(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Jerusalem Municipality is expected to announce new municipal borders on
Wednesday, which are expected to expand the city towards the west or the south.
The expansion is not expected to be into controversial areas over the 1967 Green
The municipality refused to release details about the expansion
before the press conference on Wednesday afternoon, but City Councilor Meir
Margalit (Meretz), said he believed the city would be incorporating Kibbutz
Ramat Rahel. The kibbutz is a separate entity from Jerusalem, despite being
surrounded on two sides by the Jerusalem Municipality.
The kibbutz is
located at the southeast tip of Jerusalem, between the Har Homa neighborhood and
“What we heard is that it’s Ramat Rahel and not something
dramatic, it’s not east Jerusalem so it doesn’t affect politics,” Margalit told
. He added that the kibbutz’s agricultural fields could be converted
into the nearly 2,000 affordable apartments for young families that the city
wants to build in the area.
“It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s cosmetic,”
Margalit said of the incorporation of Ramat Rahel. “Jerusalem wants it because
they will make more arnona [property taxes], but in terms of politics, it’s just
cosmetics,” he said.
The head of Kibbutz Ramat Rahel, Yoram Yair For,
denied any knowledge of a plan to incorporate the kibbutz into the
Another noncontroversial option is to expand the city toward the
west, in the direction of the Jerusalem forest.
The city touted the
expansion as an initiative that will partially alleviate the housing shortage in
the city, and said there are plans for 1,700 new apartment units in the new
The new borders were drawn up in cooperation with the Interior
Ministry, and will be announced by Mayor Nir Barkat and Interior Minister Eli
Yishai (Shas) on Wednesday.