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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘periphery’

Secular Israeli Parents Say Religious Summer Camps ‘A Better Deal’

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Secular Israeli parents are enrolling their children in Orthodox Jewish summer camps this year, despite the dress code requirements.

The reason? It’s just a better deal.

Prices for summer camps in Israel are soaring, with fees for the typical municipal program costing as much NIS 3,000 for even the youngest campers in the kindergarten “bunks.”

In the religiously observant summer camps, children are required to dress modestly; girls wear skirts and sleeves, and boys wear yarmulkas. A resident of Bat Yam interviewed by the Hebrew-language Mynet website said it was a matter of being practical. “Instead of paying 3,000 shekels for a daughter at an urban camp I pay 450 shekels,” he said. “What does it matter if the child needs to go with a skirt? If the secular summer camps want us, they have to cut prices.”

In accordance with the Ministry of Development of the Periphery and the Galilee, a certain percentage of the students are entitled to subsidized municipal camp scholarships. But many families are not entitled to these benefits and face skyrocketing costs in having to find ways to keep their children busy during the hot summer months.

For working parents, that dilemma is a nightmare. “When I opened the envelope with the registration form for the municipal summer camp for my children I was horrified,” Natalie S. told JewishPress.com. A resident of the northern Negev development town of Arad, she and her husband both work full time.

“There was no way that I and my husband could afford more than 2,000 shekels per child for each of our two toddlers for a two-week program this summer, and to keep the kids home was simply not an option,” she said. “It’s not fair. How do people do this, and what are we supposed to do with them the rest of the summer? How am I supposed to keep my job while we figure this out?”

In Bat Yam, a number of secular families decided the solution lay in a network of private hareidi-religious summer camps where the fee was barely a fifth of the price. One of the parents interviewed by Mynet declined to reveal the name of the camp, fearing their children would be rejected, since they did not share their secular beliefs with the camp.

“I am sure the director knows the truth and there are many families like ours,” the parent said.

One of the camps operated in the city this summer is Bnei Zion, associated with the Sephardic religious Shas party and designed for school-age girls. The tuition is NIS 450 for a three-week session, including Fridays, according to the camp’s director, Yosef Rachamim. The program includes field trips, inflatables, a trip to the Jaffa port, a picnic, a barbecue, swimming pool time and other attractions.

Hana Levi Julian

Negev Loses Airport Night Trains

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Residents of southern Israel – particularly those living in the periphery communities in the Negev – will no longer have the option of taking the train to and from the airport after 11:00 p.m.

A spokesperson for Israel Railways told The Jewish Press on Thursday morning the service just didn’t pay for itself. “The government and the railway company made the decision together,” said the spokesperson, who added the figures totaled only an average of five or six riders per night on the line. “It wasn’t cost effective.”

Instead, it was decided the Metropoline Bus Service will take over the route, she said. Bus #469 will begin at the Arlozorov station in Tel Aviv and then make a stop at the airport, travel to Kiryat Gat and then go to the central bus station in Be’er Sheva.

That’s a solution for folks who live in the city of Be’er Sheva itself, perhaps – but what about those who live in the small periphery towns where bus service doesn’t exist overnight?

“Tough luck, baby,” said one consumer. “We’re stuck with paying hundreds of shekels for travel after 11 pm, just like we always have – and that after first spending hours traveling to the other cities just to get a little closer. Instead of paying NIS 600 to get home, I end up paying NIS 300 from Be’er Sheva, but spend three more hours after a 12-hour flight and another hour or more in baggage claims. Forget it.”

The Negev region comprises 60 percent of the nation’s land mass – but its travel network has yet to be developed to the point that even half of its communities have any access to railway service at all.

When asked why there is still no railway branch route to Arad, for example — while Dimona, a city of similar size and population, has had one for several years – the spokesperson for Israel Railways could not find a reason. Arad, a ‘clean air’ resort town located about 45 minutes east of Be’er Sheva and 25 minutes west of the Dead Sea, is in the midst of a major development boom due to the expansion of Route 31, which runs between the two points.

The Nevatim air base is located near Route 31 – described in Hebrew media as ‘death road’ due to the high number of motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred along the highway — as is the Nahal army base at Tel Arad.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel to Vacate ‘All’ IDF Bases in Central Region

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Israel plans to vacate all its bases in the central region in the coming months, according to Harel Locker, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, who has been tasked with the goal in order to streamline the military system.

Locker made the statement at Tuesday’s Globes-BDO Ziv Haft Capital Market Conference, saying budget cuts for the defense establishment had forced the move.

Last week the IDF warned it was halting air force training and non-active flights, as well as all non-active training programs for career and reserve personnel due to the budget cuts imposed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid.) The drastic measures came following the ministry’s refusal to infuse additional funds into defense coffers which had already been approved in a special vote by the Cabinet in October. The squabble over funds comes at a time when a new unity government between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization has been re-established under the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and terrorism against Israel is on the rise on both sides of the 1949 Armistice line (also known as the “Green Line” or “pre-1967” line.)

“All of the land on which IDF bases between Haifa and Be’er Sheva” are located would be up for sale, Locker said – effectively raising money for defense through the capital markets rather than earmarking funds in the state budget.

“This sort of government investment will contribute to economic activity in the market. It will also free up land for more than 100,000 housing units in high-demand areas in central Israel,” he noted.

In addition, Locker claimed the move towards the northern and southern periphery would boost the economy in those areas. “Tens of thousands of career officers and soldiers will work, live, buy and enrich” those regions, he claimed.

However, so far the move by the air force to the periphery doesn’t seem to have done much other than create havoc on roads in the south that were never built to accommodate the increased amount of traffic. The construction project to widen and develop the area around the Nevatim air force base, meanwhile – particularly the reconstruction of Route 31 from the Shoqet Junction near Be’er Sheva to Arad – has turned the entire northeastern Negev upside down for more than a year, with little to show for it other than more vehicular accidents.

Locker said the state would fund the project through sales of the land on which the bases are now located – “the most expensive lands in high demand areas… for tens of billions of shekels.” He said he was turning to the business community gathered at the conference for extra-budgetary financing of the project – “financial institutions, banks and other entities.” He added that he hoped to complete the process “within a few weeks.”

Rachel Levy

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-to-vacate-all-idf-bases-in-central-region/2014/06/03/

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