For the first time in three decades, new homes have been built in the Samaria community of Emanuel, and on Thursday, a festive ceremony dedicating a new construction project will be held in the town. Attending the event will be MKs Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) and Meir Porush (UTJ).
Actually, said Emanuel Mayor Rabbi Ezra Garshi, several large projects are set for Emanuel. The first project to go up will include 517 housing units (permits have already been issued for construction, he said), and a second project will include 102 houses. Sales of the sites in that project are set to begin in the coming weeks. A third project of 282 apartments has been approved by the Housing Ministry, and is awaiting further approvals by other agencies.
The new building boom in Emanuel is due to the work of the “Friends of Emanuel Fund,” which has worked for years to improve the quality of life in the town, and has succeeded in rehabilitating buildings that were for years just empty shells, lending a very depressing sense to the town.
“Some of these projects were started twenty years ago, but were halted due to various reasons,” said Rabbi Moshe Singer, head of the organization. “There were numerous attempts to push construction of these homes, but all failed. We purchased the structures that had been partially built, contacted construction companies, and basically rebuilt the structures, with top quality materials and construction methods. We completed several projects, and the apartments were snapped up – and the positive atmosphere in the town has led to several other projects, including those we are celebrating this week,” he said.
The event on Thursday will include setting mezuzot on the doors of the rehabilitated buildings. Attending the ceremony will be the heads of Jewish settlement in Samaria, including Samaria Council chairman Avi Ro'eh, Pinchas Wallerstein, and CEO of Amana Ze'ev Chaver (“Zombish”). “I was very happy to see how nicely the projects headed by the Friends of Emanuel progressed,” Chaver said. “We at Amana are proud to have had a part in helping the project come to fruition.”
Emanuel was established in the mid-1980s and marketed as a suburb geared to the hareidi community. Numerous Hassidic groups began communities in the town, but others who wanted to move to Emanuel lost much of their savings when they bought apartments pre-construction from contractors who declared bankruptcy. The new projects, residents hope, will restore the luster of the town in the eyes of young couples priced out of places like Bnei Brak and Ramat Beit Shemesh, with Emanuel a much more reasonably priced alternative.