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Daily Israel Report

Jewish Housing Project Again May End Up in Arab Hands

Jerusalem businessman Rami Levy says a dispute forced him to scrap deal to keep Jewish homes out of Arab hands.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/15/2011, 12:41 PM

Nof Tzion
Nof Tzion
Haggai Huberman

Jerusalem supermarket owner Rami Levy says a disagreement has forced him to pull out of a deal to keep the Nof Tzion housing project in Jerusalem out of Arab hands.

Levy acted several months ago to save the troubled project from being taken over by American-Arab Bashar al-Masri, who was set to buy out the assets of the development initiated by Digal Investment and Holdings.

The project was built for 395 Jewish families, but only 91 people so far have bought apartments, leaving Digal in financial difficulties with banks.

News that the project for Jews in eastern Jerusalem was about to be bought out by a pro-Palestinian Authority investor prompted Levy to step into the breach. He and Australian Kevin Bermeister agreed to buy Digal’s assets, including Nof Tzion, for 123 million shekels ($35 million).

However, Globes reported Monday that Digal told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that Levy and Bermeister said, "There were material differences regarding the information provided by Digal about the assets up for sale."

Digal rejected the claim and added that after the offer to buy its assets, the company reached a settlement on its debt with Bank Leumi, its largest creditor.

If Levy and Bermeister do not solve their dispute, and if no other Jewish investors turn up, al-Masri may return with a bid to takeover Nof Tzion.