Jewish democracies – they sure are tough. Good thing there’s only one.
If this is true, this is incredible. Reporting by Haaretz:
Towns ask for public institutions, wind up with brand-new mikvehs
When it comes to religious institutions, the Housing Ministry website explicitly states that budgeting for construction is provided by the Religious Services Ministry.
There is another problem with the ministry’s policy under Housing Minister (and Shas MK ) Ariel Atias: its budget for building public institutions has all but disappeared, shrinking from nearly NIS 204 million in 2002 to NIS 17 million in 2010. In other words, it can hardly build anything at all, so must adhere to the strictest priorities.
And now directing the light towards our locale for a moment – Tzur Hadassah gets a mention: ”Another NIS 3 million was allocated for the construction of yet another mikveh – and a road leading to the ritual bath – in Tzur Hadassah, which is near Jerusalem.”
For years I’ve been hearing conflicting reports about how Tzur Hadassah got the money to build its unfinished and poorly constructed and nonoperational mikvah. I’ve never understood who was behind it or why it was that big a deal if indeed the money came from the Religious Authority, and not the Housing one. I do fully recognize that it’s totally not a priority of many, if not most, Tzur Hadassians.
I wish we had numbers on how many in the area are in favor of it.
As stated: “Not all the local authority chiefs were thrilled at the Housing Ministry’s largesse, mainly on the grounds that they would prefer to get money for other things.”
In May 2011, members of the Mateh Yehuda regional council convened and, among other things, discussed the Housing Ministry budget allocated to building a mikveh. Their mood was not good.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to me before,” said council head Moshe Dadon during the debate. “I received two confirmations by fax from the Housing Ministry, to build a mikveh in Tzur Hadassah, without anybody asking for it.”
The chairman of the Tzur Hadassah council, Zion Gabay – also there for the discussion – professed himself not only astonished but infuriated at the turn of events.
“They’ve already invested NIS 2 million [in the mikveh and road to it],” he said. “I don’t understand the Housing Ministry’s priorities. Our town has a shortage of public infrastructure and is sorely lacking in institutions such as culture and sports centers; centers for music, seniors and afternoon activities for children; or a building for teenage girls in trouble. The State of Israel can’t find the resources to build these. I am bemused and ashamed that the Housing Ministry has found the money for a mikveh and can’t find the money for public institutions that would serve all our residents.”
There is clearly an agenda, as the Shas MK who runs the Housing Ministry right now has this going for him:
The inauguration ceremony of another mikveh built with Housing Ministry assistance, in Neveh Afek, near Rosh Ha’ayin, was attended by Housing Minister Atias himself. In his speech, he stressed that aid had been granted because this was the first mikveh to be built in a neighborhood already 20 years old. Mayor Moshe Sinai thanked Atias for the assistance, but stressed that the neighborhood was missing other public institutions, including day care facilities.
This is just corruption, sorry. While I would benefit from it personally, it’s not the right way to do this, if this is truly Tzur Hadassah’s case.
And, perhaps related to supposed plans for the new development across the road?