Kafr Kassem Mayor Adel Badir.
(photo credit: Ariel Ben Solomon)
The Arab city of Kafr Kasim has turned up the heat on the neighboring Jewish town of Rosh Ha’ayin in a dispute over its Afek industrial park.
Though located adjacent to the city, the park’s tax funds are paid to Rosh Ha’ayin.
Kafr Kasim Mayor Adel Badir has recently added traffic issues to the dispute, by complaining to the police about a new change in the traffic light times at the city’s main entrance, a change that causes the wait to be longer than usual, disrupting regular traffic to the city.
“This is the main entrance to the city and it has created an impossible situation. Those who seek to enter the town have to wait too long,” he said.
According to Badir, the traffic light times have recently changed to allow for a longer green light for the Afek industrial park, at the expense of the lights that regulate traffic into the Arab city.
Kafr Kasim hopes that Interior Minister Arye Deri will soon decide to distribute some of the property taxes that businesses in Afek pay to Rosh Ha’ayin.
In a January interview with The Jerusalem Post
, Badir explained the municipality needs more money to fund its growth plans which include paving all its roads, improving education, and other services.
Almost half of Kafr Kasim’s roads are unpaved and pot holes are scattered across many of the city’s streets.
One way the city has sought to boost its tax revenue is by seeking to obtain a share of revenue generated by the Afek industrial park.
Badir said that since the park is geographically closer to his city and creates high levels of traffic congestion at the city’s entrance, “it is only fair” for Kafr Kasim to receive some of an estimated NIS 45m. in tax revenue generated by Afek each year.
Rosh Ha’ayin has rejected suggestions of sharing Afek’s tax money with Kafr Kasim, Badir had said, adding that he is discussing the issue with the Interior Ministry and may take the case to court if these discussions fail to yield any progress.
“It is an incomprehensible situation,” said Badir, “Park Afek is located within the built area of Kafr Kasim, but all property taxes are paid to Rosh Ha’ayin, while the residents of Kafr Kasim are those who pay the price with huge traffic jams, air pollution and all the implications.”
However, for now, it appears the Kafr Kasim mayor is resorting to media pressure on the neighboring Jewish city.
The municipality also released a statement regarding the terrorist attack on Sunday, when a female terrorist from the Arab city stabbed a 30-year-old woman in the shoulder in Rosh Ha’ayin before being overpowered and disarmed.
The lightly wounded victim, a resident of Kfar Saba, was taken to Petah Tikva’s Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson.
Kafr Kasim City Council held an emergency meeting Sunday night following the attack in Rosh Ha’ayin, during which the municipality condemned the incident “in the strongest terms” and called “for an end to violence.”
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.