Thousands of Likud members celebrated in the Samaria town of Revava on Sunday as the sun set and the ten-month Judea and Samaria construction freeze officially ended, at least according to the Hebrew calendar. Those at the rally counted backward to the moment at which the freeze was over, then released 2,000 balloons, one for each new housing unit that can now be built with no need for further approval.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) was there and led the countdown. Danon told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's staff had hoped to downplay the end of the freeze, but said, “It's impossible to stop this energy.”
Earlier in the day, Danon had laid the cornerstone for a new day care building in the Kiryat Netafim neighborhood. “Today, the Likud is returning to its true path, to Menachem Begin's path of settlement,” Danon announced, invoking the name of the Likud's founding leader and its first prime minister.
Judea and Samaria (Yesha) Council head Danny Dayan addressed the crowd in Revava and said, “Today it's over, and we will do all we can to make sure this never happens again. For ten months, Israel left the path of Zionism. Israel became weaker in those months; whoever needs proof of that should look at the brutal pressure put on Israel by London and Paris and understand that our political situation has worsened.”
Deputy Minister for the Negev and Galilee Ayoub Kara (Likud) criticized the freeze as well, saying, “The freeze didn't bring any benefits, not for Israel and not for the Palestinian Authority.”
MK Tzipi Hotoveli (Likud) told celebrants that the Likud was elected in order to safeguard the Land of Israel. “Tonight at midnight will be the moment of truth for Israel's leaders, today the government of Israel will be tested on its ability to keep its promises,” she said.
MK Nissim Ze'ev of Shas was also present at the Likud rally. “On this day, the entire people of Israel is unified," he proclaimed. "This is not only a worldwide Likud event, but an event for the entire people of Israel.” The country of Israel “must begin a new campaign regarding international law. All Jews in Judea and Samaria are as if they were born here, due to their historical connection to the area. That is what should guide us when discussing our rights with the Quartet and the United Nations: we were born here, and this is our forefathers' inheritance, forever.”