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      Government Freezes Building, Disabled Children Suffer

      The Judea and Samaria building freeze continues to affect communities. North of Jerusalem, disabled children are the ones who suffer.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 5/6/2012, 10:13 PM

      Ofra
      Ofra
      Flash 90

      The ban on new construction in Judea and Samaria officially ended in 2010. In practice, however, many communities remain unable to build.

      In Ofra, north of Jerusalem, a freeze on construction is hitting the most vulnerable residents: handicapped children from the Binyamin region.

      Mali Shtrigler, head of the Lev Binyamin organization for children and adults with special needs, explained the problem in an interview with Arutz Sheva. Lev Binyamin aims to provide care programs, afterschool activities, summer camps and more to those with disabilities, from babies to young adults – and the group does not turn away those who seek its help even after aging out of the program.

      Three days after the 2010 construction freeze ended, the group broke ground on a building that was to provide an appropriate setting for its activities. Soon after, however, government officials asked the group to stop construction in order to give them time to make sure all land in Ofra has proper legal authorization – and since then, nothing has changed.

      The delay is particularly pointless, says Shtrigler, due to the fact that the original construction freeze was never intended to apply to educational facilities in any case.

      The organization is currently using space provided by the local religious high school for girls. Unfortunately, Shtrigler said, while the school’s administrators are eager to help, the school’s infrastructure is not suitable for those with special needs.

      “We’ve turned to everyone we can in politics and in the army. They say that we’re right and that it’s really not right that children with special needs be forced to wait, but still nothing moves forward,” she said.

      Even Education Minister Gidon Saar responded to the problem, she added, but said his hands are tied.