The conflict between the non-frum and chareidi community in Kiryat HaYovel appears to be intensifying. The latest round of dispute surrounds sixty-four 55 square meter apartments in two buildings owned by Hebrew University. The small apartments were once dormitories and the buildings are now up for sale. Chareidim are interested, along with a plan to refurbish them by making each apartment one-third larger.
Hearing about the tender for the purchase of the homes, the chareidi community began fundraising, working to raise the cash to close the deal with the realization it could provide modest housing for dozens of families at an affordable price. Opposing the effort by chareidim to acquire the properties is the ‘Ruach Chadasha’ organization. One of the main figures in the organization happens to be Jerusalem Councilman (Yisrael Tatzliach) Yakir Segev, Mayor Nir Barkat’s party. Segev wishes to offer inexpensive housing for university students who are planning to leave the city because of the unaffordable housing, thereby working to fulfill his party’s election promises while blocking the growing chareidi population in the community. Nissim Peretz, who heads the community council, supports the move, to accommodate students and to prevent the houses from turning chareidi. The Parzot Company is also competing in the tender for the buildings.
Interestingly, it appears most of the secular residents are not as opposed as the media would make it appear. The community council’s activist list includes 400 email addresses, yet only about 10% of the secularists are turning out for their counter Kabalat Shabbat program, prompting the decision to move it to a bi-weekly event.
According to the tender published by Hebrew U. in The Marker, there are 25,000 residents in Kiryat Yovel, and about 30% of them are members of the chareidi community.
City Hall reports that in 5769, the neighborhood has 6,904 families, and even if one would include the students of Yeshivat Har HaMor in the “chareidi” category, they barely comprise 10% of the community.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)