Bet Shemesh Weekly News






By Rabbi Dov Lipman


WILL MEI SHEMESH WATER COMPANY BECOME PART OF THE MUNICIPALITY?
The past year has seen major complaints regarding the new local water corporation, Mei Shemesh.  The transfer of the water authority to a private corporation led to an automatic increase in price with the VAT tax.  The Finance Ministry came to an agreement with the municipalities in the beginning of the week in which the new corporations will become departments of the municipalities and under the reigns of the mayors.  Bet Shemesh has had a different experience than other cities with better overall customer service since the new corporations began.  No formal announcement has been made regarding Mei Shemesh becoming part of the municipality as of yet.  When that time does come, local residents can only hope the service will remain the same with the shift back to the municipality and the elimination of the tax.
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CANDIDATES FOR NATIONAL LEADERSHIP TURN TO BET SHEMESH
Local Kadima and Labor members were visited by candidates for the leadership of their respective parties.  MK Shaul Mofaz, chairman of the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee visited approximately 50 local Kadima activists.  The official purpose of the meeting was to strategize about Kadima's involvement in local politics but the deeper agenda was for Mofaz to strengthen ties with local party members in anticipation of an election race for leadership of the party vs. Tzipi Livni.  The Labor party is in the midst of leadership elections and this past week Amir Peretz received the official support of the local Labor leadership.  Labor leaders cited the successes Peretz had in raising the minimum wage and pensions for every citizen as reasons for their support.  They also cited his initiative as Minister of Defense to launch the Iron Dome missile shield as proof of his effectiveness as a leader.
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HOLYLAND II RIGHT HERE IN BET SHEMESH? 
As has been reported over the last few months, thousands of Bet Shemesh residents wrote objections to the current plans for the construction of RBS Gimmel 2.  The law requires the regional committee for construction to invite all objectors to appear before the committee and argue their case.  An internal memo from a meeting of the committee reveals that they only plan to invite 40 people to appear before them on one day - June 23 from 9:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. in a small room in Bayit Vegan.  Activists have already challenged this in court with some local leaders calling this a scandal equal to the Holyland scandal in which thousands of objections were ignored and will be resulting in jail time for many people in the near future.  Local activists are considering turning to the police regarding the illegal actions of the regional committee.   (Important note: If you signed an objection and receive a letter or phone call inviting you to appear before the committee, please say that you hope to attend and then please contact me at ddlipman@gmail.com - Dov)
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TENUVA JOINS THE COURT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST BET SHEMESH
The court case against the Interior Ministry and Bet Shemesh received a boost this week when the Tnuva company joined the legal proceedings against the decision to annex 3 industrial areas from Mateh Yehuda to Bet Shemesh.  The move, which would bring an additional ten million NIS to Bet Shemesh in tax revenue will mean higher taxes for businesses in these industrial areas.  Tnuva personnel project that the shift will increase their annual arnona from 1 million NIS to 2.5 million NIS and they will not allow this increase to pass quietly.  There are rumors all around of negotiations between Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Mateh Yehuda Regional Council Head Moshe Dadon to come to a compromise.
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STATE COMPTROLLER ANNUAL REPORT INCLUDES BET SHEMESH MUNICIPALITY
The annual report released by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss includes problems within the Bet Shemesh municipality relating to the municipal workers.  Details of the criticism will be made public and for now municipal leaders are busy preparing their response to questions raised by Lindenstrauss.
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SCHOOL YEAR TO END WITHOUT CITY CHILDREN RECEIVING THEIR SHOTS

The school year is ending in three weeks and the statistics regarding students and medical treatment in Bet Shemesh are not looking good.  Only 73% of first graders have received their mandatory shots, 70% of second graders, and a mere 61% of 8th graders.  Approximately 50% of students from grades 1-9 have undergone mandatory hearing and vision tests.  The Health Ministry blames the company which won the tender for school medical services with these failures and a bill is making its way through the Knesset to remove this responsibility from private hands.   
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