As the Jerusalem City Council prepares for budget talks, the
municipality submitted data on projects soon to be carried
out. The compiled data shows during the coming year the
municipality will build mikvo'os, botei knesses and
botei medrash throughout the city at an unprecedented
level of NIS 100 million ($25 million).
This amount of construction was made possible through Mayor
Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky's successful efforts to renew the work
of the Municipal Locating Committee that identifies sites for
construction of public buildings, despite legal obstacles
placed before him. Many of the plans for the construction of
buildings are currently in the execution phase and are
scheduled for completion during the coming year. Tenders have
already been issued for some of the other plans, which will
begin within the coming year.
In light of a High Court case filed against the City of
Rechovot, the court had in effect cancelled funds earmarked
for religious facilities by all local authorities. Following
that decision, which caused the Jerusalem Locating Committee
to cease its operations, Mayor Lupoliansky directed city
officials to hold joint meetings with the relevant government
ministries together with legal experts, in order to devise a
supplementary procedure, work guidelines and criteria that
would allow the committee to be reactivated within the law.
Rabbi Yitzchok Hanau, director of the municipality's
Department of Religious Facilities, said that since their
efforts started to take shape, over the past few months the
municipality has allocated dozens of lots throughout the city
for the construction of religious facilities. These
allocations came in response to needs that have come about in
recent years in neighborhoods where the religious or chareidi
population has grown.
As part of the new construction plan, municipal planning
officials are to make changes in the City Building Plan
(known as the TABA -- Tochnit Binyan Arim) in order to
zone additional lots not originally designated for the
construction of public buildings.
The Mayor also introduced a new regulation making the
municipality responsible for initiating and funding the
procedure for changes in the highly complex City Building
Plan, in order to spare substantial expenses that until now
have been imposed on the respective associations that
undertook to build the facilities.
This year the municipality is also slated to build dozens of
kindergarten and school classrooms at locations throughout
the city, including a number for chareidi institutions, at a
value of NIS 50 million ($13 million).
Deputy Mayor and Chareidi Education Commissioner Rabbi Uri
Maklev said that the municipality is currently formulating a
master plan for chareidi education in which the Education
Ministry is expected to fund the construction of additional
classrooms in the hope that than in the coming years all
chareidi educational institutions will be provided with
permanent facilities, and not have to study in rented rooms
and prefab structures.