Chareidi Coalition Members Fired From Beit Shemesh Council

The Beit Shemesh municipality. (Revach Hakafot)

The deputy mayors of Beit Shemesh and members of the coalition from the Agudas Yisrael, Degel HaTorah and Likud parties were fired Sunday due to a crisis that erupted within the municipal coalition, the mayor of Beit Shemesh, Dr. Aliza Bloch, announced.

Bloch described the move as “abolishing the delegation of powers to a number of councilors,” but city officials say it is an unprecedented decision that will lead to the final dissolution of the coalition. The background to the mayor’s decision is an crisis of confidence that has erupted between the parties. During council meetings held in recent days, council members voted against budgets and bylaws that the mayor was trying to pass.

City officials said Sunday morning that due to the mayor’s decision, all coalition members are expected to resign later in the day. In the coming hours, council members will hold a press conference announcing their steps.

At the same time, a senior in Bloch’s team is trying to cool the storm down a bit. “You can calm the spirits,” he said. “Only a month ago, the 2021 budget passed, so there is at least another year until the deadline for the next budget, at which time the coalition will be reconstituted. One thing is for sure – this is a necessary move. In the current situation it was impossible to run a city.”

Announcing the dismissal of coalition members, Bloch said: “Out of responsibility for the future of the city and its residents, I can not allow further harm to the city by those who have authority and no responsibility. A reality in which deputy mayors and councilors hurt and prevent thousands of city students from entering classrooms, both in the Old City, in Ramat Beit Shemesh 4 and in Neve Shamir, are irresponsible.

“A reality in which councilors do not allow proper work for the municipality’s wings is not acceptable to me. The perception of the common good will continue to lead me but with true partners and not alongside coalition members who run as opposition,” the mayor added.

In a letter to council members, Bloch blamed those fired for harming the development of the city of Beit Shemesh. “Beit Shemesh is a city of communities that seek to uphold the right to live with dignity in the community alongside each other,” she wrote to council members. “From the day I took office as mayor, I sought to place at the center of the discourse of the city’s elected officials the issue of the common good and the shared responsibility for the future of the city.”

“From a common vision and the future vision of the city of Beit Shemesh, I entrusted you with various powers. The purpose of depositing the powers was to strengthen and develop the city of Beit Shemesh in various areas,” she wrote. “Recently,” Bloch slammed council members, “in a number of circumstances, you have chosen to act in a manner that fatally harms these targets, a harm that could harm the development of the city of Beit Shemesh.”

“I made this decision with a heavy heart and out of responsibility for the future of the city of Beit Shemesh,” Bloch concludes her letter. “I continue to see the path of partnership and the common good idea as a worldview in the management of the city. My door is open and my ears are attentive to those who want to take part in it out of true intent.”

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