"The plans have not been adapted to the secular population from the outset. Buyers will come and see neighborhoods planned with synagogues, mikvas, four-story buildings lacking elevators, and barely one parking space per unit. What business would they have here?" " Hemi Bar-Or, a Harish resident who leads the campaign to keep Harish an open city.
Despite Government’s Claims To The Contrary, New City “For All Israelis” Is Designed To Attract Haredim And Repel Everyone Else
Shmarya Rosenberg • Failedmessiah.com
Yesterday, the Israel Lands Administration announced tenders for the construction of 4,634 apartments in 29 housing complexes in the northern Israeli town of Harish, which is now a small town of 300 secular and Zionist Orthodox families.
However, residents of Harish are not happy.
Because they believe that haredi Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (Shas) has cooked the books and intends to flood the little town with tens of thousands of new haredi residents, according to a report in Ha’aretz.
On Sunday, Attias announced that Harish would be turned into into a city by adding another 10,300 housing units.
The government claims the new housing is for all Israelis. But residents of Harish insist that the way the city is being planned proves the government is lying.
The new housing will be low-rise apartments, eliminating the need for the special “Shabbat elevators” haredim now reject after recent haredi rabbinic rulings against them.
Three-room units are designed in such a way as to allow their easy conversion to five room units. (Three-room units are cheaper on initial sale, even if the square footage is identical to five-room units.)
Building finishes are lower grade and amenities secular Israelis favor are lacking. For example, there is no underground parking planned for the new housing and each unit is assigned only one parking space. Secular families are usually headed by two parents who both work outside the home, often making owning two cars a necessity. This is not true for haredi families.
Many of the new apartments will include staggered balconies built to allow residents of each unit to build their own ‘kosher’ sukkah – something most secular Israelis don’t care about.
And significantly more land is allotted for public buildings like schools, synagogue and mikvas than would be the case if the new housing was expected to serve a secular-Zionist Orthodox-haredi population mix.
"The plans have not been adapted to the secular population from the outset. Buyers will come and see neighborhoods planned with synagogues, mikvas, four-story buildings lacking elevators, and barely one parking space per unit. What business would they have here?" " Hemi Bar-Or, a Harish resident who leads the campaign to keep Harish an open city, told Ha’aretz.
Atias originally came up with the idea of turning Harish into a haredi town and tried to push it through the planning process by circumventing it entirely. Eventually, the government was forced to promise that the housing would be for everyone, not just haredim who are primarily linked to Shas.
Even so, at the end of last year the Israel Lands Administration published the plans for Harish on its website. Those plans reportedly stated that the goal for the project is "building a residential neighborhood with about 6,000 units ... with urban characteristics suited to a Haredi population."
Yesterday, Bentzi Lieberman, the head of the Israel Lands Administration, insisted that the new housing would be open to all Israelis regardless of affiliation.
But then Lieberman reportedly told Ha’aretz that, despite that professed openness, "perhaps, we'll see one population [haredim] gaining dominance in three months."