City of Ariel

Archive for September, 2005|Monthly archive page

Netzarim, Sharon and Elections

In Ariel City, National on September 11, 2005 at 12:04 pm

Dear Friends,

The Jewish New Year, a period of introspection and reckoning is upon us and I thought it would be most appropriate if I took the time to give each of you – friends of Ariel – an update on what’s happening here from a personal perspective.

1. As the unilateral disengagement became a harsh reality, the leadership of the College of Judea and Samaria opened their vacant dormitories to the people of Netzarim, victims of Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza. These dormitories -mobile homes that are not needed until classes resume in November – were once the temporary homes Ariel provided for Russian immigrants. When permanent homes became available for the new immigrants, I gave these mobile units to the College. Now some of them will be temporary refuge for the people of Netzarim.

The City of Ariel was delighted to receive these homeless families. When the buses arrived in Ariel, I studied the faces of those that disembarked – confused, hurting, exhausted. They held babies in their arms and came with almost nothing of their own.

Thousands of residents of Ariel waited to receive these modern heroes, singing songs and clearly displaying their love and respect for these wonderful people. The residents of Netzarim are people of faith. They believed right to the last second that this terrible evacuation would not take place and so they did not prepare for the move. Ariel residents welcomed them – 77 families with over 350 children under the age of 15 – with refreshments, diapers, formula, linens, towels, washers and driers, housewares, anything that would ease their acclimation to this new environment.

The people who lived in Netzarim are a special breed, devoted Zionists, spiritual, united, educated, determined to continue to contribute to the Jewish homeland. We are hoping that they will decide to stay in Ariel. At the beginning of September, I met with them to discuss their future here. They have a number of cities courting them and many options to consider, including building a new city in the Negev and starting a new neighborhood on a new hilltop in Ariel.

We expect the people of Netzarim to make their decision shortly after the High Holidays. Even if they decide to rebuild their lives in Ariel, it is still a long process. It could take up to 6 months for the government to set up a temporary neighborhood for them and then, they would have to live there for 2-3 years until a permanent neighborhood could be planned and built. We have taken them to the area we suggest, in Ariel West.  There, we have the necessary approvals to build and to create the kind of neighborhood that would meet their needs.

Whatever their decision, we want to help them in rebuild their homes and families, overcome the terrible trauma they have endured and triumph over the tragedy that befell them.

One thing is certain. These incredible people have won the respect and admiration of all of Israel. They kept their faith and never wavered in their belief. In the end, they abided by the law of the land and left their homes quietly, respectfully, with no violence. And their spirit has not been broken. They still seek to fulfill the Zionist challenge and strengthen our homeland.

I would be proud to call them residents of Ariel.

2. The building of the security fence around Ariel and the Ariel bloc of communities continues. During his recent visit to Ariel, Prime Minister Sharon stressed his policy that the Ariel Bloc would ever remain an integral part of Israel and that no further disengagement would take place. Moreover, he promised to strengthen the large and developed areas of settlement – like Ariel. He has already seen to the approval of building permits for thousands of housing units in Ariel and I am hoping he will strengthen our area in many other ways, as well.

3. The new Sports & Recreation Complex is progressing nicely. We have already invested over $3 million in tennis courts, a fitness center and this main building that will house an indoor pool, activity rooms of all kinds, sports facilities and so much more. We still need some $2 million to complete the project and open this vital service to the people of Ariel in 2006. If you can help us complete this project, I would be so grateful. The people of Ariel deserve your support.

4. Israel is preparing for new elections. The photos and reports of the withdrawal that were in the Israel media 24/7 this summer shook up the Israeli public and the political system. I believe we’ll see national elections earlier than planned. The choices we make now may very well shape the future of Israel.

As always, here in the Land of Israel, we are facing interesting times. Let us hope that the New Year will bring to all of Israel and to you and your families the blessings of peace, good health, prosperity and joy.


Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel