Shas May Vote in Favor of Ulpana Demolition

Shas party says its ministers will vote against the outpost regulation law if PM does not allow coalition members to vote as they wish.

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Elad Benari,

Eli Yishai
Eli Yishai
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A spokesperson for the Shas party announced on Sunday evening that the party’s ministers will vote against the outpost regulation law, meaning a de facto vote in favor of the demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chooses to maintain coalition discipline and does not allow Cabinet ministers to vote according to their conscience.

“The party will support the regulation law only if there is freedom to vote; if not, our ministers will vote like the other ministers,” said the party’s spokesman. The party will thus not endanger its membership in the coalition, now that Kadima's presence makes its presence unnecessary for the government to have a majority..

Earlier on Sunday, Shas chairman Eli Yishai had announced that ministers from the party intend to vote on Wednesday in favor of the bill, that will authorize as-yet unauthorized communities in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron).

Meanwhile, the defense establishment began groundwork Sunday at the site where the residents of the neighborhood are to be housed following their planned eviction. The site is located within the military camp next to Beit El.

An officer who was present at the site said that the ground was being readied for the caravans (converted mobile homes) that will be brought to the site, in advance of the planned demolition of the neighborhood and the forced relocation of its residents.

Prime Minister Netanyahu met on Sunday evening with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and informed him about the details of the proposed eviction and relocation at the Ulpana neighborhood.

During the meeting, Weinstein informed Netanyahu of the State Attorney’s legal opinion regarding the plan. It remains unclear whether Weinstein will allow to move the neighborhood into a military zone and approve the construction of hundreds of new homes in Beit El, as called for in Netanyahu’s plan.

Yesha Council Head Danny Dayan scoffed Sunday at the government's promises to move the buildings their entirety to a new location, saying the government was pulling the wool over the public's eyes and that it was not possible to do that in the area's terrain.

Dayan added that any Coalition minister or Knesset Member who fails to vote against the Regulation Law "should see himself as driving the demolition bulldozer."