JERUSALEM (Aug. 25)
Knesset members interrupted their summer recess Tuesday for a special session on “the government’s new restrictions on Jewish settlement in Jerusalem.”
But all motions critical of the new government’s policies were voted down.
The session was requested by opposition parties in the wake of a government halt in financial assistance to Jews seeking to purchase Arab property in East Jerusalem.
The Housing Ministry has also ordered a stop to government purchases of Arab houses and lots in East Jerusalem, and authorities are trying to determine the extent to which the previous Likud-led administration channeled government funds toward the purchase of real estate there.
Comparing the current government to past rulers, former Housing Minister Ariel Sharon asked rhetorically: “Who is it that opposes Jewish housing in Jerusalem? The degenerate Ottoman ruler? The suppressive British mandatory government? No, none of those, but the government of Israel, a Jewish government in Eretz Yisrael.”
His successor at the Housing Ministry, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, replied that the manner in which settlement had been carried out in the eastern part of the city under the Likud-led government had undermined Jerusalem’s best interests.