West Bank council heads join hunger strike outside Netanyahu's home

Politicians and bereaved families are demanding government investment in security for West Bank settlers.

November 5, 2017 10:19
2 minute read.
Kiryat Arba Council head Malahi Levinger, Beit Aryeh Council head Avi Naim, Samaria Regional Council

Kiryat Arba Council head Malahi Levinger, Beit Aryeh Council head Avi Naim, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, Hadas Mizrahi and Itzhik Abutbul in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Jerusalem home.. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the right increased Sunday morning when council heads of three settlements joined a hunger strike outside his official residence in Jerusalem to demand government funds for security needs.

Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron regional Council, Avi Naim, Mayor of Beit Aryeh and Malachi Levinger, mayor of Kiryat Arba, announced they were joining the protest – which was initiated by bereaved families who lost loved ones in terror attacks and road accidents – in order to pressure the government.

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Dagan told The Jerusalem Post at the protest tent that until there is evidence of real progress, the strike will continue.

“With a heavy heart we announced this morning that we are joining the bereaved parents’ hunger strike. I must admit that I feel ashamed that as a council head in the State of Israel, I need to join a hunger strike of bereaved families and those of terror victims, in order to receive such basic things as improving security measures inside the settlements and on the roads,” he said.

“We are determined in achieving this goal. We want to tell people living in our settlements that we are doing any - thing in our power to protect them. So we are here until the prime minister will stop promising and start delivering. We want to see a cabinet resolution, with funding sources, like any other cabinet decision,” he said.

Naim told the Post that despite wide- range support from ministers and MKs, no real change is yet to be seen of the ground.

“We expect from the prime minister that he will come to his senses and pro- vide answers to the bereaved families, in order to prevent further bereavement in the future,” he said.

A source close to the settler leadership told the Post that several coalition MKs are considering not voting in accordance with the coalition, if no proper solution will be found.

In October, Netanyahu pledged NIS 800 million for new bypass roads in the West Bank to help prevent terrorist attacks, but the families and their sup- porters said that the money has yet to be included in the new budget.

The bereaved families set up their protest tent about two weeks ago on Gaza Street next the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, but escalated the protest by launching the hunger strike on Saturday night.

The construction of bypass roads is part of an NIS 3 billion plan under consideration by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, which also includes better cellular coverage and lighting for the roads, as well as smart fences for all settlements.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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