Minister: We Won't Sit Still for Building Freeze

Uri Ariel confirmed what many Israelis fear - that there is a de facto, if not de jure, building freeze in Judea and Samaria.

Yaakov Levi ,

Uri Ariel
Uri Ariel
Flash 90

Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel and MK Bezalel Smotrich, members of the Jewish Home party who represent the National Union faction of the party, participated Sunday night in a meeting that discussed the movement's future in light of the “creeping building freeze” many residents of Judea and Samaria say is occurring.

Those who claim that this is the case are not wrong, said Ariel. “The whole concept of 'building freeze' must be done away with,” said Ariel. “There are no circumstances in which this would be permissible anywhere in Israel, especially in Jerusalem.”

However, the concept is not quite dead, said Ariel. “Today there is no building in Jerusalem, and no planning for building either. The Prime Minister promised that homes would be sold in Jerusalem, but this is not happening. This is against all the agreements we have with the government and against the spirit of Judaism. We are in the midst of deciding about how to proceed,” he added.

According to Smotrich, “anyone who does not have the guts to build in Judea and Samaria is upending the point of Zionism and of Israel. We will not accept a situation in which the government demolishes but does not build.”

Members of the National Union faction met in Beit El Sunday to discuss an impending demolition of homes in the community. Speaking to Arutz Sheva Sunday, Ofir Sofer, chairman of the National Union, said that the group planned to demand much more of the government that it has in the past, considering the apparent “creeping construction freeze” that has been implemented by the government.

According to Sofer, many voters of the Likud who consider themselves rightwing are very disappointed with the government. “We expected certain things to happen,” he said. “This is supposed to be a rightwing government. We did everything possible to elect this government, but now we hear voices in the Likud that are calling for a building freeze.”

If things don't change, said Sofer, the group – a part of Jewish Home, currently serving in the Knesset – would have to take action. “I do not mean to say we are going to quit the government immediately,” he said. “But we are beginning to solidify our position on construction issues, throughout the country. I do not believe it is proper to threaten with something that would he impossible to follow through on – but that applies only currently. I am not sure this will be the case in two months, however, because the developing policy does not appear positive.”