'If gov't isn't doing its job, someone else should take over'

Residents of threatened town say lawmakers don't understand how important their location is to Israel's security.

Eliran Aharon ,

Sde Boaz
Sde Boaz
Eliran Aharon

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Sde Boaz resident Dan Shenker spoke about the importance of his town's strategic location and said the main issue is a lack of policy.

"What's happening here is absurd. We're not fighters, we're builders," Shenker told Arutz Sheva. "And on the other hand, the Palestinians are taking over dozens of acres by virtue of foreign funding."

According to Shekner, Sde Boaz is located in a strategically important location between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem.

"Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) needs to declare sovereignty," he said. "All of the politicians refuse to take responsibility, and this has been going on for years and years."

Another resident, Eliyahu, said, "I'm really sorry that the State of Israel doesn't understand the importance of our uniquely strategic location. I invite everyone, especially the Defense Minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to come and sit on my roof, and see with their own eyes how strategically important our town is."

"Even without binoculars, you can see Gaza's beaches, Ashkelon's and Ashdod's chimneys, and the tops of Jordan's houses. You can see almost to Herzliya. All of Jerusalem's mountainous neighborhoods - Gilo, Mount Scopus, Mount Shmuel, Ramot, the "string bridge" - you can see it all from right here."

"I am willing to destroy my home, without fighting and with a lot of love, if the Defense Minister comes to my roof, sees what we see with his own eyes, and says we don't need to be here."

Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shlomo Ne'eman explained that "there is anther option, which will allow us to keep the law and avoid needless destruction. The right option, the moral and Zionist option, is normalization."

"It's unthinkable that the ruling power, the Israeli government, should continue comparing settlers to criminals, unjustly and without cause, for ten or twenty years - instead of working to normalize the towns and legalize the country's pioneers.

"Government land is a national treasure, one of the most important things we have. When the government leaves protection of a strategic town up to a handful of volunteer pioneers, it should not be surprised to find that sometimes the volunteers don't follow the laws precisely. The government should not work against these good people, who are doing the government's job for them."

Sde Boaz was established 50 years ago, near Route 60 south of Jerusalem. The buildings in question were built on “survey land,” or land about which there is no suspicion of private ownership but whose status the government still has not “normalized." Four families live there with their children.

In 2012, in coordination with then-Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon, the residents of the community agreed to evacuate the four structures, and Ya’alon promised in return to work for legal planning and proper normalization of Sde Boaz.

Since then, no progress has been made by the Civil Administration regarding the governmental promise given by the Minister.



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