Teetering on the line

The Safdie Plan was created in response to Jerusalem’s demographic needs.

The borders of the city of Jerusalem underwent a significant change 50 years ago, in June 1967. Much has been written about that change, which led to additional population, territory and numerous questions of legality and sovereignty being encompassed within the city limits.
However, a number of additional minor changes have been made to Jerusalem’s boundaries over the years. The most recent was approved in September 2016 by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, when a change was made in the border between Kibbutz Ramat Rahel and Jerusalem.
This change included the transfer of about 69 acres (28 hectares) of Ramat Rahel’s orchards to Jerusalem. It was effected despite the opposition of Kibbutz Ramat Rahel, the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council (within which Ramat Rahel is located) and the Agriculture Ministry (because of the agricultural crops in the area). Those who did not oppose it were the green organizations the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Sustainable Jerusalem coalition. Although the source of the reasons for which the green organizations chose not to oppose the change is related to the Safdie Plan, the role of the Safdie Plan in this story is not only played out in the position taken by those organizations.
The Safdie Plan was created in response to Jerusalem’s demographic needs. As part of the efforts to promote the plan and to meet the quota of missing land reserves, in 1993 the interior minister (who was Deri as well), at the recommendation of the Committee for Jurisdictional Boundaries, decided to add territory to the city from the west: the Lavan Ridge, the Arazim Valley and Mount Heret. Included in this agreement were the 79 acres (32 hectares) from Kibbutz Ramat Rahel. This area is east of Talpiot and west of East Talpiot.
Over the years, Kibbutz Ramat Rahel benefited from this decision, since the land is still owned by the kibbutz (under lease), so a situation was created in which the area was transferred to the municipality of Jerusalem, but ownership remained with the kibbutz.
While in 1993 it was agreed that there would be no further changes in the borders around Ramat Rahel, today, from an urban perspective, sectioning off additional parts of the kibbutz seems like a more logical option than other alternatives, so the green organizations did not express opposition.
Ramat Rahel is an enclave within the Jerusalem city limits that were created in 1967. It is a kibbutz in an urban environment. This position has both positive and negative ramifications.
Translated by Gilah Kahn.