Interior Minister and Shas leader Eli Yishai remains determined to overcome American objections and to move ahead with new housing projects in Betar Illit and Modi’in Illit. Towards achieving this goal, Yishai hopes to meet with American Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham. The minister’s aides hope such a meeting will take place this week.
While Israel is moving along at a brisk pace to remove unauthorized outposts in the hope of receiving the green light from Washington to accommodate natural growth and permit limited construction in “settlements” as the communities are classified by the US Department of State, the White House is not budging, calling for the dismantling of outposts in addition to a total unconditional building freeze.
Yishai hopes to spell out the critical housing shortage in Israel, especially in the chareidi community, and will further add that calls for building are not prompted by a desire to take over new land, but they are justifiably motivated to provide adequate housing for the growing population.
In other ministry matters, Yishai will also broach the subject of America waving visa requirements for Israelis visiting the United States. America in the past has called on Israel to move to biometric passports.
Only after the changeover has been made will Washington entertain an Israeli request to eliminate visa restrictions. American officials are concerned that Israel’s current low-tech passports are too easy to forge and eliminating visa regulations with the current passport would open the door to illegal entry of undesirables into the United States.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)