Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party expressed outrage on Wednesday about
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel’s announcement that he intends to
build in the controversial E1 area between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh
Ariel made the announcement at a festive Independence Day
celebration at the site of E1 Tuesday attended by Knesset members in his Bayit
“We will fulfill our right and our obligation to build
here,” Ariel said at the event. “In another year and a half, apartments will be
built in E1.
Hatnua faction chairman Meir Sheetrit, who is a former
construction and housing minister, said he and his party would do everything
possible to prevent Ariel from building in the area. He advised Ariel to build
in the uncontroversial Negev and Galilee instead.
“Building in E1 would
be a big mistake,” Sheetrit said. “He cannot get away with such an unnecessary
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud-Beytenu) responded
that building the proposed Mevaseret Adumim neighborhood in E1 was a foregone
conclusion that Hatnua could not stop.
“We will build in E1, as
Likud-Beytenu has promised,” Levin said. “Hatnua is an important component in
the coalition, but they have to remember that they have only six
Levin downplayed reports of possible changes to the coalition,
which was formed exactly a month ago on March 18.
Shas mentor Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef was quoted saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was
already fed up with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Bayit Yehudi chairman
Naftali Bennett and wanted Shas back in the government.
says it won’t take long for Lapid and Bennett [to leave],” Yosef said in a
closed conversation, a recording of which was revealed by Army
Radio. “[Netanyahu] is suffering from them. He knew he would suffer from
The Prime Minister’s Office denied that anything similar to that
was said by Netanyahu, who paid a shiva call to Yosef, who is mourning the loss
of a son, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef.
“It is too soon for anyone in the coalition
to talk about suffering,” Levin said. “But yes, we want to add Shas to the
coalition as soon as possible and Labor as well.”
Yesh Atid faction
chairman Ofer Shelah said Yosef’s comments were irrelevant, and the coalition is
Shas chairman Eli Yishai said he did not want his party to enter
the government yet. “It’s too soon,” Yishai said.
“Being in the
opposition is healthy. We need a year there to recover and get stronger.”