Are we seeing the start of a haredi (ultra-orthodox) takeover of secular residential neighborhoods? Haredi website "Ladaat" reports on a haredi initiative called "To fight for the home" whose objective is to convert secular neighborhoods and their residents into haredim.
Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias recently warned that unless neighborhoods are built for the haredim, they "would conquer secular neighborhoods".
"Ladaat" correspondent Yeruham Shmuelvich says that the haredim are no longer concealing their plans, and that posters were hung at synagogues in centers of haredi comminities, calling on haredim to register for projects being organized "to secretly buy apartments". The backers are organizing haredi buyers groups to buy apartments in secular neighborhoods in central Israel. The posters assert that haredim will try to take over the neighborhoods by buying apartments through secular middlemen, who will then resell them to haredim.
"Ladaat" calls its report an "exposé". It claims that the massive purchases of apartments by secular middlemen is intended to avoid alerting the sellers and neighborhood residents that the apartments sold are going to haredim, in order to "avoid a meteoric rise in prices, such as has occurred in various neighborhoods in which haredim have entered." The initiative calls on haredim to quickly join the buyers groups in order "to get the process moving forward quickly."
Sources at "Ladaat" told "Globes" that the posters were placed in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Beit Shemesh, Betar, and other cities. The sources said that the organizers of the buyers groups were working and consulting with leading developers. The sources added that buyers groups have already been established, and dozens more are expected to be created.
The posters apparently mention several locations in central Israel, Jerusalem, and Beit Shemesh, although the practical focus is the center of the country. The organizers are pricing apartments at around NIS 300,000 in areas defined as "struggling" but "still worthy for Torah-observing citizens".
Haredim seeking to join the project must deposit a NIS 250 registration fee and undergo an interview by an acceptance committee.
"Ladaat" says that the apartment sales will be advised by attorneys and professionals, and that parts of the national religious community are also increasingly interested in buying apartments.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 4, 2010
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