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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nof Zion to stay Jewish after all

I've written about Nof Zion a couple of times, most recently here. On Tuesday, Bank Leumi reached an arrangement to sell the Digal company's interest in the project to supermarket magnate Rami Levy and an Australian partner. That means Nof Zion will remain in Jewish hands.
For the past few months, residents of the Jewish complex in the Jebl Mukaber neighborhood have fought against a business takeover by Palestinian- American businessman Basher Al-Masri, who has said he wants to sell the 300 apartments yet to be built to Arab families.

Digal Investments, whose primary project is Nof Zion, is more than NIS 100 million in debt, of which at least NIS 80 million is to Bank Leumi.

Masri, the businessman behind the planned Palestinian city of Rawabi, had made the highest offer to bail out the company, but in January the bondholders rejected it in favor of a significantly lower offer from Rami Levy and his Australian Jewish partner, Kevin Bermeister, the inventor of Kazaa music downloads.

On Sunday, Bank Leumi informed Digal that their debt repayment plan was not sufficient and it would take the company to court if Digal didn’t find a higher bid that would enable them to repay more of the debt. This opened the door for Masri to resubmit his offer for the company’s debt.

In response, Nof Zion residents, assisted by the Israel Land Fund’s Aryeh King, began to organize protests outside of Bank Leumi branches and threatened that all of the settlers in the West Bank and east Jerusalem would withdraw their funds from Bank Leumi.

Late on Monday, Bank Leumi announced that it had accepted a higher offer from Levy and Bermeister and was no longer considering court action.

“Now everything is an oral agreement, only when it’s done and signed will it be finished,” said King. “It’s not over till it’s over, as they say. We’re waiting until the negotiations are finished.”
I think you just heard a collectively sigh of relief from southeastern Jerusalem.

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At 4:47 PM, Blogger יונתן said...

I just love how the "Palestinian" businessman's last name is "Masri"---which means "Egyptian.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

The photo sure makes that area look like prime rocket launching real estate. Is it on the hills overlooking Jerusalem and down to the plain where the airport and Tel Aviv are? Have to get out a map. Or click over to the title search GIS layer that doesn't seem to exist yet.

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sunlight, no, Nof Zion is on the opposite side of Jerusalem, near the Arnona and Armon HaNatsiv neighborhoods in southeastern Jerusalem.

But missiles can eventually come from anywhere. Just ask the residents of Gilo in S. eastern Jerusalem, who were the recipients of mortar bombardments and shootings from adjacent Beit Jallah several years ago.


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