Rivlin receives 'Ketzaleh Report' on growth in Judea and Samaria

Report authored by former National Union chairman finds population in Judea and Samaria increased by 4.6% in 2015.

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President Rivlin and Ya'akov "Ketzaleh" Katz
President Rivlin and Ya'akov "Ketzaleh" Katz
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President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday received the "Annual Ketzaleh Report on the Development of the Settlement Enterprise in Judea and Samaria" authored by former MK Ya’akov “Ketzaleh” Katz.

The president said he was happy to read about the large number of Jews living in Judea and Samaria and thanked Ketzaleh for his dedication in reporting about the increased growth in the region.

According to the Ketzaleh Report, distributed annually to top state officials and ambassadors of foreign countries, the exact number of Jews living in Judea and Samaria as of December 31, 2015, was 406,302.

This marks an increase of 4.6 percent over the previous year, compared to the growth in Israel as a whole which was only 1.9 percent.

The report highlighted the fact that it does not include the 350,000 Jews living in Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, from Gilo and Armon Hanatziv to Ramot, Ramat Shlomo and Pisgat Ze'ev. This means that most of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem live beyond the “Green Line”.

Katz, who served as chairman of the National Union in the 18th Knesset between 2009 and 2013, said that "today the world's nations wish to see the State of Israel as a ghetto between 13 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea and 4-5 kilometers to the east of the Ben-Gurion Airport, and so are they all concentrated in the struggle against the communities in Judea and Samaria and the neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. We, the residents of the state, must understand that if the nations of the world are bothered with the living space of the State of Israel, we must concentrate on increasing the number of Jews in these areas."

Surprising data in the report show that in Gush Etzion and Ma’ale Adumim the growth rate is the lowest in Judea and Samaria, even though it too exceeds the national average.

During the meeting with Rivlin, which was described as successful, Ketzaleh told the president that the significance of the numbers in the report is in the fact that they help to remove from the agenda any thought and talk on the possibility of expelling hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria.

Ketzaleh asked Rivlin, who he described as a close friend and "a moral President who is against injustices" to work to change the discourse in the country and especially in the media, where it is now legitimate to talk about the "two-state solution" when hundreds of thousands of people live in Judea and Samaria and who "are not going anywhere but will rather develop and flourish."

Rivlin, who received the detailed report, thanked Ketzaleh for his years-long friendship, and promised to review the report thoroughly.