The major investment has puzzled certain municipality officials due to the fact that the Jewish neighborhood includes only 105 families.
Jerusalem Councilman Aryeh King, who lives in the neighborhood, says the closest mikveh is located in the Jewish Quarter, and Ma'ale Hazeitim's residents are having trouble reaching it. According to King, the neighborhood has been attacked with stones and Molotov cocktail in recent month and any attempt to leave the compound is considered dangerous.
But why do 105 families need such an investment?
"We are talking about a religious neighborhood. All its residents, both men and women, require ritual bath services. In addition, there are construction plans for the neighborhood, which include an addition of dozens of housing units," King explained.
Left-wing opposition members slammed the municipality for allotting so much money for an isolated neighborhood, arguing that residents of nearby neighborhoods won’t be able to use the mikveh due to security restrictions which make it difficult to reach Ma'ale Hazeitim.
The Jerusalem Municipality offered the following response: "The municipality builds ritual baths across the city according to fixed criteria, including the number of families using the mikveh and the distance to an existing mikveh.
"The planned mikveh will serve the residents of Ma'ale Hazeitim, the Yemenite neighborhood (in Silwan), the Judea and Samaria district and the residents of Kidmat Zion (in Abu Dis), and we are talking about hundreds of families. In addition, there is no other mikveh in the nearby area and therefore the need to build one."