Litzman to PM: Allow construction in haredi settlements
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman requests PM, Defense Ministry allow construction in ultra-Orthodox settlements of Beitar Illit and Modi'in Illit due to housing crisis in community, says received encouraging responses, believes 'it will be possible to build within a week'
The freeze of construction in settlements served a harsh blow to the ultra-Orthodox settlements of Beitar Illit and Modi'in Illit, which attract residents due to the housing crisis in the haredi sector, and the relatively affordable prices compared to haredi neighborhoods in central Israel.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and requested he consider the needs of the ultra-Orthodox, and approve construction in the two settlements.
"There is great distress," Litzman told Ynet, "We have people who paid money and started to build foundations, and I fear that their money will go down the drain. We must ease up on them."
In addition to the prime minister, Litzman contacted the Defense Ministry, and said he received encouraging responses from both parties: "I believe it will be possible to build within a week."
"The prime minister said he would examine the matter, and the defense minister's office also said they would seek a solution. Such a decision cannot be made without examining the consequences. I am optimistic, and I hope that the prime minister will meet us halfway. He understands the problem," said Litzman, who declined to comment on whether he feels the freeze is justified.
Earlier on Wednesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Netanyahu to discuss the enforcement of the temporary West Bank building moratorium.
The defense minister's entourage said that the meeting dealt with enforcement protocols to be distributed in the coming days by the Defense Ministry with the goal of easing the lives of West Bank residents during the freeze.
"The two are working hand in hand," said Barak associates, "out of a total understanding that the Israeli government's decision must be enforced while taking into consideration the fabric of (settler's) lives."