by Andrew Friedman
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed the Defense Ministry Thursday to connect Havat Gilad to the national electric grid, at the request of the family of Rabbi Raziel Shevach z’l, the Havat Gilad (Gilad Farms) resident who was murdered in a drive-by shooting Tuesday night.
Since its founding in 2002 in response to the murder of Gilad Zar, the outpost has relied on generators for power because the community has never been approved by civil and defence authorities.
Netanyahu’s order followed a similar instruction by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman following Shevach’s funeral Wednesday to the Defense Ministry to grant assistance to the family and to residents of the community, and to “consider the possibility” of granting Havat Gilad the status of a recognised town in Judea and Samaria.
Residents and settlement authorities praised Netanyahu for the decision to connect the community to the electric grid, but added that they saw the move as a “first step.”
“This is a first step and I thank the prime minister,” said Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan. “We expect the government to recognize Havat Gilad as a legitimate town in Judea and Samaria… This is the correct Zionist response to a terror attack.”
Knesset Speaker Yoel (Yuli) Edelstein (Likud) echoed calls to grant recognition to the outpost, telling Shevach’s widow Yael that “it is absurd that Havat Gilad is considered an illegal (outpost).
“I call on the government to legalise this community immediately, and of course to begin supplying the community with the water and electricity infrastructure that is lacking here,” Edelstein said.
“It is humiliating that we are discussing this at all,” Yossi Dagan added. “It should have been done a long time ago – it is privately-owned land, belonging to the people who founded the community. It is not at all clear why it’s taken 16 years to legaliZe a town like this.”