Beer Sheva Magistrate's Court Judge Ron Sulkin yesterday canceled indictments against 20 Gerrer (Gur) hasidic families in Arad accused by the municipality of placing gas balloons without a building permit.
Sources in Ger said it was an unnecessary struggle waged by the mayor against the hasidim. "NIS 297,000 - that's the amount Arad residents paid for conducting a stupid war at the expense of the taxpayer," said hasidic officials.
Recently, Arad Mayor and Yesh Atid member Nissan Ben-Hamu expressed fear of what he called the "Gur Hasidic takeover of Arad's power centers.'
In an interview with Radio Darom Ben Hamu said if the Likud party succeeds in closing a "deal" with Gur supporters in Arad and running a Likud candidate for mayor, it would mean "returning the Gur Hasidim to the center of power, returning them to dictate the municipal agenda, setting the city years back."
When asked, "So what?" Ben Hamou replied, "It means Arad will have a red carpet like they had before my term. Arad could also reach 40 percent haredi, and such a city has no right to exist in the Negev. I tell you, economically, it has no right to exist."
In the past year there was severe tension between Gerrer Hasidim living in Arad and Mayor Ben Hamu. In a violent demonstration in the city, burning tires were thrown at a residential building with a sign accusing the city's haredi community saying "Arad is not for sale".