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Finance Minister: Evacuating Beit El Is Morally Reprehensible

Israel's Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz objects to the demolition of Ulpana Hill.

Israeli Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90

Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz Sunday morning objected during the weekly cabinet meeting to the court-ordained plan to evacuate and demolish the Ulpana Hill neighborhood in Beit El.

Saying there are certain things which simply cannot be done morally, Steinitz added: “It is prohibited to evacuate Ulpana Hill on logical, Zionistic and moral grounds.”

He further noted that “even within the Green Line will not be evacuating an entire settlement or an entire neighborhood. I have suggested the principle of ‘seven square,’ meaning that any community with seven households or more, and has been on the ground for seven years or more will not be evacuated, even if someone proves ownership. Instead defendants would pay punitive damages. We would not have destroyed a neighborhood in Tel Aviv and Kfar Sava, even if after 20 years someone proves that he has title to the land.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak sharply criticized the Likud ministers who have been calling to prevent the evacuation of the Ulpana Hill neighborhood.

“There’s no no point in this rant,” Barak said at the start of the cabinet meeting, “much of this fervor is not based on a pragmatic discussion of the Ulpana neighborhood but comes out of other considerations which I do not wish to describe. The Defense and Civil Administrations are seeking, along with the Attorney General, to try and exhaust all our options.”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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