Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Tammuz 5766 - July 5, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Netivot Moshe Students and Parents Demonstrate Against Haifa Mayor

By Y. Ariel

Students from the Netivot Moshe School in Haifa's Kiryat Shmuel neighborhood demonstrated alongside their parents against Mayor Yonah Yahav to protest the municipality's failure to meet the school's basic needs. The municipality recently reneged on pledges to allocate land for the construction of a larger building, leaving the students to contend with crowded, difficult conditions.

The Netivot Moshe School was started in Kiryat Shmuel seven years ago by the Netivot Moshe Foundation with a total of 42 boys and girls. As the reputation of the school and the dedicated staff spread far and wide, enrollment grew, reaching 250 students enrolled for next year.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni brought the lack of space to the attention of then Mayor Amram Mitzna several years ago, who met with him and decided to allocate a lot for the school. But the current mayor neutralized his predecessor's decision, designating the lot for other purposes. In a meeting with Rabbi Gafni, Yahav promised to see to the school's needs but nothing has been done so far despite numerous requests.

The municipality even began to shake off its responsibility to assist chareidi schools in Kiryat Shmuel, further aggravating parents. "In Kiryat Shmuel there are other educational frameworks available," a city official said. Parents retorted that the municipality cannot force them to send their children to government or government-religious schools.

The school board, headed by Rav Shmuel Eidelstein, pointed to a nearby school building that had been shut down five years earlier. The Netivot Moshe Foundation offered to cover the costs of refurbishing the abandoned building and to rent it until a permanent solution was found. The proposal was originally put forth by former UTJ Councilman Rabbi Aryeh Blitenthal and adopted by current Councilman Rabbi Chaim Williger, who has made the issue a high priority since his election.

Yet the municipality rejected this proposal as well, claiming that the building had been designated as the site for the municipal archive. "How can a bunch of papers be put in such a large place instead of students?" fumed Netivot Moshe representatives.

As a result of the city's intransigence a large demonstration was held outside the municipal building. The protesters, their parents and the administration staff were joined by Mrs. Ronit Mintz, chairwoman of the Kiryat Shmuel Committee, to show her support for the cause. Councilman Rabbi Williger contacted the Mayor to request a meeting with representatives of the protesters, but the request was denied.

Given no alternative, the local Netivot Moshe administration plans to step up the struggle. Rabbi Gafni said he would not slacken his efforts until a viable solution is found. "I spoke about this with Mayor Yonah Yahav and I intend to continue holding conversations with him until a solution is found. A legally-recognized Chinuch Atzmai school cannot be simply ignored. This is not a private school and its needs must be met just like every other school in Haifa."

The mainstream press in Haifa also sympathizes with the just struggle by the Kiryat Shmuel students and has highlighted their campaign.


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