Netanyahu's revenge? Key settlement figures not invited to event

The event is to be held today in Ariel, attended by the PM & US Ambassador to Israel, as well as settlement council heads - all except two.

Hezki Baruch ,

A previous meeting between the PM and Council heads
A previous meeting between the PM and Council heads
Yesha Council

A festive event planned to take place on Wednesday in the city of Ariel in Samaria may well be disrupted, after it became known that certain figures who might have been expected to be invited were omitted from the list of attendees.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had arranged the event, to be attended by the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in order to celebrate their signing of an intelligence-sharing agreement related to Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights. Due to the nature of the agreement, Council heads from these regions were invited to attend, but at the last moment, it became known that two Council leaders had not been invited. And not just any two leaders – one is David Elhayani, head of the Yesha Council and Jordan Valley Council head; the other is Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council.

Once the news spread, the Whatsapp group of the Council heads erupted in a storm, with sharp criticism of the Prime Minister for his decision.

The head of the Karnei Shomron Regional Council, Yigal Lahav, wrote to the group: “Unfortunately, I understand that only some of the Council heads from Judea and Samaria have been invited to this meeting with the Prime Minister. We are trying to unite our forces in order to promote the settlement enterprise, and are seeing success in various projects due to our unity. I realize that there are positions for and against, but this was supposed to be a festive occasion… Despite my wish to take part in this meeting and express my gratitude to the US Ambassador to Israel, as well as to the Prime Minister, without all the Council heads being invited I don’t see my place as being there, and have not confirmed my attendance. If there are any changes in plan, I will be happy to attend. I hope that we will yet see days of unity and cooperation in building the Land of Israel without disputes.”

The head of the Beit Aryeh Regional Council, Yehuda Elboim, wrote: “I am in total agreement with Lahav. I have cancelled my participation in this event.”

The head of the Emmanuel Council, Eliyahu Gafni, wrote: “I suggest that we vote on this and decide based on what the majority thinks.”

Head of the Kiryat Arba-Hebron Council, Eliyahu Liebman, wrote: “Lahav, a big thank you, and I agree with every word.”

Head of the Maale Adumim Council, Benny Kasriel, wrote: “I take offence that some of us have not been invited and especially the Yesha Council head, who is our official representative. We must stand up for our rights to build in every settlement at every time. I support David Elhayani and the Yesha Council and will not be attending this meeting.”

The background to the decision to exclude these two is, apparently, the strong position of Elhayani and Dagan in favor of applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, and their sharp criticism of the Prime Minister for failing to take this step, even after he specifically promised to do so in the runup to national elections.