An ultra-Orthodox only building project has published ads for people to buy apartments. The problem; the ads state that the purchase of an apartment is subject to approval by a selection committee – something which is illegal under Israeli law.
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The 82 units are being built in Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem in a housing project called Pninat Reches.
The ultra-Orthodox in charge of the project claim that this selection process is a known process, and say that although buyers need to get approval from the community where they are moving to, it is an informal process, but still stated as a condition.
Despite speaking to a sales representative for the project, it is still unclear as to who will be sitting on the selection committee. At first it was claimed that the selection committee will be comprised of rabbis who live in the area, while at other times the sales representatives said that they themselves would be the ones who would decide who gets to buy the apartments.
Menachem Zibland, the man marketing the project, said that this will be done "so that certain people, similar to people in the center of the country, will understand that this is an ultra-Orthodox area only." Zibland added that the selection committee will ensure that only "good, quality, ultra-Orthodox families" will be able to buy apartments.
When a prospective buyer asked a sales representative what type of people will be living in the project, he was told "naturally, there will be older people living here as these are expensive apartments. There will be fewer young Yeshiva students. They will be good families."
When asked again, the sales representative said "if you are asking directly, there won't be a lot of Sephardic Jews."
Zibland said that the sales people are making sure that everyone who wants to buy an apartment in the building project observe Shabbat.
"Everyone is welcome to buy," he said. "The add mentioning the selection committee is a mistake made by the publishers of the advertisements. The doors are open to any buyer."
Meanwhile, Interior Minister and Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri has gone to the building project organizers and has demanded the dismissal of the salesperson who promised that there will be a limited number of Sephardic families.
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