The cabinet during its weekly session on Sunday, 28 Menachem Av 5773 approved its national priority map. Communities classified as national priority areas enjoy additional funding, tax reductions, as well as assistance in many areas such education, healthcare and cultural activities. Four of the cabinet ministers abstained – Tzipi Livni (The Movement), Yael German (Yesh Atid), Amir Peretz (The Movement) and Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid).
The Movement ministers opposed adding yishuvim over the Green Line to the list. Twenty such communities were added, included some in major settlement bloc areas. Peretz stated the list represents a “political reality” and not a “national reality” because the ministers are ignoring socio-economic factors and addressing political agendas. Housing Minister (Bayit Yehudi) Uri Ariel responded to Peretz, telling him in some cases adding the yishuvim to the list is a matter of “life and death”.
For Bayit Yehudi the new list can be viewed as a victory and many yishuvim which are home to former residents of Gush Katif have been added to the priority map. This includes Bnei Ganim, Ganei Tal, Bnei Dekalim, Chazan and Netzer Chazani.
Also on the list is Kibbutz Alumot (Jordan Valley), Alon HaGalil (mixed religious secular community in Lachish district), Kadita (Upper Galil), Shalva (Negev), Mitzpei Ilan, Eshkolot (S. Hebron Hills), Negahot (S. Hebron Hills), Elon Moreh (Shomron), Rechalim (Shomron), Bruchin, Sansana, Geva Binyamin, Nofim, and Maale Michmas.
The bad news is the price of being in the opposition and not the coalition continues to rise and Betar Illit, which was on that list, has been removed. The same holds true for Charish. Two other communities, both non-chareidi, which have been removed from the list, are Efrat and Kedar.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)