Uri Ariel in Itamar
Uri Ariel in ItamarKoby Harati

Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) on Sunday took part in celebrations at Itamar dedicating a new synagogue built in memory of terror victims from the Samaria town, and at the event vowed to end the construction freeze - not for the first time.

Speaking at the dedication, the minister of housing said "enough of the explanations and the excuses, the time has come to stop the freeze and build in Itamar, as well as in Hevron, Kiryat Arba, and all of the land of Israel."

"The lack of building is understood G-d forbid as a prize to terror, and I turn to the prime minister and say to him: don't bring us to a trying experience, don't let the situation of this coalition and the government be undermined because of the building freeze. Start to build," said the housing minister.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been revealed to be imposing a construction freeze against Jews in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for many long months, even from during the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in which he agreed to release jailed terrorists as a "gesture" instead of the freeze but eventally went ahead and made both concessions.

The freeze has continued despite the PA's unity deal with Hamas that torpedoed talks, and despite Israel's deepening housing crisis; many have noted Judea and Samaria is reportedly over 90% unpopulated, and could solve Israel's housing problems if properly developed.

This is in fact not the first time the housing minister admitted there is a building freeze and made statements promising to end it.

Back in May, Ariel said "there will be no more freezes, we will not accept delays and restrictions in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and we will continue to build in all parts of our country." Despite the housing minister's words, regional leaders report the freeze has only gotten worse since then.

The statement is considered the first time a government minister has officially recognized there is a covert freeze being conducted.

Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika was also present at the dedication, and confirmed Ariel's statements that there is a silent building freeze going on.

"Unfortunately the silent freeze is felt on the ground," said Mesika. "It finds expression among other places in Itamar. The plans that are left stuck by the diplomatic echelon must be released. This freeze, which didn't even get approval from the government, is a serious blow to human rights. It must not continue."