Yariv Oppenheimer
Yariv OppenheimerIsrael news photo: Flash 90

In a sarcastic act, the Shomron Regional Council has given Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer and far-left activist attorney Michael Sefard, the legal advisor to the Yesh Din organization, “honorary citizenship” in the communities of Bruchin, Rechelim and Kiryat Netafim.

The two were sent certificates recognizing their honorary citizenship, which they have been given because of the “contribution” they made to bringing about the approvals of the construction plans of the three communities.

The construction plans for all three communities were approved after Peace Now and Yesh Din appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that homes in the communities were illegally built. That forced the government to examine the status of the communities, only to discover that there was no legal reason to leave their status in limbo.

Bruchin was established in the 1980s based on a government decision, but the defense minister avoided signing its final construction plan for many years, leading to the community being listed as an “illegal outpost” in the 2005 report by Attorney Talia Sasson, a candidate on the leftist Meretz’s Knesset list who was appointed by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to author a now-discredited report on outposts in Judea and Samaria.

The Shomron Regional Council brought dozens of Knesset members and ministers to visit Bruchin and see for themselves the injustice done to the residents, who were unable to even build daycare centers because the community was “illegal.” The State later told the Supreme Court, in response to a petition by leftist organizations, that it will be approving the signing of Bruchin’s final construction plan.

Similar petitions by Peace Now and Yesh Din brought about the approvals of construction plans for Rechelim and Kiryat Netafim. Kiryat Netafim was one of six communities that Defense Minister Ehud Barak legalized in April of 2011. Rechelim and Bruchin were on a list of three communities the state announced it would legalize three months ago.

Oppenheimer and Sefard were “awarded” their honorary citizenships during a meeting this week of the Shomron Regional Council plenum in Bruchin. The head of the Shomron Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, said during the meeting, “The idea [to sarcastically honor Oppenheimer and Sefard] came following the approval of the three communities. Kiryat Netafim, established about thirty years ago by the State, was without a signature for its construction plan by the Minister of Defense, who refused to sign it for years. Since the Sasson report, the community’s residents lived without the possibility to build or develop the community, causing them great suffering.”

He added, “Following the petition of Peace Now against a neighborhood built inside the community, the government had to finally reach the simple and obvious decision [to approve its construction plans]. In addition, a petition by Yesh Din brought about the approvals of Bruchin and Rechelim.

Attorney Akiva Sylvetsky, legal advisor to the Shomron Regional Council, told Sefard several months ago in court, that he should thank Sefard for petitioning, because every petition the leftist organizations file causes the government to finally conduct a thorough investigation and almost always ends up with the discovery that the so-called "outposts" are perfectly legal.