The Yerushalayim Municipality is planning to invest NIS 4 million in the construction of a mikvah (in Ma’ale Hazeitim, a Jewish neighborhood located within the Arab neighborhood of Silwan.
The major investment has puzzled certain municipality officials due to the fact that the Jewish neighborhood includes only 105 families.
Yerushalayim Councilman Aryeh King, who lives in the neighborhood, says the closest mikvah 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 tevillah 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 mikvah due to security restrictions which make it difficult to reach Ma’ale Hazeitim.
The Yerushalayim Municipality offered the following response: “The municipality builds ritual baths across the city according to fixed criteria, including the number of families using the mikvah and the distance to an existing mikvah.
“The planned mikvah 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 mikvah in the nearby area and therefore the need to build one.”