'Coordinated campaign' against Settlement Division

MK Smotrich leads fight to push through law to regulate the operations of the Settlement Division of World Zionist Organization.

Eliran Aharon ,

MK Smotrich
MK Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), who is leading the fight to pass a law regulating the operation of the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization, says the objections to the law are "a coordinated campaign" by the Left.

The Settlement Division has played a key role, for decades, in establishing Jewish communities throughout Israel, including Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.

"The big story in the fight against the Settlement Division is that everything rests on disinformation," Smotrich told Arutz Sheva. "This is a coordinated campaign by the radical Left, an organization that calls itself Molad, and a few populist MKs who built their campaign in the party primaries on this."

"The Settlement Division operates in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law, it is supervised by the State Comptroller," he added. "It operates in accordance with the Tenders Law, and is a dual-essence body that the Supreme Court obligates to respect the norms of public law."

The rookie MK denied that the bill would enable the Settlement Division to operate without public supervision. "It's all one big lie. All we are doing is making the current situation permanent, and giving the Settlement Division tools to continue to build the Land of Israel as it has for tens of years.

"The Left is fighting the Settlement Division because it opposes Jewish life in Judea and Samaria," Smotrich explained. "They want to bring down the Division because the Division is, indeed, one of the main tools with which the governments of Israel built the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria."

Arutz Sheva has exposed that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is exerting pressure to block the bill, and that his deputy, Attorney Dina Zilber, tried last week to prevent the Knesset's Law, Constitution and Justice Committee from debating the bill.

The State Comptroller has written a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to the Attorney General in which he revealed that he has presented a report on the Settlement Division to the minister in charge of its operations, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.

"The Division, which was supposed to serve as an operative arm, instead set criteria for allotment of funds to the settlement groups, and in the end, most of the budget reached settlement groups that operate in central Israel, in well-established communities," said the Comptroller's report. "People who are politically close to the Minister were involved in setting the criteria and the method in which the funds were disbursed."