Groundbreaking ceremony for Mekor Haim
Groundbreaking ceremony for Mekor HaimFlash90

MKs, regional leaders, and the esteemed families of murdered Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha'ar, and Eyal Yifrah attended the foundation-laying ceremony for the Mekor Haim yeshiva (Torah academy) on Monday, laying the groundwork for the permanent buildings for the boys' school in their memory.

Dignitaries at the event included Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) and Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Davidi Perl.

"We are here today to establish, to start building, the new institution of the Mekor Haim Yeshiva, which for many years has been run out of caravans," Perl stated to Arutz Sheva at the event.

The groundwork is being laid in Neve Daniel, a community in the heart of Gush Etzion.

"I think this is a sign for us that we can keep building and that we are looking from this side to Tel Aviv and all the state of Israel and are saying that we'll continue to build from here, and make Gush Etzion a part of the State of Israel, forever."

"We have to keep building, everywhere, throughout Judea and Samaria," he continued. "Unfortunately, our government [only] makes the decision to build after the murder of the youths, after other terror attacks."

"It's not the right way to build, but if it's in a place where you're not building at all, it's better than nothing," he added.  

The groundbreaking ceremony is a rare sign of growth in the region, amid a "covert" building freeze in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. 

Controversy over the freeze has grown after statistics showed it has checked the natural growth of a region that is reportedly over 90% unpopulated and has deepened the housing crisis in Israel.