Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Wednesday that MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) would table a bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation next week to create a “Greater Metropolitan Jerusalem” that includes Ma’aleh Adumim, Efrat, Gush Etzion, Givat Ze’ev and the haredi city of Beitar Illit. But Katz refused to say whether the plan is supported by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, or whether or not he has even spoken to the prime minister about it.
The prime minister’s office declined to comment.
“By adding Jerusalem-area settlements to Greater Jerusalem… we will send a clear message to all those who try to question the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem and the relevance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people,” Katz said. “From my perspective, this is a first step in the process of applying Israeli sovereignty to Israeli communities in greater Jerusalem in future. I will do everything I can to get this bill passed without any compromises, and I expect all the parties that define themselves as Zionist to support it.”
Katz said that creating a Greater Metropolitan Jerusalem would also give the city tools to address pressing issues in the city such as transportation, industry, employment and tourism, for the benefit of all residents.
Katz first floated the plan last January, saying it would strengthen Israel’s standing [in the city] by adding about 150,000 Israeli Jews to the city’s population registry while also excluding a similar number of Palestinians who live beyond the security barrier in and around the city.
Katz and Kisch said in a media statement that the plan would also address humanitarian issues for Arab residents of Jerusalem as well as preserve their standing as residents of Greater Jerusalem and improve the city’s ability to govern Arab-majority neighborhoods. The plan does not call for any change to Arab Jerusalemites right to vote in municipal elections.
The statement also said that the plan would address humanitarian issues for Arab residents of Jerusalem as well improve the city’s ability to govern in Arab-majority neighborhoods.