Protestant mission to replace community center

Senior church leader Bishop Riah Abu Al-Asal said the church had dreamed for years of building a community center in Haifa.

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY
December 23, 2007 08:20
1 minute read.

 
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A controversy is brewing over plans to close down a community center for needy youngsters in the Hadar area and replace it with a Protestant mission, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. The land is privately owned by businessman Israel Feig, who has allowed a local non-profit organization to use it as a community center for hundreds of needy children over the past five years. According to the report, Feig is currently in the final stages of negotiating the sale of the 1,000-square-meter block of land on Rehov Hanevi'im to the Protestant church. Feig reportedly tried for several years to sell the land to the city of Haifa without success, and for the past five years has allowed it to be used by a local non-profit organization for the benefit of needy children and teenagers. The center provides art and sporting activities and even meals for dozens of youngsters from troubled and impoverished families of all religions. "I am a private businessman, although I work for the benefit of the community... and the offer from the mission was serious," Feig said. The church is reportedly paying somewhere between $350,000 and $390,000 for the land, and is already planning a Christmas party as its first event at the site. The current children's activities are expected to end by mid-January. Senior church leader Bishop Riah Abu Al-Asal said the church had dreamed for years of building a community center in Haifa, and was hopeful the sale would soon be finalized. He said the center would be open to all, but other sources speculated it would be open "only to those who identify with the values of the church."

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