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Feb 21, 2023

living in a free society

Kikar has a report about how Mayor of Bet Shemesh Dr Aliza Bloch failed a mission when the municipal Comptroller Miki Gastwirth ruled against her in a dispute between her and Degel Hatorah. I dont have any information beyond what is in this article, as I no longer pay such close attention to local news, so my comments are based purely on this report.

According to the article, Gastwirth ruled that the Mayor did not go through the proper processes in her efforts to change the name of the neighborhood Ramat Avraham, a Haredi neighborhood named after MK Rabbi Avraham Ravitz, in addition to her attempts to change the building zoning of the area to push for building taller buildings to attract fewer Haredim and more Dati Leumi and others to the area.

As far as the issue itself, if she wants to make these types of changes, she has to cross her t's and dot her i's. The locals arent going to let her do these things without a fight, and she has to go through the proper processes to succeed in these fights. She will always lose if she rams these decisions through without due process. The local Haredi community is very strong and has strong representation and they wont let these things slide.

That being said, I always find it ironic when the Haredi community fights to prevent others from moving into their areas but when other communities fight to prevent Haredim from moving in to their areas the Haredi community fights them vociferously about the right to live everywhere.

That being said, I do believe everyone has the right to live anywhere. It is a free market, and market forces will determine who lives where. That is true for Haredim moving into non-Haredi areas and equally true for non-Haredim moving into Haredi areas. This has been a debate in Israel for a long time and even if realities on the ground have shown it to be a bad idea that doesnt work for coexistence in most such places, in a free society this is how it works. The question really is how free of a society it is in Israel.

And honestly, she probably wouldnt have attracted non-Haredim to that specific area. It is a pretty chassidic area with some extreme people and most others wouldnt be interested in living there.

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  1. > I always find it ironic when the Haredi community fights to prevent others from moving into their areas

    Years ago, during one of those "Don't sell your apartment to an Arab!" scandals, Rav Shteinman, z"l, was quoted as saying that this was racist and a terrible thing, except for Chareidim.

  2. You don't see a difference between Chareidim moving into a neighborhood because of a need for housing and a municipality purposely orchestrating non Chareidi neighborhoods to prevent the growth of Chareidi neighborhoods


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