Rabbi Ravitz and Bituach Leumi Director Dr. Yigal Ben Shalom
inaugurated new Bituach Leumi branches in Natzeret and
Natzeret Illit that will serve half a million Jews and Arabs.
Earlier Rabbi Ravitz conducted a working tour of Natzeret
Illit. "I am proud of my part in the setup and operation of
the Shuvu School, of its educators and of its students,"
Mayor Menachem Ariev told him.
At the inauguration ceremony for the two Bituach Leumi
branches, held in Natzeret with hundreds of residents on
hand, Rabbi Ravitz said, "Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's
announcement that the government would adopt the
recommendation to institute a negative income tax for low
income earners is one of the Welfare Ministry's and Bituach
Leumi's biggest achievements. Now our next goal stands before
us: restoring Child Allowances to their original formulation.
I again call on the government not to allow large families to
During the course of the day, the Deputy Minister toured
welfare institutions in Natzeret Illit. The visit began with
a working meeting at the municipality's plenum hall. The
host, Menachem Ariev, who has been serving as mayor for 29
years, opened by tracing the city's founding and surveying
the municipality's activities. Ariev said he was proud of the
social fabric that makes up the city and, "I am particularly
proud of our part in the setup and operation of the Shuvu
school, which numbers 300 students." Rabbi Ravitz said
welfare matters are handled well in Natzeret Illit by the
local bureau and its heads.
On a personal note Rabbi Ravitz said he was touched by the
Mayor's help in developing Shuvu. "I had the merit to be
among the founders of the chain while I was chairman of the
Finance Committee and later went on a huge fundraising
campaign abroad. This is a tremendous Torah study program at
a very high level and the future remains open before us." At
the end of the meeting the Mayor took the Deputy Minister on
a tour of the city's various welfare institutions.
One week earlier, Rabbi Ravitz visited Carmiel, including an
inauguration ceremony for facilities at Keren Ora
institutions for special education, and affixed a mezuzoh at
the neighborhood youth center. During the tour Rabbi Ravitz
praised Carmiel Mayor Adi Eldar, saying, "Carmiel is an
excellent example of how a city should be run. I came here
primarily to learn from this city and to make it into an
exemplary city for others to learn from."
Mayor Eldar described the many activities his city sponsors,
including activities that benefit the local chareidi
community. "I relate to the community's needs with equality
because I believe here everyone can live together at a high
standard of living and in peace," he said. Rabbi Ravitz
promised to provide substantially increased funding for work
rehabilitation programs for the handicapped, a center for the
elderly and other programs.
Later Rabbi Ravitz was given the honor of fixing a mezuzoh
on the doorpost of a special kitchen at Machon Orot of
Carmiel, a regional Torah-based institution for children with
learning disabilities run by Keren Ora Institutions under the
rov of Carmiel, HaRav Avrohom Tzvi Margalit. Dozens of
students study and receive therapy suited to their level of
learning and in accordance with Jewish tradition. In the
kitchen they learn important fundamentals of home economics
and living skills that will allow them to build Torah-true
homes and even learn a trade.
Rabbi Ravitz was received by the moro de'asra HaRav
Margalit, UTJ City Councilman Rabbi Dovid Lugassi, Director
Rabbi Pinchos Siroka, the manager of the Bureau for Public
Inquiries, Rabbi Yisroel Lichtenstein, and the manager of
educational projects sponsored by the Wolfson Foundation,
Rabbi Shimon Kurlansky.
Rabbi Ravitz promised to make a recommendation to Bituach
Leumi's Foundation for Handicapped Services to build a
carpentry shop there. The Mayor pledged to help build a
proper school to replace the converted industrial building
currently being used. Rabbi Ravitz then went to a meeting
with youths at the Keren Ora neighborhood youth club, which
serves in the evening as a beis medrash for local
youths drawing closer to Judaism. He spoke with the young
residents and affixed a mezuzoh at the entrance to the
At the end of the tour all of the city's avreichim
gathered at Beis Medrash Ohel Chaya, the city's first beis
medrash and the home of a kollel for 80
avreichim which HaRav Margalit started upon his
arrival in Carmiel. "We are currently in one of the critical
stages of Torah and Jewish life in Eretz Yisroel,"
said Rabbi Ravitz, "and I call upon each and every one of
you to take an active role in this campaign."