Binyamin Netanyahu at weekly Cabinet meeting (file)
Binyamin Netanyahu at weekly Cabinet meeting (file) Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90

The government on Sunday approved Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recommendation for an additional budget of 70 million shekels to communities in Judea and Samaria.

Included in that budget is a one-off Interior Ministry grant of 15 million shekels to local councils in Judea-Samaria, to help them cope with ongoing Arab terrorism.

The Agriculture Ministry will transfer 10 million shekels to convert a number of temporary structures into permanent ones, as well as for renovations of public buildings.

The Health, Education and Welfare ministries will be allocating 12 million shekels over the course of three years, for security needs including running safe rooms, security assessments and providing social-psychological support to victims of terror.

The Welfare Ministry will be providing an additional six million shekels for other social services in Judea and Samaria, while another 5.5 million shekels has been allocated to the local tourism industry.

One particularly significant aspect of the budget is that, after years of abortive efforts by the government to approve funding for the establishment of hotels in Judea and Samaria, the government passed Tourism Minister Yariv Levin's recommendation to cover 20% of the costs of building hotels in Judea and Samaria as an incentive for investment in Israel's Biblical heartland.

Welfare and Social Service Minister Haim Katz (Likud) praised the budget, hailing the government for supporting frontline Israeli communities.

"It is our duty to take care of communities which are at the forefront of combating terrorism, and dealing bravely with the complex security and social challenges," said Katz.

During the discussion at Sunday morning's Cabinet meeting, Katz also urged the government to deal with the problem of a lack of lighting on many roads in Judea and Samaria, saying that such a crucial, potentially life-threatening issue needs to be made a priority.

Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud), also hailed the decision, saying she was proud to have supported the measures.

She emphasized that the additional allocations in sports and culture would not come at the expense of other communities in the "periphery" (i.e. the Negev and Galilee regions).

Jewish Home party MK Bezalel Smotrich, who was among the initiators of the proposal, expressed his satisfaction at its passage.

"We are talking about an important decision, which reflects the government's commitment to strengthen" communities in Judea and Samaria, he said.

"The settlements in Judea and Samaria have stood fast for years at the security front, as well as against the ongoing wave of terror," Smotrich continued. 

"The resilience of its residence is a primary national interest, which effects the entire Israeli society."