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Ramat Sharett residents angry over yeshivas
By MELANIE LIDMAN
07/02/2013
Residents of mixed religious/secular neighborhood in Jerusalem are furious over the approval of 3 yeshivas in their neighborhood.
 
Residents of the mixed religious/secular neighborhood of Ramat Sharett in Jerusalem are furious over the municipality’s approval of three yeshivas on the edge of their neighborhood at last week’s city council meeting.

On Thursday, the residents will hold a planning meeting with City Councilor Rachel Azaria (Yerushalmim) to try and submit a petition to the city’s Administrative Court to stop the yeshiva’s creation.

Last week, the City Council approved the creation of three yeshivas for haredi students on the border between the haredi neighborhood of Bayit Vegan and the mixed neighborhood of Ramat Sharett.

Azaria said this was an attempt to “blur the borders” between the haredi neighborhood and the surrounding area in order to make it easier for haredim to spread non-haredi areas.

“Jerusalem's neighborhoods are diverse and complex, that’s our city’s beauty,” Azaria said on Wednesday.

“Therefore, the declared city policy is to allocate public land and resources for the needs of each neighborhood’s residents in order to preserve its character. Ramat Sharett is a pluralistic neighborhood, with secular and modern orthodox working families. That’s why I was surprised to learn of the plan to build three haredi yeshivot on a public lot, a plan that seems intended to turn Ramat Sharett into a haredi neighborhood.”

A city spokeswoman said that the lot, in Kochav Square, is located in Bayit Vegan and not Ramat Sharett and it is the only place that the city can build classrooms in the area. The spokeswoman also said that the city is desperately trying to build the approximately 1,000 classrooms lacking in the capital for all segments of the population.

The haredi sector in particular has a large lack of classrooms.

“The municipality policy in the current tenure is building public institutions and educational buildings in neighborhoods from all segments of the population, and not in neighborhoods where residents are from another sector,” the spokeswoman said.

She stressed the city’s decision to cancel yeshivas planned for the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood, another mixed secular/religious neighborhood, after residents objected to the “haredization” of their neighborhood.

Instead, the Secular Yeshiva, currently located in Ein Kerem, will move to Kiryat Hayovel.

Haredi city council members in charge of haredi education in the city would not return repeated calls for comment.

In the past, City Councilor Yitzhak Pindrus, who holds the haredi education portfolio, has highlighted the severe lack of classrooms for the city’s haredi students.
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