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Feb 20, 2012

Bet Shemesh Updates: Twinning, Training and Splitting

Some interesting Bet Shemesh developments:

  • While it was reported that the potential twinning of Bet Shemesh with Montgomery County was cancelled, it seems that the decision is yet really final. Despite various council members explaining why the council decided against, the head of the council says the final decision has not yet been made, and the reports were publicized by some members who were opposed in an effort to influence the decision.
    Not only does it raise the question why various council members said it had been cancelled, but it also raises the question why the mayor of Bet Shemesh blamed local people cooperating with pro-Palestinian groups in an effort to derail it.

    According to Jerusalem Post reports, local residents/activists have been writing to representatives of Montgomery County in an effort to encourage them to approve the twinning plan.
  • Rumor has it that the train ride between Tel Aviv and Bet Shemesh will be getting shorter. Due to work on the tracks by various stations the ride from Bet Shemesh to Tel Aviv should soon be shortened to 32 minutes (I heard this will happen in May). This will also make the ride to and from Jerusalem shorter.
    I have not yet seen such changes mentioned on the Israel Rail Authority website, but those are the rumors. I hope they are true. The train minyan will have to daven a bit faster, if it turns out to be true.
  • Some Likud activists from old Bet Shemesh are still working on keeping on the table the idea of splitting Bet Shemesh into two cities. While they initially were met with rejection, they have pressured Netanyahu to actually meet with them, after threatening to not support him in future elections and to only support Knesset members in upcoming elections who will support the plan along with recently boycotting the primaries, in which only 300 or so voters voted instead of the 2100 registered members,  Netanyahu finally agreed to meet with them.

    At the meeting they handed a plan over to Netanyahu in which they delineate a possible plan to split the city. If there plan gets approved, there would be two cities - Bet Shemesh, consisting of mostly old Bet Shemesh with some adjustments, and a city they call Ayalon which would include the newer areas and would  be haredi. The plan is modeled on Nazareth, which was formed into two cities - Nazareth with the Arab population and Nazareth Ilit with the Jewish population and each takes care of its unique needs.

    The activists says that the area under municipal control of Bet Shemesh is larger than that of Tel Aviv, at 56,000 square kilometers, reaching all the way to Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hay. In their words, "there is plenty of space to put there hundreds of thousands of haredim. just leave our city alone to live quietly."

    While the mayor Moshe Abutbol is still rejecting the idea, calling too difficult to work out as there are many haredim living in old Bet Shemesh, the activists say that it can be worked out and when it will be, the haredim in old Bet Shemesh will leave as they will prefer the new haredi city over the old traditional city, as their interests will be better achieved and cared for in the haredi city. (source: NRG)


  1. It's very easy for me to agree with the idea of פיצול ערים (or perhaps that should be פילוג) but there again I do not live in Beit Shemesh.

  2. Such a simplistic idea. Chareidim live in old Beit Shemesh, and Dati Leumi like myself live in RBS Aleph, and WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO, AND KEEP THE FLAG FLYING, AND WILL SING HATIKVA, AND CELEBRATE YOM HHATZMAUT, AND SAY HALLEL, and we want to be a part of greater Beit Shemesh. There will be no transfer of Charedim to Ayalon, and others to Beit Shemesh. The only idea I would support would be that RBS Gimmel, Daled, Hey and Bet and Nachala could be Ayalon, whilst leaving BS and RBS Aleph in Beit Shemesh.

  3. Meir, people make mistakes. 30 years ago, my inlaws moved to Har Nof when it was planned to be a mixed neighborhood. When they saw that Hardeim were moving in droves, they quickly put their home up for sale, it was snapped up by Charedim desperate to move and they moved to Katamon, a real mixed neighborhood. Fly the flag, sing hatikvah, but it's a losing battle. Cut your losses and consolidate.

    Rafi, your captcha got suddenly really annoying.

  4. abbi - what happened that made the captcha annoying?

    I disagree with your point. rbs can remain diverse.

  5. Abbi, Rafi, it's a Blogger change to captcha, nothing to do with this particularly blog. Haven't you noticed it elsewhere? Or maybe you haven't been wasting your time commenting on other blogs? :)

  6. Right on, Meir S., on all counts.

  7. How can the city of Beit Shemesh be busy gobbling up Mateh Yehuda around it but spew out the doughnut hole that is RBS A-B-C-D-etc?

  8. As long as RBS Aleph does not get stuck in the haredi half. I DO live in RBS alpeh and we did NOT sign up for haredi-ville where the haredim dictate who does what in "their neighborhood" and "their city" (on our dime of course !!)
    I just wish Israeli haredim could be NORMAL like American haredim. If they would pay their taxes and not abuse people, I would be 100% OK with living in a haredi city

  9. A better example would be Jerusalem staying united, rather than 2 municipalities one for the west and one for the east.

  10. Of course RBS-A would be in the charedi half. The trickier part would be finding the border between RBS-B and Bet Shemesh.

    I almost wish it would happen, to spite these politicians who live in Bet Shemesh, for trying to "take over" the city rather than develop it in all its directions. The only problem is that I live in RBS A....

  11. I dont want to see Bet Shemesh split into two, but I would not be opposed to stopping Bet Shemesh as ti is now and then all further neighborhoods to be built on the hills of gimmel, daled, hei, etc would be a new city and not Bet Shemesh.

    And then whoever wants to move out of Bet Shemesh and buy in the new city would be able to, and whomever wishes to stay in Bet Shemesh would be able to.


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