Jerusalem will be getting bigger, if Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has his way. Katz said Thursday that he intends to advance legislation to expand the city's borders – to include so-called "settlement blocs" like Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion.
The move comes in response to demands by the Palestinian Authority and its allies to strongarm Israel into withdrawing from much of the city so that the PA can establish its capital there, Katz wrote on his Facebook page.
“This week we will celebrated Jerusalem Day, on the 47th anniversary of the reunification of the city,” said Katz. “This is the time to strengthen our bonds with Jerusalem. We must expand the city and ensure that it retains its Jewish character,” Katz wrote.
“I intend to advance law that will be title 'Metropolitan Jerusalem, Israel's capital.' The law will incorporate Jerusalem suburbs such as Maale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Gush Etzion, and Beitar Illit into the city's municipal boundaries.”
The local governments in those towns will continue to function, but they will also have representation on the Jerusalem city council, turning them into “boroughs” of the capital. Such arrangements exist in major cities like London, Paris, and others, Katz said.
“The local communities in these cities are autonomous, while being a part of their parent cities,” he said.
Israel's friends and supporters, along with Jewish communities around the world, will support the move, asserted Katz.
“Our supporter recognize the historical, cultural, and religions connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, and this connection must be strengthened,” he wrote.