Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai Took a jab at the United States Tuesday, slamming the international community for its calls to freeze Jewish construction in Jerusalem. The Shas leader visited Givat Ze'ev in the capital, where he and members of his party came to show their support for the new building project erected in the area.
Yishai and other Shas members visited the new Givat Ze'ev Elite neighborhood, where 400 housing units have already been built and thousands more are underway.
"The Americans demanded we freeze all construction in the area. Did they demand the same of the Palestinians, who build thousands of units without permits?" he asked.
"We have to make it clear to them there will be no such thing. Halting construction in Jerusalem was the wrong thing to do in the first place," added Yishai. "We cannot halt construction in Jerusalem, its vicinity or the settlements. We need thousands of more units ."
Earlier in the week, Housing and Construction Minister Ze'ev Boim ordered the construction projects halted in Givat Ze'ev be resumed, but similar projects at Modiin and Beitar Elite have yet to be unfrozen – an issue Yishai said he intends to address next.
"I am well aware of the international community's inclination to have Israel stop all construction in Jerusalem and the settlement blocs, but that's not a legitimate request," said Yishai.
"It's the wrong thing to do… the construction in Beitar Elite, Efrat, and the settlements will go on and if it brings the (peace) talks to a halt, well, maybe we're better off."
MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism), who joined the Shas tour, told Ynet that he anticipates somewhat of a construction boom in places like Givat Ze'ev and Beitar Elite: "The State has a lot invested in the development (here). We have to launch construction bids as soon as possible and build in all areas we know will be under Israel's rule in the final-status agreement."