Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Jewish Home chairperson and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday made a proposal for "solving" the scourge of terrorism by illegal Arab workers, by calling to more than double the work permits handed to Arab residents of Judea and Samaria.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday a discussion was held on increasing the punishment for those who provide housing for Arabs from the region who illegally enter sovereign Israeli territory, and in many cases utilize their illegal entry to launch terror attacks.

Bennett proposed a solution according to The Marker, saying that in addition to increasing the punishment for those who hire Palestinians illegally, the quota on legal work permits allowing entry for Judea and Samaria Arabs should be raised by another 100,000 workers.

The number is staggering, given that the current quota stands at 55,000 work permits in sovereign Israel and another 25,000 in Judea and Samaria, according to the Bank of Israel. It is estimated that another 30,000 Arabs work illegally without entry permits.

Bennett's proposal would more than double the current number of work permits.

Giving reasons for his proposal, the Jewish Home head first claimed that those with permits don't conduct terror attacks. That claim has proven wrong on numerous occasions, such as the Arab terrorist who last November murdered two Jews at prayer in Tel Aviv, and who, like many other terrorists, took advantage of his legal status to launch an attack.

The second reason given by Bennett was that the work permit increase would reduce the number of attacks because according to him, the extended family of the worker would know that if one of them conducts an attack, they will all lose their source of income.

Cabinet enthusiasm

According to sources close to Bennett, the Cabinet meeting accepted his proposal warmly, with ministers Yoav Galant and Moshe Ya'alon calling it a good and practical idea, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would discuss the proposal.

In recent years Israel has been increasingly granting more and more work permits to Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, with the total number doubling in the last four years after the state lowered the age limit to receive the permits to 22.

Bennett has in the past made similar arguments that the state should offer greater financial incentives to the Arab public, claiming that doing so will reduce terrorism.

The Jewish Home head has introduced a number of initiatives to increase the economic standing of Arab citizens. In the last government as Economics Minister he oversaw a $2.5 million program integrating Arabs in the hi-tech industry. In March 2013, he told the Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA) that the issue of increasing the number of Arab women in the workforce is "his baby."

As Education Minister, last August he launched a $7.9 million plan to teach Arab students Hebrew in kindergarten, to improve Arab employment and economic power, and then in December he announced that he is establishing the "first Arab college" in Israel.

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