Thursday, September 01, 2011

Jerusalem Post: School Daze - Beit Shemesh school controversy

Sir, – Your article missed several facts that are critical to understanding the issues in Beit Shemesh.

First, the school building in question is the second in a two building lot. The existing building is the Orot boys’ school. The Education Ministry’s plan was that the two Orot schools be together.

Second, the area in question is not in the middle of an ultra- Orthodox neighborhood. Orot would not want such a location.

The area is on the edge of Beit Shemesh, connected to several mixed-population neighborhoods and a lot of Anglo immigrants. It also abuts the ultra-Orthodox area of Ramat Beit Shemesh. But while Ramat Beit Shemesh is in many areas growing into adjacent fields, the Anglo neighborhoods of Beit Shemesh have nowhere else nearby to build a school.

Third, the general population of Beit Shemesh has not opposed the building of ultra-Orthodox schools, and many such schools have opened up in Ramat Beit Shemesh. All that is being asked is that the areas right near Beit Shemesh be used for the natural growth of the general population.

[Final line I wrote that was edited out for space:  Beit Shemesh is a city with a lot of different constituencies, and except for a few hundred extremists, all could live together in peace. We all call on the Major and City Council to stop extremism right now, and do whatever is needed to prevent violence.]

Beit Shemesh

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