Monday, September 1, 2014

Shas takes Ethiopian Shul while the Ethiopians were serving in Gaza!

When the heads of the shul serving the Ethiopian community of Kiryat Gat returned from Operation Protective Edge they were shocked to learn their Beis Knesses was given away to a chareidi nonprofit, affiliated with Shas. The shul leaders were among the tens of thousands called up to emergency military service and when they returned it became clear to them that they lost their shul.

According to a Srugim News report, Moshe Solomon, a leading figure in the city’s Ethiopian community  received a notice, a couple of months ago, for a 70,000 shekel debt to the electric company.
 “The building is the city’s and the latter is responsible to pay the electric bill. After a few days, without any notice, the electricity was turned off”.

Moshe and his colleagues tried their best, turning to Israel Electric Company to get the power turned on. Officials explained to them they did not initiate the cutting off of the service to the shul but a request was received from Kiryat Gat City Hall to turn off the power.

Moshe then turned to City Hall in the hope of reaching the truth and having the power restored. He also asked to have the building transferred to the nonprofit that runs the shul since the structure was built to serve as a shul for the Ethiopian community. 

Moshe explains, to his sorrow, that nothing was done to assist him and the kehilla. He explained that the community could not raise the funds to pay the electric bill since they just used the money they had, to refurbish the shul.

Moshe adds that Deputy Mayor Shulamit Salu is a member of the local Ethiopian community but she too did not appear willing to assist him and the kehilla. He insists she signed the letter that was sent to Israel Electric asking to have service cut off. He accuses her to spearheading the campaign against them because she has “her own agenda”.

“At the end, we paid the debt with 10 post-dated checks of 10,000 shekels, hoping we would raise the money one month at a time to cover the checks."

However Moshe’s troubles did not end. He explains that a day after the electric debt was paid, the shul was handed over to a chareidi nonprofit affiliated with Shas. He admits they learned of the city’s actions too late and were therefore unable to take action to prevent it. Letters went unanswered and they found themselves without anyone of authority willing to assist.

Moshe emphasizes it did not end there, for city officials arrived to change the locks to keep Moshe and his kehilla out. 
“We arrived for minyan and we couldn’t get in” he explained. “I simply cannot understand the hate, davka now, in Elul”.

When asked to comment, Deputy Mayor Salu told Srugim that the shul was unable to pay its electric bill which it was responsible to pay and this compelled the city to act. She denies allegations of prejudice or hate towards the local Ethiopian community. She added that the shul had many other problems pertaining to the proper running of the shul, seeking to justify her actions.

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