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Sep 22, 2011

Mayor Of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol Complains About MK Danny Danon

Last week, the Knesset Committee of Absorption held a special meeting in Bet Shemesh led by MK Danny Danon to deal with some problems seemingly unique to Bet Shemesh considering its high potential for continued growth and aliyah expansion, and considering its past a prime location and target city for new olim. The committee dealt largely with the seemingly limited growth that is being directed specifically toward haredim rather than for the general public in addition to the haredi community.

Abutbol and Danon at the meeting last week
Of course, the haredi press always see such statements as anti-haredi, claiming they are trying to stop haredim from building and buying, even though that is not the case. I did not see a single statement making that point. Rather, the idea was stressed that building for haredim is great, but it has to also include building for the general public. However, the only way to fight that is to make yourself into the victim of bias, so they turn on such thigns and say "so-and-so is anti-haredi", "the meeting took an anti-haredi agenda", etc.

Regardless of that point, Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol released a statement to the press that they will be filing a complaint with the Speaker of the Knesset and other relevant bodies regarding the inappropriate tone of the meeting, and the diverting of a meeting about absorption to a political agenda regarding internal affairs of the city unconnected to the issue at the core of the meeting.

Personally, I have heard both sides of the perspective, from people who were there and from both side's press reports. It is actually quite fascinating how both sides can tell the same story, relating what happened at the meeting, in completely opposite directions. Who is right? What really happened? It probably does not matter.

Either way, Abubtol says in the press release:
The committee for absorption is meant to deal with absorption of olim and not try to advance the polarization of the city residents. Bet Shemesh specifically is a preferred target for olim from countries all around the world, and thousands of families from the haredi and dati leumi sectors who have made aliyah from the diaspora live here, so the committee should have blessed Bet Shemesh for doing its part in absorption of olim. Instead of doing so, the director dragged the committee to dishonorable places, damaging the work of the committee and its objectives, and turning its table into a circus of desperate askanim.
Abubtol said, "MK Danon appeared as though he was coming to Bet Shemesh to deal with the true problems of absorption, we thought we have a partner in advancing projects that are important to the city regarding absorption. Surprisingly, we were mistaken and his goals were different, and instead of the committee dealing with the issues in its realm it entered areas where it does not belong. The issue of the relations between haredim and secular in bet Shemesh is an important issue, and as mayor I represent everyone honorably, but these issues have their table, and there are also branches of the various political parties that would agree to host him to discuss those issues, but with all due respect this has nothing to do with the committee for aliyah and absorption. It turned itself into the committee for absorption of incitement. 
We will complain to the director of the Knesset and other relevant bodies regarding the activities by MK Danon that were against all the rules of ethics by cynically taking advantage in a shameful way of a very important committee of the Knesset.
If I understood correctly, the point of the meeting was how building specifically for haredim, and letting the friction between communities grow, is harming the continuation of aliyah to the city. It was not anti-haredi in nature (though some will say that was the underlying drive behind it and the ultimate goal was to stop haredim completely, as if that is even possible at this point), but was dealing with how the haredi issues are affecting local absorption. But, again, as I said above, the only way to fight that is to make yourself a victim of discrimination and make it an anti-haredi issue.

5 comments:

  1. Absorption? Olim? Try this on: there are a number of people making aliyah who wouldn't go to Ramat Beit Shemesh if it were the last place they could buy a home. The reason is the manner in which haredim moved in, took over, and trample on anyone who lives a little differently than they. The social matrix in Beit Shemesh is indeed relevant to aliyah and absorption in the city. If people perceive the social reality there as ugly, they won't want to move there. Pretty simple, really.

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  2. Rafi -

    Even being from Chicago, and everything that entails when it comes to politicians, I find it almost too hard to believe that your mayor is this much of a moron, at least publicly.

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  3. "as mayor I represent everyone honorably"

    What a freakin' lie!!!!

    A mayor with the teeniest, tiniest modicum of integrity would have gotten his ass over to Orot day one to talk to those girls who were being terrorized.

    What a jackass.

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  4. "and thousands of families from the haredi and dati leumi sectors who have made aliyah from the diaspora live here, so the committee should have blessed Bet Shemesh for doing its part in absorption of olim..."

    The mayor's statement puts aliyah in past tense - crediting previous administrations not his own. Sounds like he's trying to say BS has enough olim.

    Is he suggesting the welcome for those who join the haredi sector is the same as those who join the dati leumi? Or maybe that they are equally welcome to participate in, um, activities throughout the city - each in their own special way.

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  5. Mordechai - there are a number of people making aliyah who wouldn't go to Ramat Beit Shemesh if it were the last place they could buy a home.

    In the last few years, what's the breakdown of Charedi versus Dati Leumi newcomers to RBS? (I know there are [almost] no new secular families moving there)

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