayish was trying to fire Peretz in order to hire a new chief at a much lower salary to enable Balayish to hire more firemen.  The court even ordered the fire department, which Balayish oversees, to pay Peretz 6,500 NIS for his attorney fees. 
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NEW 412 LINE TO TEL AVIV BEGINS ON SUNDAY

The new 412 line of Superbus to Tel Aviv begins to run on Sunday morning.  This bus line will begin in RBS, go through Bet Shemesh, travel on Route 1  making use of the express lane, stop at the La Guardia exit and continue to Arlozorov.   This express line could be a big help for those who usually take the train to work with the trains not in service this coming week.    
The bus begins in RBS at 6:30a.m., 7:00a.m., 7:30a.m., 8:15a.m., 9:00a.m., 9:55a.m., 11:10a.m., 12:10p.m., 1:00p.m., 2:00p.m., 3:00p.m., 4:00p.m. and 5:00p.m.
It leaves from the Arlozorov station in TA towards Bet Shemesh at 10:10a.m., 11:10a.m., 12:10p.m., 1:00p.m., 2:00p.m., 3:05p.m., 4:05p.m., 4:30p.m., 5:05p.m., 5:30p.m., 6:05p.m. and 7:05p.m.
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MK AKUNIS VISITS AND PLEDGES TO HELP THE CITY

Knesset member Ophir Akunis (Likud) visited Bet Shemesh and was stunned to hear the degree of the problems in the city.  Residents presented their problems ranging from lack of new construction for young, non-chareidi couples to the fact that the train station has no overhead cover to protect passengers from the rain along with many other issues.  Akunis, who is an up and coming star in the Likud and very close to the Prime Minister (he served as his parliamentary aide when Netanyahu was finance minister) pledged to do what he could to deal with the problems that were raised.  
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BLOOD DRIVE ON SUNDAY NIGHT

Please donate blood at the MADA blood drive this Sunday night, February 6 between 5:30p.m. and 10:30p.m. at Beit Knesset Feigenson in Nofei Aviv.  The drive is open to anyone 18 years old and up.  17 year olds can donate with parental permission.  If you need help with a ride to the blood drive please call Yossi at 052-763-7025.  Please make sure to bring your teudat zehut.
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SECURITY FENCE TO PROTECT THE MATEH YEHUDA/BET SHEMESH AREA UNDER DISCUSSION

Moshe Dadon, the head of the Mateh Yehuda region, appealed to Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beitienu) to work to complete the gaps in the security fence close to our region during a meeting at the Knesset.  Arabs from West Bank town have easy access to our city and the surrounding moshavim and this has led to hundreds of robberies and, we have now learned, even murders.  Aharonovich was already aware of the situation through the petitions from local residents which have been sent to this office.  (Thank you again to all of you who signed those petitions)  Dadon has also been working with Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilani to address the problem and begin work on this section of the fence.

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