Bet Shemesh Weekly News

By Rabbi Dov Lipman



POLICE SIGN DEAL TO BUILD ACADEMY IN BET SHEMESH
It is now official.  The Israel police force will build its new police academy in the western industrial zone of Bet Shemesh, across Route 38.  The complex will be built on 230 dunam and will include classroom buildings, housing for staff, athletic and training rooms, and more.  Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich declared at the signing ceremony that "This is a historic day, with 1.5 billion NIS from this ministry, around a tenth of its budget, going towards this important project."  Police Inspector General Dudi Cohen explained that this is part of a long term major overhaul of the Israeli police and will greatly improve the police force, consolidating 20 smaller academies throughout the country into one cohesive unit.  Mayor Abutbol announced his plans to work towards a new neighborhood to house members of the police force who will want to live close to the academy.  
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2013  ELECTION MANEUVERING BEGINS WITH LOCAL LABOR PARTY SPLIT
The municipal elections are 2 1/2 years away but preparations for the elections have already begun.  Two prominent members of the local Labor Party Aryeh Chiyon (a candidate for city council in the last elections) and Zachi Tzabari (branch secretary) announced that they are splitting away from branch head city councilman Richard Peres to form their own party called "Yeish Tikva."  They claim that Peres has not advanced any programs to help Old Bet Shemesh and the neighborhoods of the city's long time residents and founders.  The focus of their new party will be to "restore honor to Old Bet Shemesh" and keep all municipal jobs and contracts local.  They received the blessing for the move from national Labor party heads Amir Peretz, Eitan Cabel, and Effie Shtenzler.  This move is the beginning of what should be a significant amount of political maneuvering as city residents and leaders gear up for the critical elections in November 2013.
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NEW LOCAL MALL TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER
The mystery surrounding what is being built across from the city shuk (up the block from Ahavat Yisrael Banim) in Migdal Hamayim has been answered.  A 12,000 square meter indoor mall is being built and the owners expect construction to be completed within 10 months.  The mall will include eateries, an optical store, a sporting goods store, a hardware store, a furniture store, a toy store, and children's attractions.  There will also be an office component which will include medical offices, and high end offices. The site will include 550 parking spots. 
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AROMA BURGLARS APPREHENDED
Last Friday morning at 4:00a.m., the Moked Yigal alarm system received notice of activity in Aroma cafe in BIG.  Officers arrived on the scene two minutes later and found two burglars trying to rob store property.  The intruders tried to escape but were caught and brought to the local police station.
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PROFESSIONAL SURVEY TO DETERMINE CELL PHONE TOWER LOCATIONS
The municipal government has struggled to deal with resident complaints regarding cellular towers placed close to residential homes since technically no laws have been broken and no building permits are needed for them.  However, city councilman Mordechai Direnfeld (Agudah) who holds the environmental department portfolio has worked to bring the phone company representatives to discussions about the problem.  An agreement was reached that the city would  commission a professional survey to create a master plan for cell towers in the city.  Local activists hope that the plan will pave the way for controversial towers, like the one on the Park Center mall on Nachal Dolev, to be moved.
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WORK ON NEW BNEI BEITCHA PROJECT UNDER WAY
Preparation for construction on the city's newest Bnei Beitcha project is under way.  Forty two new luxury homes are being built on the corner of Levi Eshkol and Sinai (on the left side after passing the entrance to the city cemetery with Cheftziba on the right).  Construction of the three story homes, each on 330 square meters of land, will begin in 5 to 6 months and owners hope to move in within 2 years.
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CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING MUNICIPAL HIRE
Mayor Abutbol found himself in a difficult position this week when he had to choose between two people for the position of being in charge of city inventory.  Dovid Vaknin, an RBS resident and close confidant of Councilman Jacki Edry had been promised the position in return for Edry joining the Mayor's coalition.  However, Shas party activists have been pressuring the Mayor to fill new jobs with Shas members since, in their opinion, he has not hired enough Shas supporters for city jobs.  To make the situation even worse, two other people who actually had the credentials for the job applied for it.  In the end, Vaknin was given the job, enabling the Mayor to fulfill his promise to Edry.
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TOV PARTY TAKES MAYOR TO COURT
Eli Friedman, city council representative for the moderate chareidi TOV party, has filed a suit against Mayor Abutbol in court.  As was reported in the last weekly news, Friedman gave the Mayor an ultimatum to respond to his letter regarding the city continuing to advertise in chareidi newspapers which have essentially censored Friedman and his programs for city youth.  Abutbol has not yet responded to the letter so Friedman and his legal team have turned to the courts.  The suit is demanding a response of some kind from the Mayor
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EDUCATION MINISTRY ISSUES REPORT ABOUT BET SHEMESH
The Education Ministry completed a massive study of the education situation in Bet Shemesh and issued a comprehensive report about the city's needs - a project which cost 120,000 NIS from the ministry's budget.  The report concludes that the city is short 400 classrooms and permits currently exist for the construction of only 100 more.  They studied open lots for construction of new buildings but concluded that there is simply not enough space to meet the city's needs and are exploring adding additional floors to existing buildings, especially for high schools.  Some controversy arose regarding Old Bet Shemesh which was not included in the new plans suggested by the report since there is no lack of classroom space.  However, both secular and chareidi city councilmen stated that the old buildings in which many students study are simply not safe.  The ministry representatives responded that any buildings which are unsafe will be dealt with as part of the plan.  Deputy Mayor Shmulik Greenberg (Degel Hatorah) raised the issue of the 4,000 students from the more extreme chareidi groups who do not take government funding and, are therefore not included in the report despite their pressing needs.  It remains unlikely that the ministry will address their needs in this project.
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IMPORTANT KEREN YOSEF EVENT
Keren Yosef invites the community to a special evening in memory of its founder and inspiration Doris Mainzer z"l  - Motzei Shabbat March 5 at 8:30p.m. at Beit Midrash Torani Leumi (Rabbi David's shul) on the corner of Asher and Reuven.  The main event is a fascinating medical ethics presentation shiur by Rabbi Dr. Howard Apfel on the subject: "Limited Medical Resources - Who Has Priority ? A Halachic Approach."

Rabbi Dr. Apfel teaches at Yeshivat Torat Shraga in Jerusalem and is also Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Cardiology, at Columbia University Medical Center. He has taught bioethics courses at Yeshiva University, The Gruss Kollel in Jerusalem, and Landers College for Men and has taught Hilchot Shabbat as relates to physicians at the Yeshiva University Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The speech will be followed by the presentation of the new Keren Yosef / Ezrat Achim Bet Shemesh Ambulette.  Entrance is free
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4TH ANNUAL BET SHEMESH RUN/WALKATHON
The BS Running Club's 4th Annual Family Fun 5k Walk Or Run is taking place Friday, April 1st and unlike all the other races in the country this one is purely about raising funds and awareness for a local children's organization. This year the club is proud to be giving all the proceeds to The Benjamin Children's Library as it celebrates 20 years of service to the youth of Bet Shemesh.   All you need to do is go to this link: http://wizevents.com/register/register_begin.php?id=622 to registerOnce you sign up you will get an email confirmation with all the necessary information.
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LOCAL SPORTS SUCCESSES
*Congratulations to Montana Yom Tov, a 9th grader in Ulpanat Noga, who won the gold medal in the national championship on taekwondo.

*Congratulations to the following members of the Bet Shemesh Running Club for their successes in last week's competition near Chevron.
10K
Becca Burg - overall first and first 0-14 years old
Avital Kaszovitz - second 0-14 years old
Dena Denkberg - first 15-19 years old

5K
Tehilla Wolf - first girls 0-13 years old
Zehava Halberstadt - second girls 0-13 years old
Moshe Field - third boys 0-13 years old
Hillel Schenkolevsky - overall boys first and first 14-19 years old                 
Netania Krasna - second girls 14-19 years old
Gavriella Wolf - third 14-19 years old
Shoshana Halberstadt - second women 20-34 years old
Sue Rosenfeld - first women 35+
David Zuckerbrot - third men 40-45
Itzik Becker - Don't have the place or category

2K
Hodaya Wolf 1st place 3-6th grade
Ye'ira Stern 2nd place 3-6th grade
Avi Wolf youngest runner medallion
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DINNER FOR THE LOCAL YESHIVAT HESDER
Please save the date - Tuesday March 29th - for the annual dinner of the local Yeshivat Hesder.  The guest speaker will be Knesset Minister and member of the Prime Minister's septet of close advisors Benny Begin.  Invitations will be arriving next week.  The dinner will cost 120 NIS per person.  If you already know that you want to attend this important event, please e-mail me at ddlipman@gmail.com.
Even more importantly, the yeshiva needs help from community members to help with the dinner.  Please e-mail me at ddlipman@gmail.com if you can volunteer some of your time to help with the dinner and the yeshiva
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