Daily Israel Report

Ariel Students, Residents Launch Campaign Against Likud

Residents of Judea/Samaria city launch web campaign against party, after Transportation Ministry refuses to fix bus crisis.
By Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 12/24/2013, 1:59 PM

Afikim bus
Afikim bus
Hillel Meir

Activists from the city of Ariel and Ariel University students have launched a campaign Tuesday against Likud.

The campaign is primarily aimed at Likud members Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely, both senior members of the party. The activists claim that both have been lackluster in addressing the public transportation crisis in the Judea and Samaria region.

The move follows months of frustration from Judea and Samaria residents - and in Ariel in particular - with the Ministry of Transportation, which has allowed Palestinian Authority Arabs to travel out of the region on public transport.

In April 2013, Central Command decided to allow tens of thousands of Palestinian Arab workers to travel on the region's public transportation systems between Judea and Samaria and other parts of Israel, and allowed an additional 5000 workers to be employed in workplaces outside of Palestinian Authority areas. 

Reports have piled since the law was enacted of harassment, assault, and worse - and Ariel residents are having none of it. 

In addition, due to years of not enforcing policies preventing Arabs from moving illegally between regions in Judea and Samaria, tens of thousands of Arabs have been taking public transportation within the region without proper documentation. 

All of these measures were enacted without consultation with the Ministry of Transportation, and without enacting counter-measures to add busses to existing lines and new routes for an increasing number of possible destinations. 

The busses have become severely overcrowded due to the changes. As a result, Jewish residents of several communities along the roads leading out of Judea and Samaria, and along the road between Karnei Shomron and Kedumim, have been prevented entirely from alighting busses returning from the Center to their communities. 

The Knesset Committee discussed several hard cases, heard testimony, and examined options, but no solution has been offered yet to the problem. 

In November, signs appeared on the region's Afikim bus line attacking the ministers for refusing to solve the problem. Two weeks ago, the campaign stepped up, as calls to leave the Likud went out to locals via an automated message.

This time, the slogan for the internet campaign attacks the two Knesset members for "hitching a ride" at the expense of Shomron residents. The campaign's Website includes a link to allow people to leave the Likud party with one click; it claims dozens of Likud members have already done so.