Thousands of chareidi families planning to settle in the future city of Charish were deeply disappointed to learn late Thursday that the bid submitted by the organization representing them was disqualified by a government committee.
The United Chareidi Housing Committee of Charish, an umbrella group representing 12 non-profit organizations, saw its bid rejected after the anti-chareidi opposition filed a complaint that UCHCC had broken the regulations of the tender.
UCHCC representatives maintained that the bids were perfectly legal, and that they had consulted experts in the field every step of the way. Lawyers for the committee were looking into their legal options.
Nevertheless, the legal counsel to the Israel Land Administration, after consulting with the Attorney General, saw fit to sustain the complaint and disqualified the UCHCC’s bid.
Thus, the years-long struggle to build a chareidi city in Charish was thrown into jeopardy on a legal technicality. In the meantime, rights to build in Charish were awarded to other parties, including another chareidi non-profit, several builders who are willing to build for chareidim, a secular non-profit seeking to bring secular residents to the city, and a national religious group.
However, as Hamodia (Hebrew edition) noted in an editorial on Sunday, “the decision was not merely technical, but fraught with serious implications. It is impossible to escape the impression that someone here has taken it upon himself to thwart the dream of building a chareidi city in Charish.”
Housing Minister Ariel Attias (Shas), who had spearheaded the tenders, expressed the hope that the latest obstacle will be overcome and that Charish will in the end be a place where chareidi families can find affordable housing.