Houses can be seen at the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maale Efrayim in the Jordan Valley.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Elections Committee is set on Monday to weigh the legality of housing plans for French immigrants in West Bank settlements during the election period.
It is holding the hearing at the request of Meretz party head Zehava Gal-On, who asked it on Tuesday to issue an injunction against such activity by the Construction Ministry.
In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris in which four Jews were killed, Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) took initial steps to prepare housing for potential French immigrants.
Ariel sent a letter to the heads of the local and regional authorities asking them to identify potential sites for housing. Separately, Ariel sent a letter to the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria with the same request.
He told them that his office was preparing for an influx of immigrants from Europe, specifically from France.
“Israel is the home of world Jewry. At this time when anti-Semitism is once more breaking out, we must act to allow for the smooth absorption of new immigrants,” Ariel said.
“There is no doubt that the Jews of France, who already deeply identify with the Zionist settlement enterprise in the West Bank, will want to settle one of the Judea and Samaria communities once they arrive in Israel,” Ariel said.
He asked the settler leaders to identify communities that could absorb 20 or more new-immigrant families.
With respect to Gal-On’s request for an injunction against such activity in the West Bank, Ariel said, “I have nothing to apologize for.”
He added, “Zehava has a right to complain, but she is only embarrassing herself.”