Beit Shemesh council members to court: Nix building tenders

Petitioners claim Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias and Beit Shemesh mayor Moshe Abutbol violated a land sharing agreement.

Nine members of the Beit Shemesh city council have appealed to the administrative court in Jerusalem against Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias, Beit Shemesh mayor Moshe Abutbol, and the Israel Land Administration (ILA). The plaintiffs requested that the court cancel building tenders for a new neighborhood in the city, claiming they are aimed only at the haredi population.

The petitioners, through Adv. Dafna Holz-Lechner, claim that in July, an agreement for the development of Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimel/1 was signed. The agreement was authorized by a city council vote of 14-3, based on two stipulations.

The first stipulation was that the neighborhood would be divided into three equal sections, with each section aimed at one of the three main population groups in the city - secular, national-religious, and haredi.

The second condition was that before publicizing the tenders for the land, a committee will be set up, made up of representatives of the three population groups. That committee was to meet with the Ministry of Housing and Construction before the publication of the tenders, in order to coordinate the marketing policy and character of the tenders, so that the neighborhood would actually be divided between the three communities.

However, claim the petitioners, Atias and the Mayor are outright violating the city council's decision, saying, "The behavior of the defendants reaches mind-boggling disregard of the very existence of the city council, and all its decisions."

The petitioners claim that if the court does not get involved, it will "definitely lead to the clear haredization of the city, and the departure of non-haredi residents - a result with major, far reaching, consequences, which are not wanted by any of the communities in the city."

The petitioners ask to instruct the minister and the Mayor to act in accordance with the decision of the city council, so that all contact with contractors and organizations for leasing lots in Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimel/1 will only be done in accordance with the population targets agreed on by the city council, by dividing it equally to the three sectors - secular, national-religious, and haredi.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on November 23, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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