Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Cheshvan 5761 - November 15, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Shachar Beit Shemesh Neighborhood To Be Exclusively Chareidi
by Betzalel Kahn

Following unsuccessful attempts to sell the Shachar neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel (Ramat Hanevi'im) to the secular sector, Housing and Construction Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer decided last week to allocate the entire neighborhood exclusively to the chareidi population. This decision follows the marked success of the chareidi sector in the Housing Ministry's first public sale of areas for individual construction. The area will include thousands of apartments to be built according to the bnei beitcho (build your own home) method. It was reported that approximately seventy percent of the contestants in the first tender were chareidim.

More than one hundred chareidi families participated in the tender, which was for 103 units in a huge new area that will eventually contain 35,000 dwelling units. The chareidi contractors note that now is a crucial time to set the tone of the entire neighborhood. They said that this complex offers the best terms the chareidi sector has ever known, and that there is no reason why chareidim should be barred from it. They added that the area is very close to the chareidi neighborhoods in Ramat Hanechalim and Ramat Hate'anim.

A few days ago, all of those who won in the tender attended a meeting with top ranking Housing Ministry officials as well as those responsible for the tenders, which took place on Ministry premises. Upon discovering that the majority of the participants were chareidi, the personnel of the Housing Ministry who participated in the meeting were startled. Out of 80 winners, only twenty are either secular or national religious; in other words, 70% were chareidim.

Earlier the Housing Ministry had boasted that only 16 chareidim submitted winning bids. "The attempt by chareidim to control the Ramat Beit Shemesh Shachar neighborhood which the Housing Ministry has slated for the secular and national- religious sector has failed. Out of 80 winners in the auction for plots of land on which houses will be built according to the Bnei Beitcha method, the chareidim received only 16," the Housing Ministry spokesman said in an announcement. However this determination was based only on circumstantial evidence and reality has proven how unreliable it was.

Rabbi Wislowski, one of the main activists in building Beit Shemesh, added that the Housing Ministry has spent nearly one million shekels on promoting that auction for only 103 apartments. "The Housing Ministry holds auctions every day, but we have never before heard nor seen so extensive a promotion campaign. It is clear that the purpose of the campaign was to stop the chareidim."

The surprising results led Minster Ben Eliezer to designate the neighborhood exclusively for the chareidi sector. He based his decision on the fact that the secular sector isn't interested in investing in an apartment in an area which might later prove to be chareidi (or as in this case, has already proven to be chareidi).

The Housing Ministry continued to insist that the Shachar neighborhood will be exclusively secular, and that communal structures in the neighborhood would be built according to the needs of a secular neighborhood.

But last week, as Yated Ne'eman reported a number of weeks ago, it became absolutely clear that 70% of the winners are indeed chareidi, a factor that led Minster Ben Eliezer to decide to market the entire neighborhood exclusively for the chareidi sector.

Rabbi Moshe Wislowski, chairman of the Nachlas Shlomo NPO who is to be credited with the participation of scores of chareidi families in the tender, told Yated Ne'eman that he hopes that the Housing Ministry will see that the chareidim indeed need projects of this sort. "The chareidi sector wants to live in the country's center, in a quiet place. They also want their parents to have peace of mind," he added.

Much of this new area will be built according to the Ministry of Housing's program "Bnei Beitcha" which allows participants to build their home according to their own wishes and means. No big projects using this approach have ever been designated for the chareidi community.

Rabbi Wislowski said, "This proves one thing: The chareidi sector is indeed interested in the Bnei Beitcha type of housing, and the Housing Ministry has never made such projects available to them. Now they promise that they will conduct more auctions. Already, quite a few chareidim from abroad promised me that if there are Bnei Beitcha plans in Beit Shemesh, they will make aliya. We are referring to wealthy families, and their interest in such projects is a result of the small investment in advertising in the English Yated Ne'eman."


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.