Construction in Judea and Samaria
Construction in Judea and SamariaIsrael news photo

Anti-climax: The construction freeze in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria ended at midnight, but construction is resuming slowly, due to the Sukkot holiday.

Jewish building teams are or have been at work in only two locations as of now, Monday morning: At Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem and in the city of Ariel.

Work at Joseph’s Tomb actually started on Saturday night. A new, five-ton gravestone was placed on the site, with the help of cranes, atop the exact spot on which the original stone was vandalized and destroyed by Arabs over the course of the past years.

In Ariel, the 4th largest city in Judea and Samaria with some 17,000 residents, work began this morning on more than 50 new housing units. The new homes have been designated for the former residents of Netzarim, who have been displaced since the Disengagement/Expulsion of 2005. Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to make an exception in their case, and the freeze thus applied to their new homes as well.

Itzik Vazana of Netzarim-Ariel told Israel National News, “The bulldozers are here, clearing the area – literally starting from scratch. We don’t view this as a time for celebrations, but rather as a time to get to work. Hopefully, with G-d’s help, in a few months or less we will be able to see the foundations of our new homes.”

The new neighborhood is breaking new ground south of the mostly east-west city of Ariel. Work on the 60 or so units is expected to take a year and a half.

In Revavah, a community of 250 families northwest of Ariel, hundreds of celebrants let off balloons, cheered and sang to mark the end of the government-imposed moratorium on construction work. 

Thousands of youths of the religious Ezra youth movement set off on a “settlement renewal” march throughout Samaria. They will gather towards evening in the town of Yakir, where they will mark the end of the construction freeze with a gala ceremony. Science Minister Rabbi Dr. Daniel Herskovitz will participate, as will Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika.

They will also hold a memorial for Avishai Shindler, a former Ezra youth counselor who was murdered in a terrorist attack south of Hevron three weeks ago.