Members of the Beit Shemesh branch of Degel HaTorah convened a special meeting to survey the work of the faction's representatives on the city council and to discuss various matters on the local agenda, including new construction in Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel. The highlight of the meeting was the announcement of a special housing development there tentatively entitled Kiryat Degel HaTorah, which is taking shape with Housing Ministry assistance.
Deputy Mayor Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg, who holds the portfolio for chareidi education in Beit Shemesh, opened the meeting by saying the late Degel HaTorah chairman Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz had set aside significant amounts of his time for the Beit Shemesh branch, regularly took part in its meetings and was closely involved in the work of the faction's city councilmen. He also made special efforts to promote the needs of the city's English-speaking residents.
During the course of the meetings Rabbi Greenberg raised issues such as opening new post office branches in the new chareidi neighborhood and in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef, efforts to introduce new bus lines inside the city and from Beit Shemesh to Modi'in Illit, a review of the work done by the Chareidi Women's Section in Beit Shemesh during bein hazmanim and the Pesach break, and the development of the Unit for Youth Advancement and the Integration of New Female Workers from the Chareidi Sector.
Speakers also noted that Degel HaTorah councilmen had become members of various city council committees. Rabbi Eliyohu Cohen was appointed to the Education Committee, the Absorption Committee and the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Children. Rabbi Yisroel Silverstein was appointed to the Traffic and Road Safety Committee, the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Children and Municipal Tax Appeals Committee. Rabbi Mordechai Zeidel was appointed to the Traffic Committee and the Appraisal Committee. Rabbi Eliezer Greenbaum was appointed to the Municipal Tax Appeals Committee.
Special emphasis was placed on the issue of education. Today the chareidi education system in Beit Shemesh comprises the majority of the Municipal Education Department. While government and government-religious schools have a total enrollment of 10,000 students, chareidi institutions number 15,000 students. Rabbi Greenberg noted that preparations for the 5770 school year are in high gear and many achievements have been made, including full funding for electricity and water at chareidi institutions, funding for equipment and furniture, guard services at more schools and even a directive to cover 50 percent of guarding costs at institutions where studies continue until Tisha B'Av.