Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government will approve the creation of 10 towns in the Negev on Sunday, in response to Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Beersheba in which four people were murdered.
Five new towns will be created near Arad, in addition to the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community of Kassif that was authorized last week. Five more will be created on the road between Beersheba and Dimona.
“This historic and exciting decision has strategic and national importance in strengthening the settlement of the Negev,” said Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked. “Creating 10 new communities is Zionism in all its glory.”
Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin said the new housing would enhance security in the region, strengthen the region’s economy, and encourage Israelis to move to the Negev from the center of the country.
An intense dispute erupted in the Knesset Interior Committee on Wednesday after the terrorist attack. Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who visited the site of the attack, disrupted a meeting of the committee, which is chaired by Ra’am (United Arab List) MK Waleed Taha.
Ben-Gvir said Taha belonged in Syria because he has met with Hamas leaders and convicted murderers.
“The blood of Negev residents is on your hands,” Ben-Gvir told Taha. “You incited the Negev against Israel. You have no legitimacy, and I will not be silent about it.”
Ben-Gvir was kicked out of the meeting. He sat on the floor and tried to prevent the ushers from expelling him.
Shaked testified to the committee that Israel had taken in 5,000 refugees eligible for aliyah and another 9,000 on a humanitarian basis.
“We are helping a lot,” she said. “We have taken in more than Great Britain, which has similar laws.”