Meretz Knesset members and activists were received with hospitality by residents of Givat HaUlpana neighborhood in Beit El, whose homes they want to see razed. Police initially refused to let the leftists into the community but eventually reversed the decision.
The neighborhood's spokesman, Harel Cohen – who is also a spokesman for the National Union Knesset faction – received MK Ilan Gilon with a hug. "We are old friends from the Knesset and I am happy that at long last he has come to visit and strengthened us," Cohen said, with tongue in cheek. He added that the visit by two Meretz MKs raises the number of MKs who visited the neighborhood this year to 42 – with all the rest having come to voice support.
Gilon, who is disabled and used a electric scooter to move about, noted that one of the sidewalks in the neighborhood was inaccessible to the disabled. He and Cohen agreed jokingly that they would work together to arrange accessibility by the time of the next visit.
The Meretz activists were very thirsty on their way to the neighborhood and planned to stop and buy water at an Arab store because, they said, they would not buy it from Jewish settlers. However, to their surprise, residents of the Ulpana neighborhood were waiting for them with water and cakes, which they wound up taking, even carrying some with them for the way back.
The Meretz activists thanked the residents for the reception. However, party leader MK Zehava Galon seemed to maintain a scowl on her face throughout the visit.