The World Bahai Center and Kibbutz Regba are locked in a "not in my backyard" standoff over a garbage truck route to a landfill in the Western Galilee.
The kibbutz has asked the Haifa District Court to prevent the Transportation Ministry and local planning authorities from building a landfill road to run close to the kibbutz and Mazraa village.
The road is meant to replace the existing garbage route to the landfill, on Kibbutz Evron's eastern side, because the Bahai Center objects to having it border its sacred site.
The court is to hear the petition filed by Kibbutz Regba on Sunday. The petitioners say the garbage trucks would damage the residents' quality of life and constitute a health and safety hazard.
The Bahai site, consisting of a 19th century house and roadside hotel, is a pilgrimage site revered by millions of Bahais worldwide, although it is not as developed as the Bahai gardens in Haifa and Acre. The Bahais believe the founder of their faith, Baha''u'lla'h, lived on the site after being driven away by the Turks and this is where he wrote the Bahais' most sacred book "Kitab Aqdas."
UNESCO heritage site
The Bahai Center has objected for years to garbage trucks passing near the site, which has received international recognition as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Bahais are demanding that the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intervene on their behalf, since Israel is obliged by international covenants to preserve holy sites.
A document summing up a meeting about the road last November quotes Transporation Minister Yaakov Ganot saying that Netanyahu had asked to resolve the dispute.
The Bahai Center recently submitted a plan to develop the site in Mazraa and turn it into a tourist attraction.
This would entail closing the current access road to the landfill completely.
The Transporation Ministry and planning authorities have discussed various alternatives to the access road, including building a road linking Kibbutz Evron to the truck route. It is not clear, however, whether these plans will be implemented, officials said.
Yehuda Shavit, head of the Mateh Asher Regional Council and the director of the local planning and construction committee, said the committee has not examined the Bahai Center's plan yet as the issue is still pending a court ruling.
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