Ra'anana and Herzliya appeal against water corporation law

The cities of Ra'anana and Herzliya have appealed to the Supreme Court against a law that takes the management of water and sewerage services out of municipal hands and gives it to a professional water corporation instead, reports www.local.co.il. The two cities say that their efficient and professional management of municipal finances and water services justifies their being given an exemption from the requirement, and have asked for an interim order to allow them to continue to manage their own water services until the appeal is heard. According to the report, the 2001 Water and Sewerage Corporation Law requires local authorities to set up independent water corporations to manage each city's water and sewerage services. The report said that although these corporations are ostensibly owned by the cities, in reality they are controlled by private interests. The law allows the Interior Minister (currently Meir Sheetrit), with the agreement of the Finance Ministry and the Knesset's Finance Committee, to grant cities exemptions from the corporation requirement in special circumstances. But Ra'anana and Herzliya are arguing that the law does not state clearly what criteria constitute special circumstances, and say that in any case their responsible and efficient financial management, and their proper management of water services, should justify exemptions for them. They have asked the court for an interim order to allow them to continue managing their own water services until the case is heard. No response from the Interior Ministry was reported, and no date for a court hearing was given.