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
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.