The Rimonim Galei Kinneret Hotel in Tiberias, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Incoming mayor of Tiberias Ron Kobi said on Sunday that he did not want any more haredim in the city, in comments to Army Radio that aroused fury amongst the haredi media and political leadership.
“I want the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] to continue to develop – outside of Tiberias,” he said during his interview on Sunday.
“At every point where I can stop construction for haredim, I will do so,” he continued.
“Tiberias cannot pass the 30% mark for haredim. I want Tiberias to be as it is now – 22% haredi.
“I am not against haredim – no one should claim this; there was a negative campaign against me from the haredi street that I am against haredim. The campaign was against the haredification of Tiberias from outside and against corruption,” he said.
Kobi said that he wanted Tiberias to be a “welcoming city,” bolster its tourist attractions and have “coffee shops
open on Shabbat.”
Increasing numbers of haredi families have moved into Tiberias in recent years seeking cheap housing outside of Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Israel’s central district.
This has led to tensions between the two populations, and Kobi was already known before the election campaign for his incendiary rhetoric, saying for instance in a visit to a haredi neighborhood earlier this year that “the haredi junta is devouring the state at our expense.”
United Torah Judaism MK Menachem Eliezer Moses denounced Kobi’s remarks and said they were antisemitic.
“Tiberias was haredi before you were even born – the great rabbis lived there,” retorted Moses in reference to the fact that many of the sages of the Talmudic era lived in the ancient city.
“Would you dare speak this way about Ethiopians or Russians? Your words are antisemitic!” said the MK.
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