The movement to object to the current plans for the construction of RBS Gimmel 2 received a major boost when a chareidi party in the Mayor's coalition submitted an objection. Eli Friedman of the TOV party signed an objection on behalf of his party in which he claimed that the planners were ruining the lives of the chareidi families who were going to move to Gimmel 2 because of the lack of green space, shopping space, matnasim or space for children to play. Friedman also pointed out that the lack of shopping space will mean that close to 2,000 more families will have to use the already overcrowded mercaz in RBS A. The party calls for the construction of the mega mall which the Mayor fought and successfully stopped - calling for it to be built with sensitivity to the needs of the chareidi community.
TIME PERIOD FOR OBJECTIONS EXTENDED
The regional council extended the time period for objecting to the construction of RBS Gimmel 2 to May 25 after numerous procedural flaws were exposed by the organizers of the objections. There is significant evidence that an attempt was made to render all objections invalid and, were it not for the keen eye of some local activists, this may have gone unnoticed. Caught in this attempt to manipulate procedure and rules, the regional council changed course and showed extra leniency in granting an extension. To date, nearly 1,500 objections have been filed along with a professional objection of more than 40 pages with expert opinions explaining why the current plans are flawed.
THE COURTS FREEZE THE CITY'S LANDGRAB
A few weeks ago we reported the deal cut between Mayor Moshe Abutbol and Interior Minister Eli Yishai to annex 3 industrial areas worth 10 million NIS in tax revenue to Bet Shemesh from Mateh Yehuda. The leadership of Mateh Yehuda has fought this decision on numerous fronts including turning to the courts. This week, the court ruled to freeze the transfer of the land until a proper hearing is held. A court date of June 19th was given for Bet Shemesh to appear and answer its questions. Moshe Dadon, the regional head of Mateh Yehuda, declared that the positive relationship between the neighboring regions is at stake. Mayor Abutbol responded that, per Yishai's instructions, he met with Mateh Yehuda leaders and offered to only take half of the area originally annexed and Mateh Yehuda refused to accept this offer. He concluded, "I will accept whatever the courts decide."
Mayor Moshe Abutbol went onto the stage at the RBS Yom Haátzmaut celebration and declared that Shalom Lerner (Býachad) has entered into negotiations with him to enter the coalition. Lerner was shocked and angered to hear these words which he says have no basis at all. "I told the Mayor, possibly 10 different times, that I have no intention of joining his coalition." Lerner called on the Mayor to stop playing cheap politics since the declaration put Lerner on the defensive with local news outlets and citizens who were in attendance. The Mayor responded to Lerner's words by saying, "I said what I said as a joke in the spirit of the festive atmosphere...If I caused any damage to Lerner's image because of what I said, this was not my intention and I apologize for it."
NEW WEB SITE FOR LOCAL WATER COMPANY
Mei Shemesh, the local water company, has established a new web site to help residents with customer service inquiries and for news regarding future plans and programs. The web address is www.m-sms.co.il
NATIONAL PRIZE FOR LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL
The city's lone secular high school, Branco Weiss, was awarded a prestigious national award for excellence this past week. The long process to determine the prize winner included numerous visits from members of a special committee commissioned to choose the winner. The visits included pbservations during class time, interviews with students and staff, and presentations from alumni.
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