Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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3 AdarI 5760 - February 9, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Funds for Haifa Mikveh Diverted to Other Purposes

by Yehuda Ariel

Members of the Joint Religious Front in the Haifa Municipality have discovered that Housing Ministry funds earmarked for the building of a mikveh in the western part of Haifa were directed to other projects by Mayor Amram Mitzna. Last week at an urgent meeting on the issue, the mayor promised to channel the budget back to the mikveh at the beginning of the current fiscal year. UTJ Knesset members were involved in the issue, and called Mitzna to order to protest this unlawful diversion of the budget.

Last week, members of the Joint Religious Front in the Municipality, Rabbi Chaim Williger of UTJ and Rabbi Avraham Weitzman of Shas, received a copy of the agenda of the upcoming City Council meeting. They discovered that members of the Council would be asked at the meeting to approve the aforementioned budget change. This change involves NIS one million, two hundred thousand NIS of which had been approved by the Housing Ministry when it was headed by Rabbi Meir Porush for building a mikveh in the western part of Haifa which were being diverted to Beit Nagler in Kiryat Chaim.

Rabbi Weitzman asked Mitzna to prevent the budgetary change. At the same time, he turned to Rabbi Porush and to the Religious Affairs Minister, Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen. Rabbi Williger also contacted Rabbi Moshe Gafni, who asked the members of the Joint Religious Front to call an urgent meeting with Mayor Amram Mitzna. Throughout the day, the UTJ Knesset members spoke with Mitzna and apprised him of the seriousness of his actions.

At Sunday night's meeting -- which was also attended by the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality, Rabbi Moshe Shtetman, Mitzna promised to find alternate financial sources for the building of the mikveh during the current fiscal year. He said that if he hadn't made quick use of the budget, he would have lost it. The Religious Front was upset that they had been denied access to this information, and claimed that had they known about the budget, they would have presented plans to build the mikveh a long time ago.

Now it is hoped that the mikveh in Haifa will be completed this year, as promised by the mayor.

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