Hareidi City of Harish Gets Green Light, Approval Signed (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By David Lev and Chana Ya´ar 06/07/12)
INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS
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Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday signed off on the first
building project for the projected Hareidi Jewish city of Harish. The
project will include 6,000 units designed mostly for large families.
Prices are projected to be significantly more affordable than for
similar sized apartments in other large Hareidi communities, such as
Bnei Brak and Ramat Beit Shemesh.
Yishai presented the plan at a press conference Thursday. The plan
includes not only homes, but a wide array of services, such as
schools, shopping centers, and numerous synagogues. In many older
Hareidi neighborhoods, there was often a lack of planning for
synagogues, and in many areas congregants were forced to hold
services in bomb shelters and parking structures, because of a lack
of space. Also included are community centers and parks.
Transportation plans were also announced. Express buses will be
available to take residents to other large Hareidi communities. The
proximity of Highway 6, Yishai said, will ensure speedy
transportation to Jerusalem, Ashdod, Haifa, and other areas where
there are large communities. An emphasis has been placed on
environmental sensitivities, in light of the fact that the area where
Harish is to be built is largely rural. Environmentalists had opposed
the city´s construction because of concerns over possible damage to
the environment, while residents of the secular communities in the
area had opposed the city because they were afraid it would impact on
The biggest town in the area is the Arab city of Um el-Faham, and one
of the reasons Harish is being built in the ´Iron Valley´ – known in
Arabic as Wadi Ara – is to increase the Jewish population of a
strategic area of the country. The city has actually long been in the
planning stages, with the government years ago submitting plans for
the construction of a city of up to 250,000 residents in the region.
The idea of setting the city up as one for Hareidim is about five
years old, and after meetings with rabbinic and communal leaders,
Hareidi-religious groups expressed great interest in working with the
government to populate the city, in order to relieve the housing
shortage in the Hareidi community.
After an unsuccessful stint as a kibbutz, Harish was originally
intended as a town for the general Jewish population, but Arab riots
in 2000 frightened away potential home buyers.
A religious Zionist core group that has lived in Harish for more than
10 years is expected to remain, and several hundred homes are to be
allocated to religious Zionists as well, according to Rabbi Nissim
Dahan, head of the local authority.
Now that Yishai has officially approved building plans, contractors
are being invited to bid on tracts for building projects. “This is
the first level of development in Harish,” Yishai said. “We can
expect to see tractors here already in the fall, and within a year
there will be 2,500 housing units in Harish,” Yishai said. Thank G-d
we have been able to accomplish a major task – building a city in the
Land of Israel.” (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 06/07/12)
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