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Protest outside the PM's residence
Photo: TPS
Settlers protest outside PM's residence, demanding funding for security
After visits of support from Education Minister Bennett and former minister Sa'ar, settlers hold rally with over 2,000 people calling on PM Netanyahu to transfer millions of shekels promised to them five years ago to bolster security.

Over 2,000 people protested outside the Prime Minister's Residence on Sunday evening, demanding funding for new security measures and bypass roads in West Bank settlements.

 

 

Among the protesters were settlers whose family members were murdered in terror attacks in the West Bank.

 

Itay Mizrahi, whose father Baruch Mizrahi was murdered in a terror attack on Passover Seder night three years ago, spoke at the protest.

 

Settlers protesting outside PM's residence (Photo: TPS)
Settlers protesting outside PM's residence (Photo: TPS)
 

"Three years ago, when we were on our way to celebrate Seder night with grandpa and grandma in Kiryat Arba, terrorists started shooting at the car we were traveling in. I remember the shooting, the shouting and the pain. This year, I am celebrating my Bar Mitzva, and dad's absence is felt more than ever," he said.

 

"I am here today on behalf of other orphan children who are asking to be the last ones (to be made orphans)," Itay added.

 

Hadas Mizrahi and her son Itay (Photo: TPS)
Hadas Mizrahi and her son Itay (Photo: TPS)

 

"We're here to prevent the next murder," said Rina Ariel, whose daughter Hallel Yaffa Ariel was murdered in her bed by a 17-year-old terrorist who infiltrated her home in Kiryat Arba. "We must act with great determination against the insane terrorism. This means death sentences to terrorists, stopping all funds (terrorists') families receive, and ensuring terrorists' bodies are not returned to the enemy. In addition, improving the roads and preventing the demolition of communities."

 

Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council and one of the leaders of the protest, addressed the prime minister, telling him, "The security of half a million residents in Judea and Samaria cannot be forfeited! We're here because we're done with promises and spins. Mr. Prime Minister, we demand actions. We're here in our thousands to say: With promises, you can't prevent attacks. With promises you can't build the Land of Israel."

 

Several members of Knesset attended the protest to express their solidarity with the settlers' plight.

 

Welfare and Labor Minister Haim Katz declared that "Bypass roads and preventative measures are not luxuries. We must provide them, the sooner the better. I call on the prime minister, who wants the security of the citizens, to gather the government and pass the necessary budget as soon as possible."

 

Welfare Minister Jaim Katz at the protest rally (Photo: TPS)
Welfare Minister Jaim Katz at the protest rally (Photo: TPS)

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told protesters that Netanyahu has committed to her to bolster security by allocating a budget for the measures the settlers are demanding.

 

"We're talking about human lives. Why wait? Every moment that passes endangers human lives. We're fighting for the security not just of the residents but of those traveling on the roads and visiting the communities," she said.

 

Settler leaders have set up a protest tent outside the Prime Minister's Residence to protest against what they claim is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s persistent failure to deliver on promises to boost their security.

 

Among the myriad grievances that were voiced, the demonstrators said that two years ago they were promised NIS 300 million would be allocated to beef up security arrangements in the West Bank, but that the money was never transferred to the relevant bodies.

 

During a meeting with settler leaders on Wednesday, Netanyahu pledged to earmark NIS 800 million in the upcoming budget for bolstering security provisions in the West Bank. But the protesters say promises are not enough and demand the budget allocation is enshrined in a government decision.

 

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) visited the tent on Sunday, telling the protesting settlers, "I'm coming from the party leaders' meeting, where I instructed to immediately begin work on both security measures and bypass roads."

 

Bennett with the protesting settlers (Photo: Miri Tzachi)
Bennett with the protesting settlers (Photo: Miri Tzachi)

 

He asserted that "This isn't a political issue; it's about human lives," adding "Your demand is clear, and our responsibility as the Israeli government is to provide security."

 

Former minister Gideon Sa'ar also visited the protest tent on Sunday, telling the settlers, "It's very important that you succeed in your struggle, because your success means preventing the spilling of blood, plain and simple."

 

He said the settlers' demands were "elementary," adding, "We view the settlement in Judea and Samaria as the defensive shield of Israel in general and of the population living in the coastal region in particular."

 

Sa'ar at the protest tent (Photo: Eli Mendelbaum)
Sa'ar at the protest tent (Photo: Eli Mendelbaum)

 

Sa'ar met with Hadas Mizrahi, the wife of Baruch Mizrahi, who told him she has been working to improve the infrastructure and cell reception on the road her husband was murdered.

 

"My struggle today is to save lives," Mizrahi said. "I'm a resident of Modi'in. Why do I get normal roads, while my parents who live in Kiryat Arba don't?"

 

 

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