Following the preliminary vote on a highly controversial law allowing illegally built homes in the Arab sector to be connected to the national electricity grid, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) has stated that she is working to have so-called “young settlements” connected to water and electricity infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
In an interview that aired on Reshet Bet, Shaked said, “It’s possible to connect the young settlements to the power grid via a general order that enables the Defense Minister to approve the connection. We’re already working on that, and we hope that it will happen within the next few months.”
Shaked added that, “If the government continues to function well, it will live out its term in office. And so far, it is functioning well.”
The Interior Minister also related that the Prime Minister intends to use the “Wings of Zion” airplane for his official travels abroad, an airplane that was acquired by the previous government for the use of the President and Prime Minister.
“Bennett will be using that airplane and he has already given the order to get it ready,” she said. “There’s no point in leaving it standing empty in a warehouse; there’s also no point in spending money on commercial flights,” she added.
Shaked was then asked if she regretted supporting the appointment of Dr. Avichai Mandelblit as Attorney-General, to which she replied: “There was also someone else who was a full partner in choosing to appoint him – someone called Benjamin Netanyahu. We made that decision together.”
Last week, thousands of families across Israel turned off the lights for two minutes at eight o’clock at night, in protest at the government’s decision to advance the Electricity Law that will provide around 70,000 illegally constructed Arab homes with electricity – while disregarding the plight of the young settlements which have yet to be granted permission to join the national power grid and also lack infrastructure for water.
A number of Knesset Members participated in the show of support and also wrote posts on social media networks demanding that the government regulate the status of young settlements once and for all, enabling their around 20,000 residents (including 12,000 children) to gain access to basic amenities – electricity, water, internet, and security systems.
The Forum for Young Settlements thanked the general public for its demonstration of support and called on the government to provide an immediate solution enabling the communities to connect to the power grid. “Today, thousands of people turned out their lights in order to enlighten the government,” they said in a statement. “We demand that the government provide basic infrastructure – electricity, water, and security systems – to these communities.”