Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Chareidim not Represented in Ramot Administration
by Eliezer Rauchberger

On 19 Tammuz, the chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee, Rabbi Moshe Gafni, gave Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert two weeks in which to report his intentions concerning the holding of elections for the Ramot Community Administration.

During the Committee's discussion of the affair, Rabbi Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) claimed that although chareidim comprise a clear majority of Ramot's residents, they are not represented at all in the neighborhood's Community Administration. This claim was substantiated by other meeting participants who complained that many public buildings in Ramot are collecting dust as a result of disuse, although the neighborhood's chareidi residents are in desperate need of such buildings.

The Ramot Community Administration, that oversees the allocation of municipal resources in the vast neighborhood, was appointed many years ago by the city. It includes militantly anti-religious people who have used public funds to speak against some of the residents. None of the members of the Community Administration was elected, and it is not clear if any of the current board would be elected even by the non-religious residents of Ramot.

In the early years, the religious community constituted about half of Ramot, but today, more than 15 years after the original board was appointed, they are an overwhelming majority. They have no representation or say in how public resources are allocated. The current board sometimes prefers to leave buildings vacant rather than let the chareidi community use them.

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Rabbi Uri Maklev, a resident of Ramot, said that any attempts to negotiate with the Ramot Community Administration over the years have been abortive, for its members have refused to meet with chareidi representatives. He added that in light of Ramot's demographic status, chareidim should comprise a majority of the Administration's executive board. He stressed that it is preposterous that such an Administration continues to preside year after year. He demanded that the current Administration be dismantled immediately.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Eli Simchayof (Shas) said that there is a great need for public buildings in Ramot, and that the Jerusalem Municipality is spending huge sums on renting or building new structures in the neighborhood, although there are many empty buildings which could be used.

Deputy Mayor Yaakov Amedi (Likud) said that the Municipality is trying to act as liaison between the various groups in Ramot. Mr. Tzvi Chernechovsky, director of the Jerusalem Company for Community Administrations, said that he would recommend the holding of elections for the Ramot Communal Administration only after negotiations between the sides have taken place.

Committee Chairman Rabbi Moshe Gafni has concluded that if the mayor does not respond to this issue within two weeks, deliberations will continue. It is inconceivable, he notes, that Ramot's chareidi residents completely lack representation in a body meant to represent and manage the neighborhood in which they live.


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