Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Av 5763 - August 5, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











City of Jerusalem Wants to Build New Neighborhoods
by Betzalel Kahn

The Mayor's Office in Jerusalem says that plans for new neighborhoods are at advanced stages. Such plans include Antenna Hill in Bayit Vegan, where initial construction plans have already been approved; 2,000 residential units on the edge of Har Nof (a neighborhood to be named after HaRav Shach zt'l); an additional 800 units in Ramat Shlomo; a plan to build behind Givat Shaul's industrial zone; a plan to make Sanhedria denser; and a plan to build a new neighborhood next to Ramot. The addition of these thousands of units can make a big difference in the city.

Architect David Tzvivek recently drafted a grandiose plan to bring another one million chareidi residents into Jerusalem through a project to make older chareidi neighborhoods in central Jerusalem denser. However city officials claim the plan may never be able to be carried out.

According to local weekly Yerushalayim, Tzvivek's plan includes changes in old, rigid urban construction plans. Tzvivek says numerous old structures--such as the stores on Rechov Meah Shearim--should be demolished to make room for apartment buildings. Tzvivek also proposes taking advantage of unzoned spaces used as small workshops in Beit Yisrael, Geulah, Zichron Moshe and other neighborhoods as well as parking lots. According to Tzvivek's plan, procedures to alter zoning and make plots available for construction should be accelerated in order to bring another million chareidi residents into the city within just a few years. The plans are grandiose but seem exaggerated since it is not clear if the entire chareidi population of Israel even reaches a million.

In an interview with Yerushalayim Tzvivek said he spoke with entrepreneurs and investors from Jewish communities in the US and other parts of the world "and they showed great interest in building in chareidi neighborhoods, out of an awareness that demand in these areas is high." Tzvivek added that he presented his plan primarily to chareidi city officials and chareidi parties "but I know it takes a long time before the wheels of the Jerusalem bureaucracy start to turn."

The Mayor's Office says the idea in principle is positive, but in order to implement it a wide range of aspects must be assessed, adding that due to its complexity the plan cannot be implemented within a short period of time. The primary impediment is that many of the homes in these densely constructed areas would have to be vacated, which requires reaching agreements with the many heirs of the land. Furthermore state preservation official would have plenty to say regarding to plan to demolish old structures.


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