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Bnei Braq to Get First Free Public Library Despite Orthodox Opposition

Despite opposition by ultra-Orthodox elements, the religious township of Bnei Braq will soon get its first free public library, to be housed in an old fire brigade building. The decision was made at a town council meeting. Bnai Braq, a suburb of Tel Aviv, was founded 48 years ago and became a municipality 25 years ago. It has no movie house and is the only township in Israel where all traffic is forbidden on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

The Agudath Israel representatives on the town council claimed that religious Jews who studied the Torah had no need for a library where “pornography” might be found on the shelves. The Poale Agudat Israel members abstained from voting on the issue but contended that the town would lose its unique character with the introduction of a general library. But the more moderate National Religious Party, supported by religious Labor Party members, mustered a majority vote for a library. Heretofore, residents of Bnei Braq had to travel to nearby Ramat Gan if they wished to obtain a book other than a religious tract.

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