(Click HERE to see pictures) Yeshivaworld received the following, disturbing email late Wednesday night:
Dear YW Editor: Cheftziba Construction Company in Israel has gone bankrupt. They sold tens of thousands of apartments still under construction in Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Sefer. Askanim have asked all people who purchased apartments there, and whose apartments are not just on paper but partly built, to move into the apartment TONIGHT before the banks take possession of the buildings. Askanim who are on site say that it’s an unbelievable balagan. There are many families involved, such as my my son with his wife and six children, who sold his tiny two and a half room apartment to purchase a larger one in Kiryat Sefer, and might now be left with nothing except enormous debts.
If I sound a bit exhausted, it’s because I am. I, together with thousands of other families, have been on the phone all night, and saying Tehillim, and running to Beit Shemesh or Kiryat Sefer.
Additional email received Thursday morning: Fifteen complexes throughout the country are being taken by the bank. Most people had no bank guarantee for their mortgages. We were being pressured by both the bank and the company to take out the mortgage for our daughter’s apartment and told that if not, we’d have to pay enormous fines, but refused to do it until we received the bank guarantee, so we only lost the down payment on my daughter’s dira, and not the entire cost of the dira. But thousands of families are left with enormous mortgages and no apartment. My son entered an apartment that had never been sold and is now living there, 24/7 with his family. He’s hoping that at least he’ll end up with that instead of nothing. Since his apartment is just concrete walls without doors etc., and since it’s unlivable, the government won’t see him as really living there. But we’re lucky. Some chashuva large Yerushalmi families lost 4-5 apartments, and will now end up paying those mortgages for the rest of their lives.
An investigation by “Globes” has discovered that Heftsiba Building Development & Investments Ltd. has NIS 800 million in debts, including NIS 460 million owed to suppliers. This figure does not include the company’s bonds. Hundreds of families have invaded apartments that the company built in Modi’in Ilit, a new haredi (ultra-orthodox) town, worried about Heftsiba’s liquidity.
In addition, hundreds of company employees, who have not been paid for months, were notified that the company is bankrupt. At 6 am today, security guards, apparently hired by Heftsiba’s receiver, arrived at the building site to ensure that no construction material would be stolen.