The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill on Sunday that gives national priority to Jerusalem, similar to priority given to periphery towns, in the sectors of housing, employment and education.

The legislation, initiated by MK Uri Ariel, is expected to undergo a preliminary reading in the Knesset in the near term.

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Moving right along

The bill would give building priorities to the various neighborhoods in Jerusalem, including in east Jerusalem, which could lead to friction with the United States and Europe.

The effect the new legislation will have on inhabitants of the capital are still unclear, but residents are expected to receive various benefits.

The bill was backed by the entire Legislative Committee, but Labor Ministers Shalom Simhon and Isaac Herzog, along with their Likud colleagues Gideon Saar and Benny Begin - all who support the bill - requested to postpone the vote on the legislation for three weeks in order to introduce more elements into the legislation including, among other things, welfare, but their request was not granted.

Explanatory notes for the bill state that in Section 4 of the Basic Law, the government will promote the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants through the allocation of special funds, and that Jerusalem will be given special priority regarding economic and development issues. According to Knesset members, the new bill aims at upholding the objectives set out in the Basic Law.

The new bill gives Jerusalem the same economic status in terms of government priority as cities in the periphery.

Although the Law's amendments do not mention building beyond the Green Line, it is expected that the legislation will also cover Jewish neighborhoods built east of the Green line.

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