Gafne & Others Hold a Secret Meeting with Petach Tikvah Mayor Greenberg

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The chairman of the Yahadut Hatorah party, MK Moshe Gafne, who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee, held a secret meeting with Tel Aviv Mayor Rami Greenberg, attending by other representatives as well, hoping to reach an understanding towards ending the tensions between City Hall and the local chareidi tzibur.

Just two weeks ago, Greenberg was brought to Bnei Brak for a meeting with HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita. There was an air of optimism following that meeting, perhaps a bit too premature.

A meeting took place in the mayor’s office last week, reported by a local Petach Tikvah newspaper; attended by Gafne, the local head of the party, Eliyahu Bruchi and Yisrael Friedman of Agudas Yisrael. They are both councilmen serving on the Petach Tikvah City Council.

According to the local newspaper report, the meeting was at the behest of Gafne, who was “trying to break the ice” between the sides following the mayor’s sanctions on educational institutions affiliated with the litvish stream.

“I am asking you not to relocate five kindergartens affiliated with Agudas Yisrael on Hamoreh Yarkoni Street, and to relocate them to Chafetz Chaim and Haorim Streets”, Gafne said the chareidi tzibur in the city feels like the mayor is taking revenge on them due to the actions of Degel Hatorah and Agudas Yisrael, both not supporting Greenberg’s election bid. Shas however did back Greenberg in the last municipal election.

While Gafne was optimistic after Greenberg visited with Rav Kanievsky, when he was seeking a bracha, that feeling was short-lived, as the mayor responded to Gafne’s request; “Concentrating a chareidi population in the city center and the surrounding area makes like difficult and damages the environmental fabric of the area”.

Gafne also asked the mayor refrain from plans to harm the yeshivos gedolos including Pe’er Moshe, Nachlas David and Ohr Yisrael, headed by HaGaon Rav Yigal Rosen, as the rav has a long-standing personal quarrel with him.

Gafne, according to the report, was surprised to hear from the mayor just how much he invests in the city’s population, including the one he represents. “I presented him with facts and made him understand that the picture painted for him is not the truth” the mayor is quoted saying.

“There has not been any change by Greenberg regarding the chareidim in the city, as compared to Shas, which benefits from Greenberg and his administration since the party supported his mayoral bid” he is quoted telling Chareidim10 News.

Chareidim10 adds that when Greenberg arrived in Bnei Brak, he waited outside a long time and Gafne gave the word to bring him into Rav Kanievsky in order to avoid embarrassing him, and thereby giving him a reason to take out his anger against the chareidi tzibur in his city. “L’chatchila, whomever had the idea to bring him to Rashbam Street made a mistake!”.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)