City Upon the Hill
by Gad Nahshon
"We felt the need to organize a rally in order to express our solidarity with the family of Gen. (Res.) Gandi (Zeevy), who was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists. We protested against those who still believe that Arafat is a partner for peace. We did not demonstrate against Arik Sharon," explained Benny Kashriel, the popular mayor of Maale Adumim, the city which defends the integrity of united Jerusalem. Kashriel met me in Jerusalem's coffee 'link' on Maalot Street. He is also the chairman of the council of all the settlements in Yesha and the organizer of this rally in Jerusalem (Zion Square), which recently mobilized around 100,000 protesters.
Kahsriel, who often visits this country, told me: "Maale Adumim is the center of the entire region. It is located only 7 miles from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. You must tell your readers that we badly need their help, support and donations. Israel is fighting for its survival. Our economic reality is very sad. We call on the American Jews to support us." Maale Adumim is the epitome of the Israeli pioneerism. Its roots: a group of young pioneers who settled there on Chanukah in 1975. The idea was to defend Jerusalem. The Israeli government understood the importance of this city. Today, Kashriel is the charismatic effective mayor of 28,000 residents, many are new olim: "Maale Adumim is not one more city. Our slogan is Quality of Life Above All."
He has dedicated his public life to turn the city into a model city which is sailing thanks to his municipal kind of leadership on the waves of the 21st century. This is a city upon the hill, a city of open opportunities. Kashriel always calls on new investors to come and enjoy the city. He pushes new initiatives, modern city planning, new ideas. Just come stay and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Where can you find such quality housing? Where can you buy three bedroom apartments for only $177,000? (Maulot Daniel) or: you can buy a private house for $329,000. This city is in an accelerated process of building thanks to the sophisticated policy of its mayor. He has dedicated his life to enriching the residents with high quality of life. The fact is that Maale Adumim won, in 1993-1994, the Israeli national prize for environmental quality! The city was also praised for its educational system and its social services. In 1999, the city established its first mall (Kenion in Hebrew).
Ma'ale Adumim is not a city that rests on its laurels; it is already looking towards the future. In the heart of the city construction has begun on a new center which will include both a modern, central mall and the new city hall. Other major projects include the Egoz Center and a new educational campus. As a National Priority Zone A and as a city with vast land reserves for industrial development, Ma'ale Adumim benefits from many requests for land allocation. Many entrepreneurs and industrialists are realizing the potential of investing in Ma'ale Adumim, resulting in both personal gain and economic growth for the region.
Kashriel is proud that the city successfully absorbed olim from the U.S.A, from Russia, and Ethiopia as well. "Perhaps peace will come when Israeli mayors and Palestinian mayors will communicate directly and openly," said Kashriel, who is looking for peace with security in our time.
Ma'ale Adumim Foundation, P.O.B. 20, Ma'ale Adumim, 98100 Israel, Tel: 972-2-535-4229, Fax: 972-2-535-6429.
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