MK Rabbi Menachem Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism) berated the National Council for Planning and Construction on Wednesday for its decision to scale down plans for a hareidi city in north-central Israel. The council decided to approve plans for a city that could hold 50,000 residents, instead of 150,000 as was previously planned.
The project is now to include 9,000 housing units, compared with 20,000 to 25,000 that the planners had hoped for.
MK Moses told the Knesset plenum that the decision “causes direct and serious harm to the hareidi sector and closes down the small window that was opened before it in order to ease the harsh housing shortage.”
MK Moses made a connection between the decision by the National Council for Planning and Construction and the danger that hundreds of workers would be laid off from a plant in the north. “The periphery was hit twice this week,” he said. “The first time was the danger that the Tafron factory in the Galilee would shut down, with all that this entails, and the second was the decision by the National Council for Planning and Construction to reject the request by the Housing Ministry for enlarging the community of Harish.”
"In one fell swoop,” MK Moses declared, “the hareidi public lost the potential for building 25,000 housing units. There is talk about ten months' freeze,” he said, in a reference to the recent government decision regarding Judea and Samaria. “The hareidi public has been under a deep freeze for more than ten years. The failure is a terrible one.”
Moses said that despite a severe shortage in land throughout Israel, and extensive illegal construction in Wadi Ara and the Negev [by Arabs], “when it comes to housing solutions for hareidis we encounter unparallelled radical opposition that has no explanation.”
“Those who do not want us in Wadi Ara and the Negev will get us in central Israel,” he vowed. “We have no other choice but to take over central Israel.”