PMO bureau chief promises to 'do everything' to expand Har Brakha
While offering his condolences to bereaved family after murder of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal in terror attack, PM's chief of staff Yoav Horowitz promises to promote approval of zoning plane, 800 homes in the settlement; Ben-Gal's widow asks for 'comfort in the form of construction.'
Yoav Horowitz, the prime minister's chief of staff, promised residents in Har Brakha on Thursday that he would "do everything" to approve the settlement's zoning plan.
Horowitz visited the settlement last week to offer his condolences to the Ben-Gal family after Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal was murdered in a terror attack, bringing with him a letter from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the bereaved family.
"Unfortunately, the murderer's hand cut Itamar's life short. The hatred of our enemies will not defeat us. We will continue building this country and ensure, with G-d's help, an eternity for Israel," Netanyahu wrote.
After a visibly emotional Horowitz finished reading the letter, Ben-Gal's widow, Miriam, said they "want comfort in the form of construction."
She also asked for the prime minister to come in person to offer his condolences.
Horowitz said he would convey her requests to the prime minister, and promised to advance construction in the settlement.
"I know Har Brakha's zoning plan well, I know the plan and I know the history of the processes that happened. We'll do everything to implement (the zoning plan) as soon as possible," Horowitz said. "We're examining when we could expand this community."
There are some 5,000 residents living in Har Brakha. The zoning plan for the settlement has been approved in the past, but not in full. Some 800 housing units are awaiting approval after they've been put on hold during the Obama era. Approving the full zoning plan, as well as the 800 homes, could help double the settlement's population.
Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, joined Horowitz's visit. Dagan has been applying pressure to the prime minister and other ministers to approve Har Brakha's zoning plan, as he has done with Havat Gilad—an illegal outpost that received the backing of the government after the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevah, one of its residents.
"This family is very strong, filled with faith," Dagan said. "Their statement shows their values. We always need to be building, but here in particular we need a strong Zionist statement. We need to make it clear terror doesn't pay off. It needs to be clear that because of the attack, this community has been doubled in size."