A new company opened by the son-in-law of former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky aims to legalize unauthorized kindergartens operating in private apartments in the capital and allow them to continue their activities.
Tzvika Lener recently opened an office for obtaining permits for kindergartens in Jerusalem. He was joined by another worker from the Degel Hatorah movement's offices in the Geula neighborhood.
A source in the office says it will operate under "Kadima", another company owned by Lener, and will focus its activities on legitimizing kindergartens located in private apartments and allow them to continue operating in the same place legally with the proper permits. Lener hopes to prevent the evacuation of these institutions by the authorities and to continue the municipality's financing of their activities.
The office currently handles 120 ultra-Orthodox kindergartens in Jerusalem and is trying to make them legal in the eyes of the law. The workers refuse to say how much money the kindergartens are paying for their legitimization, but note that the payment is derived from the amount of work required with the municipality.
A source in one of the biggest kindergarten network noted, however, that they are paying some NIS 9,000 (about $2,420) per institution.
According to the workers, the office's clients include the biggest haredi kindergarten networks, including "Etz Hadaat", "Kiryat Yeled" and "Beit Yaakov", which together own hundreds of kindergartens across the capital.
Lener, who is in his 30s, worked until recently in the health industry in the haredi sector. A few months ago, he founded the "Kadima" company (no connection to the party).
Many proceduresAn assistant director-general in one of the kindergarten networks says the services offered by the new office require many procedures. "Each approval of an apartment with a kindergarten must receive the consent of all neighbors. There are places where you must ask the approval of 300 tenants, and we don't have the time to do that.
"We must then approach the Planning and Building Committee, give them the forms and wait for the longed for permit. Lener has succeeded with all our kindergartens, and is doing a very efficient job, although the sum we are paying him is not so high."
According to the official, there are nearly 180 municipal kindergartens in Jerusalem operating without approval. Efforts to approve them have been sped up recently due to the insistence of the municipality's legal advisor.
"You must understand that the Jerusalem Municipality hardly approves new kindergartens despite the natural growth, so we are forced to first open a kindergarten and then receive approval for it after there are more than 10 children in the apartment."