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A month after the Kiryat Shmona community center was shut down because of a NIS 9 million deficit, it appears to have received a new lease on life.

The Nazareth District Court yesterday heard a joint request by the Kiryat Shmona municipality and the center's appointed receiver, Udi Raz, to remove the matnas from receivership and cancel the scheduled sale of its equipment next week.

The court agreed to freeze the sale of the community center's assets and to grant the city and the receiver 45 days, during which time documentation would be presented to prove that the debts would indeed be repaid and that arrangements had been made with creditors for the receivership to be lifted.

The Kiryat Shmona municipality said yesterday that this turn of events follows an agreement reached by Mayor Nissim Malka with Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, according to which the government would help cover the community center's debts to its employees and suppliers.

The Kiryat Shmona community center, the first of its kind in the county, was established in 1969.

Over the past year, Raz has been working to restructure the non-profit company that operated it and return the NIS 9 million it owed, half of the amount to current and former employees and half to suppliers.

For the past seven years, the center has not set aside pension money and other benefits for its employees, in violation of the law. Before it was closed, the center ran after-school activities, a daycare center for 24 children, a library, a municipal concert hall, clubs for the visually impaired and for the developmentally delayed, and music classes.

"As I promised before, I will not rest until I can solve the issue of the community center," Malka said yesterday. "I hope the agreements I reached with the education minister will be quickly implemented."