Knesset members from the Likud and Jewish Home lambasted the Civil Administration over its refusal to upgrade Israel’s cellular infrastructure in Judea and Samaria during a boisterous committee hearing on Monday.
Citing the serious security threats facing Israelis in the area, the MKs demanded the Civil Administration implement planned expansions of the cellular network in the area.
“Just half a year ago there was a terrible car accident in Wadi Harmeya and [people’s] ability to call for help was held up because of the lack of reception,” noted MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home), who chaired the committee meeting.
Likud MK Mickey Zohar blasted the Civil Administration’s behavior as a form of discrimination. “There’s no difference between Jews in Judea-Samaria and those in the rest of the country. That’s the government’s policy."
Zohar threatened to use his position on the Knesset’s Finance Committee to hold funding for the Civil Administration’s other projects, should it continue in its refusal to upgrade the cellular infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
Fellow Likud MK Oren Hazan noted the difficulties and dangers the frequent lack of cellular network access created for residents of Judea and Samaria like himself.
When the MK’s car broke down on Sunday, for instance, on the way to his home in the town of Ariel in Samaria, he was unable to call for assistance and was forced to take the risk of using an Arab tow truck. “You could have woken up this morning with a Knesset Member held hostage in Ramallah.”
It should be noted that Arab residents of Judea and Samaria and Israelis in the region primarily use different service providers, leaving Jews reliant on Israeli providers like Cellcom and Orange. Jews are thus disproportionately impacted by the lack of Israeli infrastructure in the area.