Gush Etzion head welcomes additional budget

June 19, 2016  

The head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Davidi Perl, on Sunday expressed his satisfaction with the government’s decision to transfer an additional budget to communities in Judea and Samaria due to of the wave of terrorism that has hit the Jewish population in the region.

“There is not a sense of relief – but definitely a sense that justice is starting to be done,” he told Arutz Sheva. “We have been suffering here since Operation Brother’s Keeper (the search for the three yeshiva students who were kidnapped and murdered –ed.) and especially in the last six months there were a lot of attacks. The population suffered, businesses have suffered greatly.”

Perl emphasized that this harsh reality must be handled by the Israeli government, just as it would do in Sderot or in Jerusalem.

“Today the Prime Minister, along with the Cabinet Ministers, made a courageous decision that neither makes us rich nor gives us something we do not deserve. It helps in the face of the difficulties and the problems that have been created here because of the intolerable situation,” he explained.

He referred to the situation on the ground and noted that “businesses today are starting to recover due to the fact that since Passover there have been fewer attacks. However, it takes many years to correct what was destroyed in six months. We will continue to work with all the parties to help to restore the situation to what it was. We are not scared.”

According to the government decision approved on Sunday, the additional budget includes a one-off Interior Ministry grant of 15 million shekels to local councils in Judea and Samaria, to help them cope with ongoing Arab terrorism.

The Agriculture Ministry will transfer 10 million shekels to convert a number of temporary structures into permanent ones, as well as for renovations of public buildings.

The Health, Education and Welfare ministries will be allocating 12 million shekels over the course of three years, for security needs including running safe rooms, security assessments and providing social-psychological support to victims of terror.

The Welfare Ministry will be providing an additional six million shekels for other social services in Judea and Samaria, while another 5.5 million shekels has been allocated to the local tourism industry.

One particularly significant aspect of the budget is that, after years of abortive efforts by the government to approve funding for the establishment of hotels in Judea and Samaria, the government passed Tourism Minister Yariv Levin’s recommendation to cover 20% of the costs of building hotels in Judea and Samaria as an incentive for investment in Israel’s Biblical heartland.

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