In order to strengthen Jerusalem, two things are necessary, Minister of Industry and Trade Naftali Bennett told Bayit Yehudi MKs at the party's weekly meeting Monday. One is to encourage more high-tech businesses to open up shop in Jerusalem – and the other is to keep the Palestinian Authority, and its institutions, out of town.
Encouraging more high-tech businesses to open up offices in Jerusalem is a sure way to strengthen Israel's presence in the city, Bennett said. As more businesses come to Jerusalem, more young Israeli professionals will move there, too, with the attendant increase in housing, shopping opportunities, services, and the like which goes together with increased population. A building boom in Jerusalem could even lower prices for homes, encouraging even more Israelis to move to Jerusalem.
Bennett added that Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem must also be included in the renaissance he foresees for the city. Arab neighborhoods should be just as livable as Jewish ones, with proper infrastructure, services, schools, and employment opportunities. This, too, will enhance Israel's standing in the city.
Also needed was an increased effort to keep the PA out of Jerusalem. Allowing PA leaders to meet diplomats, or permitting the presence of PA offices to serve Jerusalem Arabs, was very self-destructive behavior, Bennett said. Such permissiveness only encouraged more radical behavior on the part of Arabs, and also encouraged Islamists to run their own programs. Police need to act aggressively against violence by Arabs, he added, and to ensure that the materials taught in Arab schools were part of the curriculum for Israeli schools, and not from materials supplied by the PA.