Bet Shemesh Weekly News

By Rabbi Dov Lipman

Last Saturday night, residents of RBS Bet saw two suspicious Arabs enter one of the buildings of the construction site in Kiryat Belz, right in the beginning of RBS Bet.  They alerted police who immediately suspected that they could have been involved in the horrible murder of the US citizen in the woods near Bet Shemesh.  On Sunday afternoon, plain clothed police raided the site and ended up arresting two suspects in the murder.  The police have not released any further information.  (DL - Once the police release all the information, I will be organizing a mass public outcry regarding the illegal workers throughout the city, and especially those who linger at the entrance to RBS Bet and in other locations throughout the day.  I will send out all the information once our mode of action is finalized.) 


The city has hired Shlomi Revivo to direct a local program focused on preventative measures to keep city youth away from alcohol and drug use.  Shlomi will be running numerous programs and will be speaking at all local schools.  The kickoff event for this new program was held this week with a presentation from Tamir Lion, recognized nationally for his work on preventing these abuses.  He highlighted a few things which parents must do to insure that their children never lapse into a mode where they feel a need to turn to these destructive behaviors:
1)Children cannot have any "screens" in their bedrooms - no computer, television, x box type game unit, or video ipod.

2)When parents are spending time with children, they should show the children that they are turning off the cell phone.  Answering the phone and telling the caller that you are busy spending time with your child already makes the child feel unimportant.
3)Families should sit together and just talk without food or games for 30 minutes each week.  At first the children feel awkward about it but, after a while, they start asking for it.
4)Don't make frequent calls or write constant sms messages to your children who have cell phones to make sure they are ok.  They have to learn that they are ok and can be trusted and independent.
5)Children need to learn to read quietly in their down time and they will likely only do so if they see their parents reading.
6)Until the age of 18, children need from 8-12 hours of sleep and should be eating a healthy diet with a really good meal to start their days and not too much sugar anytime.

The national fire chief, Shimon Romach, joined mayor Abutbol and the council heads of Mateh Yehuda and Mevaseret Tzion this past week in a ceremony thanking volunteers of the Bet Shemesh Fire department for their work in the North during the Carmel fire.  Deputy Mayor, Meir Balayish (Dor Acher) presented the chief with a plaque thanking him for the help he has provided to the local station. 

Local residents continue to be fined very high amounts for illegal construction and additions.  One family was fined 120,000 NIS for constructing on top of the roof of the building.  The man claims that people told him that the permits would be taken care of, but, as it turns out, no one ever issued the permits.  The courts fined two other families 50,000 NIS for construction on their roofs.  Amazingly, with all the violations being uncovered, illegal activities on a municipal level may be continuing.  City councilman Natan Sheetrit (Likud) has charged that councilman Moshe Montag (Degel Hatorah) who holds the construction portfolio is trying to find ways to enable people to add floors to their buildings as well as granting permits when they should not be granted.  Sheetrit sent copies of these charges to the State Comptroller and the Interior Ministry. 

The transportation ministry and the Bet Shemesh municipality are embarking on a major project to improve traffic in the city.  As a first step, a city wide poll will begin this week.  Residents will be called and asked questions regarding how often you use public transportation, where you generally travel to, what modes of transportation you use, etc.  The municipality asks that residents please give pollsters the time to do their jobs properly so they can have the information needed to improve the quality of our transportation. 

The city will be producing "resident cards" as part of its celebration of 60 years of Bet Shemesh.  These cards will enable residents to benefit from reduced prices in 60 local stores during the month of January.  Local businesses who want to apply to be one of the 60 stores chosen for this program should call 077-350-6161.  Residents should be on the lookout for information regarding how to receive these cards and where they can be used. 


A new local program will come into fruition this Sunday night when 120 local college students will receive grants from 5,000-8,000 NIS.  The students have committed to volunteer in the city's schools in various capacities throughout the year in return for the grants.  City councilman Richard Peres (Labor) arranged for this program in the 2010 budget and has announced that the program will be included in the 2011 budget, hopefully with increases in the amounts of money and students involved. 

This week's city council meeting began with the possibility of not erupting into the usual pandemonium but it quickly deteriorated.  The Mayor opened the meeting by quoting from a report in Haaretz and "themarker" that Bet Shemesh is one of three cities in Israel "on the rise."  This led to great cynism from the opposition members leading councilman Moshe Montag (Degel HaTorah) to scream out to a secular council member, "See, even in the Demarker they see that we (the chareidim) are eating you up."  After things calmed down, the Mayor proudly announced that the Culture Hall will be built on its planned location and, while opposition members pointed out that there was no need for any drama or committees which the Mayor created, everyone praised the project in unison.  Councilman Richard Peres (Labor) announced that the project should reach its completion within 20 months from the start of construction which should be in the coming months.  It was also announced that the new City Hall complex will be built in Old Bet Shemesh next to the Sheiber gym where there are currently numerous city offices.   This will be voted on formally in the next council meeting.   The rest of the meeting included nothing of major significance but still managed to erupt into shouting matches between coalition and opposition members and even some jabs between coalition members.  At one point, a person who was watching the meeting outside of city hall (meetings are broadcast on a screen outside the building) actually came into the room and asked, "Do you know that you look like a bunch of clowns out there and people are watching?"  If anyone wants to know when a council meeting is taking place, please e-mail me and I will inform you when the next one is scheduled.   



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