It will take another few weeks until the decision is made regarding the character of Charish, which was advertised as the next up and coming chareidi city. Now it remains to be seen. The city may be chareidi, dati or possibly a mixed community as many young couples are expressing interest in purchasing the homes that enjoy a heavy state subsidy. This includes dati leumi and non religious young couples too.
Much depends on the largest housing unit tender ever publicized in the state’s history, for 4,643 housing units and over 10,000 square meters of commercial space.
The city is situated in the area known as Nachal I’ron (Wadi Ara), in the north, but as a growing number of secularists realize, the prices are lower than in Afula and located further south, make it quite attractive to young couples of all walks of life. Some feel that this time around they do not wish to miss the boat and they are acting quickly for they foresee this as being the next Modi’in, which is a far cry from a chareidi community. Modi’in has become a city with attractive with quality of life and good transportation towards Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv areas, and the prices have increased significantly as it has become a viable living option for tens of thousands.
Housing Minister (Shas) Ariel Atias announces publicly that the city is open to all, in line with court decisions, including religious and non-religious.
Secular residents wishing to move ahead with the Charish project are not accepting the news that their bid was unsuccessful, and attorney Yehuda Zahavi is representing a group called “Green (environmental) Charish, claiming the rejection of their bid was not in line with the criteria that should be used and they are challenging the decision. Zahavi explains chareidi interest groups are being given too many plots by relying on daughter organizations and other means to hide the reality that the tenders are going into the same hands. They announce they will be tenacious in their battle for they do not plan to permit Charish to fall in exclusive chareidi hands, adding they are fine living in a city with chareidim, but they are not walking away from this attractive housing opportunity.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)