A storm followed the report that Givat Shmuel City Hall decided to close its parks to non-residents during bein hazmanim. The new policy was perceived to be directly aimed against the residents of nearby Bnei Brak, the chareidi tzibur.
This led to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri ordering his staff to probe the legality of the new policy, for he too viewed it to be a move to prevent the chareidi tzibur from enjoying the parks in the nearby community.
Givat Shmuel officials insisted this was not so, adding that Bnei Brak has not built a sufficient number of parks, and this leads to overcrowding in their community, which is unfair to residents during the summer vacation. They added the closure was only during certain hours each day, and not a total ban on outsiders benefiting from the parks.
Deri spoke with Givat Shmuel Mayor Yossi Barduni on Wednesday morning, 28 Tammuz, and they reached an understanding by which Ramon Park and Elkana Park will not be closed to non-residents as originally announced, but they will remain open to all wishing to visit.
The mayor however explained the problem to Deri, detailing the situation becomes untenable when outsiders come in large numbers, leaving the parks jammed without space for movement. He explains that community residents are unable to enjoy the parks in their own community as a result.
Deri also authorized the construction of nine new parks/gardens in Bnei Brak, tapping into the budget of the Ministry of Galil & Negev Development. He promises spacious facilities for the benefit of residents.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)