'It excites me to have a part in building the Land'

Emmanuel Council head reports renewed momentum and increased cooperation between haredi community and Judea-Samaria settlement leaders.

Mordechai Sones,

Emmanuel
Emmanuel
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Arutz Sheva spoke with Emmanuel Council head Eliyahu Gafni and Council Director Yehuda Hendler about the Emmanuel Regional Council in Samaria's renewed building momentum.

Gafni presents a series of projects and goals for the next years of site development: "We're now breaking out, we're in the race," he says.

Council Director Yehuda Hendler notes recent Yesha Council data indicating the Emmanuel Council is the second largest in Judea and Samaria. In 2018 there was an increase of 6.5 percent, "second only to Efrat," Handler says.

Gafni relates that since entering office, 52 houses have been occupied, and now the Council is bidding for 50 additional villas, and "there are 116 more planned units in the background. There's great demand for it." In his speech, Gafni presents the plans for the municipal new industrial zones and notes that plans have already been approved and here too the demand is high, including among large companies.

"Over the past few years, we've seen a revolution in demand and in the interest that Emmanuel is arousing in the haredi community," says Hendler, who says that these things are felt in terms of demographic growth and growing demand for housing in the city.

Emmanuel life
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The Council Head sees the growth rate as a snowball whose direction can already be identified. "It's gaining more and more layers, and quality."

Hendler notes that contrary to the image of the settler in the eyes of the Israeli public, one-third of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria is haredi, and this sector is a very important element in settlement and holding the Land of Israel. "That's how we connect more and more populations."

"We have an interest in being part of the Land of Israel," Gafni says of the first encounter with settlement leader Ze'ev Hever, Zambish: "With his first handshake, and anyone who knows knows - he has a strong handshake - I told him you have an opportunity to integrate the religious and haredi public. Use this leverage if you want to reach a half-million people in Judea and Samaria, and you have a partner here and we can do things together.

"The prices here are very attractive, the place is kept and nice, and there's peace and tranquility that I don't know if there is in any other place. There are new roads here and a lot of investment, there are the heads of the surrounding councils who take care of us," says Gafni, and Hendler notes that many housing units that were approved in the past did not come out and now the council has set a goal of exploiting these permits and for the next five years to double Emanuel and simultaneously prepare building reserves for the future."

Gafni also mentions the coalition cooperation that includes a "wall-to-wall coalition" as he puts it that allowed the budget to be transferred quickly. "When I sign a Form Four for building approval, it moves me that I have a part in building the Land of Israel, and even more exciting is that everything comes with agreement. Unity is very important to me.

"We're telling the haredi public, you can find your place in Emmanuel; there's a rich and varied community here with all the educational institutions that you need, with a haredi character, a place that feels like home, family, and adherence to haredi principles that are important to the haredi public," and the Council head promises that in another year or two completely different maps will be seen on his office wall, expressing the momentum of construction and development in the Council.



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