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Rabbi Melamed: Come Support the Regulation Law

Beit El chief rabbi Zalman Melamed has called on Israelis to visit hunger strikers at the Knesset protest tent to support the regulation law
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/31/2012, 2:50 PM

Rabbi Zalman Melamed
Rabbi Zalman Melamed
שלומי שלמוני

Beit El chief rabbi Zalman Melamed on Thursday called on the public to come to protest tent opposite the Knesset in Jerusalem in support of hunger strikers seeking the passage of the "regulation law."

"I urge the public to come, participate, and identify with the hunger strikers at the Knesset who seek the enactment of the regulation law," Rabbi Melamed said.

We must "prevent the destruction of Jewish homes in the Ulpana neighborhood, Amona, Givat Assaf, Migron and elsewhere," the rabbi added.

The bill in question - proposed by National Union chairman MK Yaakov Katz - would require compensation for those adversely affected by a legal determination that their homes, approved by previous governments, were built on private Arab land.

Katz agreed on May 23 to temporarily table his bill during a stormy debate, after he was promised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the government would not oppose the bill if he held off for two weeks – the period in which Netanyahu hopes to find an administrative solution to the pending demolition orders.

Of key concern after Netanyahu's threat to impose cabinet and party discipline against the bill last week, is whether ministers will be allowed to vote according to their conscience should Katz resubmit his bill.

Netanyahu is under intense pressure from Likud lawmakers and government ministers to allow them to vote freely next week, should no administrative solution present itself.

Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein (Likud) on Wednesday visited the protest tent to visit the hunger strikes and vowed to vote for the law no matter what.

"I will vote for the regulation law even if it costs me my chair in the cabinet and seat in the Knesset," Edelstein told Arutz Sheva. "It's not rebellion, but a natural choice in accordance with what the Likud stands for. I will not give a hand to demolitions in the West Bank."

"I emphasize that I hope the Prime Minister will find a solution," he said. "But, if not, then he should allow ministers to vote and act according to consider their conscience."

It has been reported that Netanyahu is considering a plan to move the five threatened buildings in Beit El to state owned land dozens of meters away.

Critics say such a move is not only extremely expensive and technically difficult, but absurd from the outset, as it does not solve the same potential problem faced by other communities in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron), built not only in good faith – but with government assistance.

A separate bill by MK Zevulun Orlev – also tabled during the 23 May debate – would instruct the courts to order financial compensation or alternative land grants in lieu of demolition orders in cases where those disputing land claims can prove their claims in court.

Orlev's bill is limited to structures that have stood for at least four years in communities with at least twenty members.