Netanyahu and Ben Gvir agree to legalize Jewish towns in the Biblical heartland

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As part of their coalition negotiations, Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir agreed on Wednesday to initiate several legal initiatives that would legalize dozens of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. The towns included in the agreement are those classified as “young settlements” and were established without government authorization.

The initiatives are supposed to move forward within 60 days of the new government being sworn in. The new laws would change the 2005 Disengagement Law that led to the forcible relocation of some 9,000 Jewish residents of Gush Katif and northern Samaria.

“Every spot on which your foot treads shall be yours; your territory shall extend from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River—the Euphrates—to the Western Sea.” Deuteronomy 11:24 (The Israeli Bible)

The law was controversial within the government and Israeli society leading to mass demonstrations. Intended as a pathway to renew the “Peace Process”, it opened the way for rocket attacks from Gaza targeting Israeli urban centers and the establishment of terrorist centers within Israel.

The agreement would legalize the Homesh and Evyatar settlements in Samaria that had been demolished by the Israeli government in 2005. Many attempts have been made to reestablish Homesh over the years but the IDF has prevented them despite a 2007 court ruling permitting Israelis to enter the site. After Yehudah Dimentman was murdered by Palestinian terrorists near Homesh in December 2021, there were increased calls by the Israeli public to open up Homesh to settlement.

Zionist party which is allied with Otzma Yehudit. Smotrich is demanding either the Treasury or the Defense Ministry portfolio. Netanyahu reportedly is unwilling to assign him the post of Defense Minister.

Media reports claimed that the negotiations between Smotrich and Netanyahu became heated with Smotrich accusing Netanyahu of forming his government according to the wishes of the Biden administration.

“The Americans will decide who will be appointed minister? It’s not meant to work like that,” Smotrich reportedly told Netanyahu. He called for the US government to “respect Israeli democracy and not get involved in the formation of an elected government”.

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