Bnei Brak escalating feud with Givat Shmuel?

Haredi city's computerized system refuses tickets to petting zoo for non-city members. Move comes after Givat Shmuel restricted park access.

Tzvi Lev ,

Haredim in Bnei Brak
Haredim in Bnei Brak
Yaakov Cohen/Flash90

Critics are decrying the haredi Bnei Brak municipality after it seemingly banned non-residents from accessing its new petting zoo.

In early July Bnei Brak slammed the neighboring city of Givat Shmuel after it released a new directive allowing only people with a Givat Shmuel residency card into its Ramon and Elkana parks during the upcoming summer break. The new guidelines were adopted after the parks were swamped by visitors from Bnei Brak on Shabbat afternoon, which led locals to complain about the crowded conditions.

However, the Bnei Brak municipality's computerized system has been refusing tickets to its new petting zoo for non-residents, leading citizens who had wished to access the popular zoo to accuse Bnei Brak of hypocrisy.

"It's an outrage that the municipality, which claimed that it is forbidden to discriminate against residents from other places, does the same thing," said on Jerusalem parent to Kikar Hashabbat.

Bnei Brak Spokesman Avraham Tannenbaum seemingly confirmed the allegations, telling Kikar Hashabbat that "This opening is not official. In two weeks the park will be open to every resident of the State of Israel who wants to come and visit."

Tennenbaum had cried foul after Givat Shmuel announced that only those possessing a residency card could use its parks, contending that the ban was designed exclusively towards members of the haredi community.

"If someone is referring to the residents of Bnei Brak, it is hostile to the haredi sector and I do not understand what the logic is," Bnei Brak Secretary-General Avraham Tannenbaum told Kikar Hashabbat . "They should be ashamed of themselves- this is plain hostility.

However, the Givat Shmuel municipality denied that the ban was targeted towards haredim and clarified that it was meant to keep out members of nearby secular cities as well.

"We are not closing the park to Bnei Brak residents but to anyone who is not a resident of Givat Shmuel," a city official told Kikar Hashabbat. "The park will also be closed to residents of Tel Aviv and Kiryat Ono. Apart from this, we are talking about a few weeks in which during the afternoon the park will be closed to residents of other cities because there will be activities especially for the residents of Givat Shmuel."