The residents of the Israeli community of Reut opposed to the construction of a new Chabad synagogue seem to have succeeded in their mission.
From Yeshiva World News:
The battle has been ongoing for some time as they worked to gather signatures on a petition opposing the move. They used Facebook to instill fear in residents, warning that “once the bulldozers begin working, it will be too late”, telling them the frum will overrun their secular haven.
The city committee responsible for the allocation of the land for the shul has announced that after the petition of opponents is officially submitted it will review the over 2,000 signatures, weigh the matter and render a decision. One official is quoted saying that with so many persons signing against the project, there is no question it will have to be reconsidered. The committee never believed opponents would gather 500 signatures and they are now over the 2,000 mark.
Members of the opposition movement to the shul explain “Rabbi Neuman went too far with his grandiose structure and it finally worked against him. The community would not have objected to a regular shul but this large building and the name Chabad has instilled panic among residents”.
Committee chair Kfir Cohen published on Facebook that he and his colleagues cannot ignore the sizable opposition and this will compel them to rethink their approval for the project. I spoke with Rabbi Neuman and his daughter Rachel and explained their battle is lost and there is nothing to be done. I added the current reality does not leave a chance of pushing this through the coalition”.
Rabbi Yitzchak Neuman responded “the version that the petition has over 2,000 signatures is misleading. It shows as if they had two choices, a community center or a shul. This is simply not true as there is no body interested in building a community center in the area and while the municipality published a law (60 days) for anyone wishing to compete for the space, no one stepped forward. We off a community center which will be available to the entire population in one building and the second building would have two shuls, Chabad and one for the Yemenite community. Opponents suggest to not build anything. Many who signed the petition against us erred as they believed by opposing us a community center would be constructed”.
The rav added “the opposing petition was accompanied by a smear campaign against m, my family via social media and other channels. Many residents are annoyed and aggravated and afraid to express their support. Therefore, in our application to the allocation committee we asked for the minimum required after meeting the legal requirements and showing total transparency…I appeal to residents to open an honest open dialogue for we have no desire to cause any inconvenience. I am certain dialogue can lead to creative solutions”.