Bet Shemesh Weekly News

By Rabbi Dov Lipman


The Interior Ministry released a list of 30 municipalities which have been granted their request to increase arnona payments.  Bet Shemesh is on the list.  This means that someone in the municipality, presumably the Mayor, made this request.  There will no doubt be fireworks in the coming city council meetings regarding this issue if it is raised by the Mayor and the public will likely make its voice heard, as well, as it tries to convince its representatives to vote against a raise in arnona.  The raise in arnona would apply retroactively to 2010 should it ever be approved by a majority in the city council.  In response to numerous complaints from city residents within 24 hours of the announcement, city spokesman Motti Rosenzweig announced that Bet Shemesh would not be seeking a raise in arnona and citizens should not be worried about this.  


The municipality's transportation committee met this past week and made the following announcements:
 - New bus routes will be coming to the city shortly including the 419 to Jerusalem which will leave RBS A straight to 38 without going through the rest of Bet Shemesh and the 412 from RBS A to Tel Aviv (Azrielli and then Mercaz Sabidor) with the route first going through Bet Shemesh.
 - A new bike lane will be added to Nahar Yarden along the hill leading to the Bnei Beitcha. 

Israel recently acquired 12 new MRI machines and city councilman, Reuven Cohen (Shas) who holds the health portfolio, requested that one of those machines be brought to Bet Shemesh.  His request was denied, but the health ministry has agreed to send a portable MRI unit to Bet Shemesh once a month.  

A few weeks ago, a meeting was held between Mayor Abutbol, Deputy Mayor Meir Balayish who holds the portfolio for city cleanliness, city manager Motti Chuta, and other city leaders to discuss the frequency of trash collection.  They concluded that they want to reduce the number of garbage collection times every week and planned to start a trial month with every location having one less collection per week.  Reuven Cohen, city councilman with the health portfolio has challenged this decision and the city leadership has agreed to just a two week trial.  No date has been set for when this trial will take place

The city's religious council has announced that there will be subsidized bus service from Bet Shemesh straight to Kever Rochel in commemoration of her yarzheit this coming week.  Busses will leave Bet Shemesh on Monday at 6:00p.m. and 8:00p.m. and on Tuesday at 10:00a.m. and 2:00p.m.  Busses will leave from Shefa Shuk in RBS and the bus stop on Rashi across from Chazon Ish in Bet Shemesh.  They will remain at Kever Rochel for 2 hours.  The cost is just 10 NIS per person and you must register for seats by calling 991-1361 or 991-2867

Citizens' groups and local politicians are gearing up to battle against the plans for construction in RBS Gimmel 2.  This neighborhood has received approval from the regional council which now has to open themselves to objections from citizens.  Hundreds if not thousands of citizens plan to object to this construction on numerous grounds including the fact that this land had been designated as a national park and the fact that the access roads to Bet Shemesh are not equipped to handle thousands of new families.  (If you want to object to this new construction please contact me via e-mail and within a week or two I will send you information and Hebrew texts to help you make your voice be heard)

Many residents complained to the city leadership regarding the fact that many of the drivers are Arab.  The complaints included the fact that many play Arabic music on their buses and refuse to lower the music when asked by passengers and the harsh manner in which they interact with passengers, especially women.  Superbus management responded that they cannot hire drivers based on their religion as required by the law but they do make sure that all drivers are citizens of Israel and are tested for safe driving skills and proper behavior.  Superbus asks any city residents who have complaints about specific drivers to contact the company directly.
October 14-21 has been designated as a children's week at BIG shopping mall.  There will be activities geared for children in many of the stores and there will be sales on children's items including winter clothing and materials.  The fun continues with a circus which will be coming to BIG with 12 shows from Thursday October 28 through Motzei Shabbat November 6.  Entrance fees for the circus start as low as 39 NIS per person and tickets can be ordered by calling 052-262-3364 between 10:00a.m. and 8:00p.m.   
City residents have been noticing a significant increase in their water bills since the change has been made to the "Mei Shemesh" company.  It seems that many families are being taxed for extra water use when, in reality, based on the number of people in the family, they are entitled by law to the amount of water they are using.  Everyone is encouraged to go to the Mei Shemesh offices in the office building at BIG to go over your accounts and have the company make the proper adjustments.


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