'Why are there still government offices outside of Jerusalem?'

On eve of US embassy opening in Jerusalem, some wonder why Israeli government offices still based outside of capital in violation of law.

Shimon Cohen,

Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel
iStock

In light of the transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the "Awakening" movement is launching a campaign that also calls on the government ministries to follow suit, and to transfer the ministries to the capital.

Arutz Sheva spoke to the chairman of the movement, Ofer Berkowitz, a member of the city council and the movement's candidate for mayor. Berkowitz stated that the current situation not only harms the status of Jerusalem, but it is illegal.

"The Basic Law, the government, and the Basic Law, Jerusalem, explicitly stipulate that the government will sit and operate from Jerusalem, and today more than 165 government units are working contrary to the decisions of the Olmert and Netanyahu governments who decided to return the units to Jerusalem."

"Very few units returned to Jerusalem, just 6 or 7 units, while the vast majority did not return to the city, which is a huge economic loss to the capital of Israel, which amounts to 10,000 jobs. NIS 400 million would be added to the city's coffers every year, along with property taxes and more."

According to him, the matter has been investigated and checked, and the conclusion is that office officials, guests, suppliers and subcontractors purchase in the city in the amounts in question, and this income is deducted from the municipal coffers. "The government of Israel, a right-wing national government, speaks a lot about Jerusalem, but it does not do this and it's a serious mistake, a mistake that must be stopped."

Berkowitz stressed that the law does not relate to the regional and municipal branches of the government ministries, but rather to the government units that are supposed to move to and from Jerusalem. He said that it is are government units not returning to Jerusalem, but that new units are also located outside of Jerusalem. "This is what happened with the BDS Unit, which is outside of Jerusalem. The digital unit of Israel under the Ministry for Social Equality is outside of Jerusalem. So are dozens of units in the Ministries of Transportation, Justice, Education, etc. The exceptions committee gives permits without any real reasons. The explanations are vague and practically fictitious."

Berkowitz said that he and his movement are conducting correspondence on this issue with government ministers, directors-general and government housing managers. "Following these contacts, there is a little progress in imposing sanctions on units that will not move to Jerusalem, but it is still weak and not strong. We need a budgeted government program that raises ten or fifteen units each year to Jerusalem to preserve the city's status and strengthen its position."

"Minister Regev raised her office on her first day in Jerusalem, a worthy move that received all the encouragement from us, but she still has units ... that remain outside [Jerusalem]. They give evasive answers like there is no place to live or the committees object, and that's what they say [entire complexes] stand empty,"




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