Beit Shemesh neighborhood (archives)
Beit Shemesh can become the Housing Ministry's flagship, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias (Shas) said last week during a meeting with Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul and municipality officials.
"We can lead the city forward and expand its boundaries, but it all depends on the extent of cooperation between the Beit Shemesh Municipality and the Housing Ministry," Atias said.
During the meeting, the minister noted that the city was at a very important crossroads.
"We have a special opportunity which does not come every day, as the joining of forces between the Housing Ministry and the Israel Land Administration can lead to a real revolution in the housing field in Beit Shemesh, and to the construction of thousands of housing units for young couples from all parts of society."
This was Atias' first official visit to a city since taking office, and his choice of Beit Shemesh was probably not a random one, although municipality officials insisted that the next projects would be open to the entire population.
In recent years the city, located near Jerusalem, has become a favored destination for the haredi population, and its supply of apartments is running out. Some 1,000 housing units are currently being built in the Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimel neighborhood and have all been sold, most of them to the haredi sector.
The city's expansion plan allows the construction of some 20,000 housing units.