State Pledges NIS 6 Million, Saving Kiryat Shmona Library

Decision to allocated money to community centers in border towns that are in debt applies only to Kiryat Shmona; money also saves city's cultural center from closure.

The Kiryat Shmona municipal library and community center will be reopened in the next few days, thanks to yesterday's cabinet decision to approve NIS 6 million in financial aid for the northern city.

The decision was couched in general terms - the money is technically allocated for debt-ridden community centers in border towns - but applies only to Kiryat Shmona. The infusion, which is meant to cover the community center's debts to municipal workers and suppliers, also means that the city's cultural center will not have to be shut down.

library - Emil Salman - June 27 2011
Emil Salman

"The 3,000 library members and 500 members of the cultural center, along with the children and youth who take part in the activities offered by the community center, will continue to enjoy cultural activities and the buildings will return to municipal control," said Kiryat Shmona Deputy Mayor Yigal Buzaglo. "The prime minister and education and cultural ministers have fulfilled their promise and helped Kiryat Shmona in its time of difficulty. Now we are starting over."

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said he hopes the cabinet decision "will make it possible to start over and provide a stable response to the cultural and leisure needs in Kiryat Shmona."

"The government and the country have a moral obligation to Kiryat Shmona," he said at the cabinet meeting yesterday.

The Kiryat Shmona community center, which houses the municipal library, has accumulated a NIS 9 million debt over several years, and has been operated by a liquidator for the past year. Early this month, the community center - along with the library and cultural center - were ordered to be liquidated.

The government money means creditors can start getting paid, though they will have to settle for somewhat less than the full amount they are owed. The money is due to come through in the next two or three months.

After the cabinet decision was announced, the Nazareth District Court said it would hold off the liquidation order.

"The community center will fully resume all activities, while the municipality will be responsible for the professional administration," said Ehud Raz, the court-appointed administrator of the community center over the past year.

Raz and the Nazareth District Court will continue to monitor the municipality until all creditors are paid.