Jun 28, 2009

a surprise attack

Whatever side of the debate over RBS 3/C/G you are on; build, don't build, haredim, secular, dati leumi, percentages, graves, whatever, you are sure to find this surprising.

Last week, Councilman Moshe Montag, director of the office for construction and planning in City Hall, spoke out about the recent fights over RBS 3. He was quoted as having said that RBS3 would be completely Haredi.

I am taking the quote out of context, as the rest of what he said did not matter. That statement created a storm of responses, mostly angry, among other councilpeople, editorials and columns in the local papers, residents, etc.

The most surprising of all the responses was the following - Activists from the local Shas party protested his statement.
You can break down their protest to 2 issues:

1. They have protested his conquering of the whole RBS3 - Montag indicated he would call it Kiryat Degel haTorah (and some are nicknaming it Kiryat Montag) and immediately settle thousands of haredi litvishe couples there. The Shas people are saying that over their dead bodies will it be "Kiryat Montag". Rather the first part will be Kiryat Yosef, named after Rav Ovadia, the second will be dedicated after Shlomo Benizri, etc. The name is less important - more important is the feeling that they have that Montag is usurping RBS3 for Litvishe haredi and Shas is not going to take it sitting down. They want it for Sefardic couples.

2. They protest the intended demographic as stated by Montag. Shas people were quoted as saying "Bet Shemesh might become haredi, but not in the Bnei Brak sense of the word. Everybody who wnats to live here will be able to - sfardim, ashkenazim, hassidim, litvishe, dati leumi, and secular.Yes, also secular. The way of Rav Reuven Elbaz is to bring people close, not to distance them. If we live in isolation - only with haredim, upon whom can we have any influence? We want secular Jews of all types - Ethiopians, Russians, French, American, everybody is invited to build in Bet Shemesh."
"We don't want the city to go down the drain. We are not interested in living in cities like Elad or Kiryat Sefer - whoever wants that can move to those cities." "We thought we were together, that we were discussing solving the housing crisis for everybody, and not just for one community".

I was definitely surprised to see Shas attack Montag about this.


  1. The attack by Shas is surprising.

    I have to say I have no sympathy for the Chilonim (Dor Acher) who voted for Abutbul. They supported a Charedi candidate and now they are facing the consequences.

  2. isnt the MK who visited 2 weeks ago from Shas (forgot his name) - would he let it be 100% "gimmel"?

  3. bluke - I agree. They have nobody to blame but themselves. i don't know who they thought they were kidding when they told themselves Abutbol would not push haredi agenda.

    anon - yes, that was Arial Attias. But as Attias has said a number of times about this - the Housing Ministry builds houses. It does not decide who will live there. That is up to the city and up to the market. not up to him. he is building for everybody.

  4. Rafi, I assume you are referring to the article in Keren Ohr? It didn't mention anyone by name but they did show a photo of what looked like the shas activist who actually davens in Miskhan avraham meir which is where Jacki Edri and some other mafdal activists hang out. So even though he is a shasnik he probably feels more at home with dati leumi sefardim then he does with ashkenazi charedim.
    In fairness to Muntag he did not say that all of RBS 3 will be called kiryat degel hatorah but rather there will be a neighborhood in a part of RBS 3 that will go by that name. A bit like the Mishkenot Yaakov neighbourhood in RBS A.
    What is also interesting is Eli Friedman's letter to Abutbul requesting that RBS 3 should be open to all chareidim be it sefardim, ba'aley teshuva etc. and not just a Kiryat Degel Hatorah

  5. Shimon - Keren Ohr had an article on it (and the quotes I used were from there). Tmura also had an article about it quoting Yehuda Medziba and reuven Cohen (sp?) from Shas bet Shemesh about hwo they insist on it being third, third, third and not completely haredi.
    Shopping Mekomi also had an article on it.

  6. Maybe there are 2 issues here.
    1) That RBS 3 should be third, third, third.
    2) What should the nature of the charedi third be. Litvish? Chasidish? Sefardi? etc.

  7. What criteria are supposed to be used in determining who gets a certain planned neighborhood? I realize that everyone wants it for their own constituency, but at least on a theoretical level isn't there some more objective criteria?
    Also, who has the final decision?

  8. anon - I don't know about your first question, but the final say is the market. No matter how much planning goes into it, and no matter who the neighborhood is designated for, at the end of the day it will go to whomever buys houses there.

  9. at the end of the day it will go to whomever buys houses there.

    Who the houses are marketed to will of course depend on what the builders see when they come to look at the land. Anyone remember the shameful haredi behaviour when the kablanim came to bid on the ma'aar opportunity?

  10. So what was the reaction to the idea that if BS/RBS becomes a totally haredi city it will go down the drain.

  11. MOI - that was in this past weeks local papers, so we will not have a reaction until this coming weeks papers. but it will probably be lost in the shuffle among everything else that is being said. and "down the drain" was my translation. If I remember correctly, the original words used were "l'ibadon"

  12. As you might already be aware, the main topic amongst the Iryah politicians over the last month has been the planning for what is known as Ramat Bet Shemesh Gimmel.
    First of all, for those of you unaware, some background:

    The municipality of Bet Shemesh stretches from BIG to almost all the way to Kibbutz Lamed Hey and from Route 38 to the back road to Bet Shemesh. Currently only about 25% of this area is actually built on. The city today has a population of around 90,000 people. The master plan for Bet Shemesh includes doubling that population to over 200,000 people. Ramat Aleph and Bet were the first steps in that direction and now Ramat Gimmel is the next big step.

    Ramat Gimmel is located across the street from the area now referred to as Ramat Shilo. If you are entering Ramat Aleph from 38, you pass a circle that seems to go nowhere. There is actually a road on your right that is closed. That is the access road to Ramat Gimmel. Amazingly, all the roads and infrastructure for Ramat Gimmel are already there! If you drive up that road (carefully) you will see a whole town of roads and pipes.. with no buildings! This infrastructure was built by the Misrad Hashikun (Ministry of Construction and Housing). They are responsible for the planning and infrastructure of new neighborhoods. Of course, they work with local municipalities to plan appropriately.

    This is now the issue. What "type" of neighborhood with be built on Gimmel and what kind of people will end of moving there. (Keep in mind, that Ramat Aleph was officially designed as a chiloni neighborhood - so planning does not necessarily turn into reality). The powers in the Iryah have declared their intention to make Gimmel into a Charedi neighborhood to be able to provide affordable housing for young charedi couples. This has caused great consternation amongst the non-charedi elements in the city. Additionally there is concern on how all this planned construction will affect the beautiful environment and tiyul areas in the location. (There is an independent meeting on this topic on 30/6/09 at the Meyerhoff Matnas at 8 PM)

    The below letter (in hebrew) was sent by the Tov City Councilman, Eli Friedman, to the Mayor last week.
    Basically, in the letter Eli declares that the Mayor assure us that there will be NO official Vaad that decides who can move into Gimmel. That anyone who wants to move in, regardless of background or religious affiliation will be allowed to. That services (schools, shuls, etc) will be made available to all groups regardless of how "Charedi" the groups are deemed to be. And that the city should give more attention to existing population of Ramat Aleph that already suffer from lack of classrooms and shuls!

    As usual, we would appreciate your feedback and questions on this issue.

    Thank you
    TOV Bet Shemesh

  13. Is it short for RBS 3rd World?

  14. Tov Bet Shemesh,
    What is the issue? There isn't such a vaad in RBSA, why would there be one in RBSC?
    Moreover, if you really think that Abutbul is the type to pull something like that off, why did your tzibbur vote for him?

  15. While RBS-A has no vaadim, many neighborhoods in RBS-B (and in BS proper) do.

  16. Mul-
    Everyone I know that voted for Tov, voted for Lerner- not Abutbol.

  17. Voted-Bais Avraham, a Tov-oriented shul if there ever was one, said Nishmas Kol Chai with the Mayor on a Thursday night to celebrate.
    How many misppalelim there, or in Yeshuas Dovid, Klal Yisrael, or Mevakshai Hashem, all shuls with many Tov supporters, voted for Lerner?
    Morever major personalities in Beis Teffila were actively involved in the Abutbul campaign.
    The only community in which the Tov supporters went with Lerner is Aish Kodesh.
    The Israeli Tovnicks voted for Abutbul almost to a man, while Beis Tefflia is a tossup.

  18. Mul - I think your analysis of which TOV voters voted for which mayoral candidate is pretty good and probably fairly accurate. My only dissent is that I dont think Beis Tefilla was a toss-up. I think BT probably voted mostly Abutbol. The Abutbol supporters in Beis Tefilla were the more prominent and influential members. Along with the fact that voting Abutbol kind of assuages any possible guilty feelings for not voting in accordance with the wishes of the gedolim by voting TOV - you can counter that and vote Abutbol, thereby still voting, perhaps more important vote, according to the gedolim.


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