Bet Shemesh Weekly News

By Rabbi Dov Lipman

The city council voted to move forward with a plan to transform the main entrance of the city near BIG to alleviate the constant congestion in the area.  The plan includes a gigantic traffic circle connecting a few streets and expanding the road to more lanes from the entrance past the turn off to Supersol Deal.  The estimated 20 million NIS for the project will be paid for by the city, the old BIG, the new BIG, and the builders of the new Shaar Haír housing project at that location.  Tenders for the project should begin within the coming months. 
The city council voted to appoint a committee to explore options for the location of the planned culture hall.  The location had always been set as the open land between Nachala Umenucha and Migdal HaMayim.  The Mayor has received pressure from Rabbanim to move the location and many in the opposition fear that the establishment of the committee is an effort to delay the entire project.  The committee includes Richard Peres (Labor), Meir Balayish (Dor Acher), Moshe Montag (Degel Hatorah), and Stella Walter (Mishpacha Achat, the Russian party).  The committee is working with a two month deadline to report back to the council.  It should be noted that the only opposition members to vote against the committee were Shalom Lerner and Motti Cohen.  Jacky Edri and the Russian representatives voted for the committee to be established and Natan Sheetrit (Likud), Irit Marciano (Likud), and Ilana Yarchi (Býachad) all left the meeting before the vote.  The Mayor actually created a link between the location of the Culture Hall and the new City Hall and the committee's task is to explore the best location for both.
Six local schools have been broken into over the weekends in the past month and the thieves have walked off with computers and money from all of them.  This past week, dati leumi girl high schools, Noga and Gila, were robbed as was Ko Tomar, a chareidi high school for girls.  These robberies come on the heels of similar incidents at Etrog, Shalev, and the Ahavat Yisrael high school for girls.  Police originally thought that the robberies were the work of local youth but are now leaning towards the reality that more professional thieves are involved.   
The eight members of the city council opposition are working together to stop further construction in RBS Gimmel.  All eight signed a letter to Interior Ministry officials declaring that they never received the protocol from the city council meeting about this new neighborhood.  According to the law, the planning cannot continue to the regional council if city council members did not receive the protocol.  In addition, the council members are joining with the citizen's groups who will be organizing a campaign for objection letters to be submitted to the regional council.  Please e-mail me if you would like to send an objection letter to this new neighborhood. 
The city held its official memorial ceremony for Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin at Branco Weiss High School.  1,000 students attended the program which included words of Torah from the city's chief Rabbi, Rav Biton, the recitation of Tehilim, and Yizkor among the speeches and songs.  The head of the Jerusalem region of the education ministry, Meir Shimoni, chose this ceremony as the one he would attend among all others in his large region.  Neither of the salaried deputy Mayors nor the head of the local religious council were in attendance, an occurrence which does not shed a positive light on our city. (Only one city council member other than the Mayor attended but it is worth nothing that they are not salaried and have to hold full time jobs)    
Richard Peres (Labor, pictured), the city councilman with the education portfolio, has made it clear that there will be a change in the leadership of the city's education department.  Klemo Buznach has held the position for many years and surprisingly lasted these past two years in the Abutbol administration.  Peres has wanted to make this change for some time and has finally convinced the Mayor to support this decision. 
A professional poll this week revealed that Bet Shemesh ranks 21st in the county among cities where people would want to live assuming that prices were equal.  The top 3 locations were Tel Aviv, Yerushalyim, and Haifa.  Bet Shemesh was between Kiryat Ono and Tiveria with 1.7% of the respondents saying they would want to live in our city. 


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