Netanyahu Supports Massive Expansion of Jerusalem Municipality
JNS.org – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated on Wednesday that he would support an initiative to integrate four Jewish communities in the West Bank, as well as a large settlement bloc, into the Jerusalem municipality.
The Jewish communities that would be absorbed into Jerusalem’s municipality — Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Beitar Illit, Efrat and the Gush Etzion bloc of neighborhoods — are home to about 130,000 Israelis. Some of the communities are situated deep in the West Bank, as far as six miles from Jerusalem.
The plan was initiated by Likud Knesset member Yoav Kisch. If implemented, residents of the communities in question would be able to cast ballots in Jerusalem municipal elections, but the communities would not fall under complete Israeli sovereignty. The proposal states that it would serve to balance the demographics of Jerusalem and “bring back Jerusalem’s status as a symbol.”
The initiative would also see about 100,000 Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem removed from the city’s census and integrated into a new municipality. Netanyahu has instructed Kisch to implement the plan after the Knesset’s summer recess, Haaretz reported.