Harish was supposed to be a new city for all Israelis. But Israel's haredi controlled Housing and Construction Ministry tried to cook the books to favor hardim and drive out other interested buyers. Now a secular group has formed to fight back where it counts most – in new apartments.
Secular Group Forms To Block Haredi Control Of New Israeli City
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The battle over the character of the new Israeli city of Harish has moved from a war of words to actual (but nonviolent) action.
The Israeli business daily Globes reports that a secular buyers group is organizing to bid in tenders for lots in the new city of Harish.
The city was supposed to be developed for a mixed population and it’s current residents are split between a majority of secular residents and a minority of Zionist Orthodox.
But Israel’s haredi-controlled housing ministry zoned the lots for high density residences and designed those residences to accommodate haredi families and discourage non-haredim from purchasing apartments.
Enter Israeli businessman Israel Avital and Jerusalem real estate broker Assaf Hubara, who set up a building association to bid on Hareish tenders. They have reportedly received hundreds of requests in the past week for more information about the new development, many via the Facebook page of Liberated Harish, and have already signed up 50 buyers.
"The tenders are open to everyone, and there is a severe housing shortage which we are constantly complaining about. Now we have a one-time opportunity to buy an apartment at cost prices, a new apartment in a new town. Why not enjoy the prices?" Hubara told Globes.
“You can call this Zionism, but my objective is to reside at a reasonable price, not to mortgage myself forever. NIS 4,000 a month for 20 years - a young couple can't afford that,” Avital, who plans to live and raise his children in Harish, reportedly said. "We want to enjoy low prices such as there were in Modi'in and Shoham when they started out. All that has to be done now is to solve the problem of the population and bring as many secular people as possible."
Avital and Hubara turned over the management of the project to Bemuna Ltd., a Zionist-Orthodox-run real estate company which already manages several projects in Harish, because it has a proven track record.