At the end of a tour of Kiryat Sefer and Beitar Illit, Deputy
Security Minister, MK Ephraim Sneh made the following
statement: "Building in the chareidi settlements is
acceptable to and approved by the Barak government. These
settlements meet the criteria for inclusion in the settlement
areas under Israeli sovereignty within the framework of the
agreement which will be signed with the Palestinians." It was
the first explicit statement that these large chareidi
communities will remain under Israeli sovereignty even under
the terms of a settlement with the Palestinian Authority.
Nonetheless, it did not come as a big surprise to most
observers since both communities are fairly large and located
quite close to other Israeli communities.
The visit of the Deputy Security Minister and his entourage
began with a work meeting with the head of the Modi'in Illit
council R' Yosef Schwinger, who spoke about the main problems
which are impeding the development of the settlement such as
the paving of Highway 45 and the security problem with which
the deputy minister is quite familiar due to the recent
parliamentary question of MK Rabbi Meir Porush.
The council head, Rabbi Yerachmiel Boyer stressed the
importance of the development of the settlement, especially
in light of the High Court ruling which permits Arabs to
purchase lands and homes in Jewish settlements which lack a
special identity and character.
The second stop on the visit was Beitar Illit. At a work
meeting in the settlement's council, Rabbi Yehuda Gerlitz,
head of Beitar's local council, spoke about those of his
plans which are awaiting the approval of the deputy minister,
such as the Bnei Beitcha project to allow people to build
their own private homes, the need to improve the entrance
into the settlement, the development of area D which is
slated for community services (commerce, a cemetery and
more), the continuation of the selling of area B-1, which is
being delayed pending the High Court's verdict on the appeal
of an Arab family which claims that it owns the land.
The deputy minister and his entourage toured the
neighborhoods and were impressed, among other things by the
security center which functions 24 hours a day and is
operated by cameras. They then visited the Letzion Berina
institute for young women from the C.I.S. founded by the
Karlin Stolin chassidim, and were guests of the institute for
Beitar is a community on the outskirts of Yerushalayim that
includes a broad range of all segments of the chareidi
community. Recently a large area was developed for the
yeshiva community, including the planned relocation of the
Bircas Moshe yeshiva.