Bet Shemesh Weekly News

By Rabbi Dov Lipman

The head of the police force for the Jerusalem region, Aharon Franco (pictured), visited Bet Shemesh last Sunday.  As part of the visit, police chief, Koby Cohen, presented the successes of the police force over the past year.  Chief Cohen reported a 60% reduction in instances of public disturbances, a 29% reduction in youth violence, and a 24% reduction in thefts related to cars and homes.  He did mention that this past august saw more youth violence than in August 2009 and that there has been a 15% rise in alcohol and drug episodes.  The chief also reported that Bet Shemesh has more police cars on patrol than most other stations in the country relative to its size including 12 cars out on patrol on Thursday nights when most youth crimes take place. 
Franco, who grew up in Bet Shemesh, reported a 45% reduction in crimes related to property in the Jerusalem region and a 27% reduction in car thefts specifically.  He explained that most of these crimes have typically been committed by Palestinians and that the security fence is the primary reason for this reduction.  He also explained that there are 8 kilometers where there is no fence or barrier and those 8 kilometers are in Mateh Yehuda between Tzur Hadasa and Nechusha, putting this region at greater risk but the army and police have more forces in this area to make up for this problem. 

Chief Cohen also announced that the Bet Shemesh station was ranked #1 among city's of its size in a poll commissioned by Israel Police regarding citizen satisfaction with police response to citizen complaints.  The poll too into account speed of police response to calls, professionalism of policemen, and  general care and concern for the citizens. 

The opposition members of the city council are continuing with their relentless pressure on the Mayor and City Hall.  Councilman Natan Sheetrit (Likud, pictured) wrote a letter to the city's legal department demanding that the school on lot 416 (the new school building right on Nachal yarden in RBS Bet) be vacated of students immediately since none of the necessary permits have been issued to allow students to study there including fire related permits and other things which relate to the safety of the students.  Councilman Shalom Lerner wrote a letter to the Misrad Hapnim demanding action in light of the many problems in the city management, especially with regard to construction and the caravans which are putting children into situations of danger.  The entire opposition signed a letter to the Minister of Misrad Hapnim Eli Yishai (Shas) asking him to step in a remove the city's control over construction in light of all the illegalities and irregularities which are taking place.  

Last Friday night, undercover police arrested four suspicion men in Ramat Bet Shemesh.  The men were dressed religiously but aroused suspicion when the policemen saw them light cigarettes.  When the police approached them they tried to get rid of items which could be used for breaking into homes.  They came from Bnei Brak by car and an indictment is expected this week.  Their apprehension surprised police who had thought that the recent burglaries were all Arabs.   

The school year began on Wednesday with two government ministers and local leaders involved with numerous ceremonies.  Science Minister Daniel Hershkovitz (HaBayit HaYehudi, pictured left) attended the opening of Amit Nachson and Minister Avishai Braverman attended the opening ceremonies at Amit Shachar.  MK Uri Maklev (Degel HaTorah) attended the opening of numerous chareidi schools.  In addition, every city council member was assigned a school to attend to formally open the school year.  

A private foundation has funds available to assist college students who live in Bet Shemesh.  Forms can be downloaded from or by calling Dr. Yosef Cohen at 054-841-9917 or Dror Mizrachi at 054-491-6237.  The last date for scholarship requests is September 16.   There are also city scholarship programs in return for volunteer walk in the city.  For more information please contact Suzi Biton at 990-9761/2. 

Many local residents noticed a huge plume of smoke coming from the asphalt company in Har Tuv this past week.  Former city councilman and environmental activist Eli Vanunu contacted the authorities immediately and the company owner was eventually reached.  The owner responded that the cloud would go away once three more trucks were loaded.  Vanunu was infuriated by the incident and registered a formal complaint with the police who will investigate. 

The Beit Shemesh Tennis Club is beginning its new season with programs for children ages 4-16 and courses and leagues for adults (including separate women's leagues).  The club offers private instruction, group classes, leagues, and competitions.  For information or to register please contact Efi at 057-729-1926.



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