(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) on Monday praised Sunday's decision to make an additional 4,000 dunams in Gush Etzion state land, paving the way for a new building project in the West Bank.
As a new school year opened in Israel on Monday, Bennett visited the Makor Hayim yeshiva in Gush Etzion, where Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer, two of three boys kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in June had been students.
"What we did yesterday was a display of Zionism," Bennett said while on a tour of the area where the new project is expected. "Building is our answer to murder."
Bennett addressed students at the yeshiva, saying, "You students of Makor Hayim were regular students until a couple months ago. Today you are the spearhead. You all now have extra weight on your shoulders- you are makor hahayim
(the source of life) of Israel."
The minister told the students that in recent months Israel had undergone two difficult events: the murder of the boys in Gush Etzion and Hamas terror in Gaza. "Yesterday, the government made two decisions: one which built-up and strengthened the Gaza frontier and the second which builds up and strengthens Gush Etzion."
Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-On reacted on Monday to the government decision to expand state land in the West Bank, saying that with it the government "spits in the face of Israel's moderate partner in the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas."
She also stated that, "The decision to expand government land in Gush Etzion and hand it over to settlers reveals again what has been a known fact, that the government of Israel works in the interests of settlers and that the objective of this expansion is to create a continuous line of territory between the green line and Betar Illit and Kfar Etzion."
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said Monday that the appropriation of the land, "made clear to the majority of the public that terrorism is only intensified when Israel relinquishes territory.
"The facts on the ground are a symbolic move in the right direction," she said.