MK Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism) told the Knesset plenum debate on the plight of Nazareth Illit, a Jewish town near historic Nazareth in upper Galilee, that the recent organized arrival of Haredim in the city helps stopping the negative demographic changes there.
MK Eichler, who initiated the debate on the urgent need for an economic reconstruction of Nazareth Illit, told the Knesset that the city is in a process of collapsing. He blamed the negative national and political attitudes about the very idea of the Judaization of the Galilee, which are matched by negative attitudes about Judaizing Jerusalem and the entire concept of a Jewish State.
According to Eichler, more than 50% of Nazareth Illit’s residents are past retirement age. “The percentage of children is half the national average. Thirty-vive percent of the residents are Arabs and the rest are recent immigrants and the poor.”
“Fifty percent of the residents are known at the welfare offices,” Eichler noted, concluding, “In short, Nazareth Illit is vying for redemption.”
“But now Nazareth Illit has been given reason for great hope, despite this grim reality,” Eichler announced. “Thousands of young families from the Haredi sector, including Belz Hasidim, are prepared to come over from a great distance and settle in Galilee, in Nazareth Illit, help it bloom and thrive. Judaize it, too, with your permission.”
And so, MK Eichler, who is himself a Belz Hasid, stated that although the original drive behind the Haredi settlement in the northern Jewish city had to do with the lack of affordable housing in central Israel, the result would be “a great blessing for the entire city and the entire Galilee.”
Kiryat Belz in the Har Yona neighborhood of Nazareth Illit is a large-scale construction project aimed at thousands of Haredi couples in search of decent, low-cost housing.
One of the clearest signs of the success of Haredim in Nazareth Illit was the election in June, 2016, of Ronen Plot, formerly the Knesset CEO, a friend of MK Eichler’s and a favorite of the religious right. Plot replaced the disgraced former mayor, Shimon Gapso, who was convicted of bribe taking. Plot defeated a candidate supported by the center-right Kulanu party.