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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘communities’

Israel Publishes Plan to Solve Urgent Water Crisis in Jewish and Arab Communities in Judea and Samaria

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria convened on Monday to discuss and approve a new executive plan to implement an immediate solution to the water shortage in both Jewish and Arab communities in Judea and Samaria. A total of 26 water reservoirs of up to 400 cubic meters each will be built throughout the region to reduce the amount of water shortages, at a cost of six million shekels (approximately USD 1.5 million).

The plan was formulated as a result of a collaborative effort by the Civil Administration, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Water Authority, Israel’s national water company Mekorot, the National Emergency Authority, and local councils in the region.

“I am glad that all the relevant authorities have come together to find a short-term solution that will enable regular water supply after years of neglecting the water infrastructure,” said Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan. “This is not the last word though. I intend to work together with National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz to promote long-term master plans for developing the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.”

However, due to a lack of funds for the project and the urgency of finding a solution to the water shortage in the mid-August heat, Minister Ben-Dahan is expected to request additional funding from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

According to Mekorot, there is currently a water shortage of 7000 to 9000 cubic meters a day in Judea and Samaria. Experts in the field claim that this is due to a long period of negligence in the water sector and that none of the authorities had adequately prepared for the increase in population and in agricultural fields that require large amounts of water.

The severe shortage has affected both Jewish and Arab residents of the region. However, Palestinian Authority and international organizations as well as media outlets have been blaming Israel for what they perceive as a deliberate policy to withhold water from Palestinian Authority communities.

Israeli sources have repeatedly denied the charges, citing that the shortage existed in Jewish communities as well. The Israeli Water Authority has blamed Palestinian Authority Arabs for stealing water and for refusing to convene the Israeli-PA Joint Water Committee, which was established under the 1993 Oslo Accords, a step that would be necessary in order to upgrade the outdated infrastructure.

Idit Druyan, spokeswoman for Deputy Defense Minister Ben-Dahan, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the solution would affect Jewish and Arab communities alike.

“The pipe system needs to be fixed to prevent it from becoming overloaded in certain spots,” Druyan said. “When this is done and balance is restored to the various parts of the pipe, all communities will benefit.”

“Today, the problem mainly affects communities that are 800 meters above sea level,” she added. “Once we fix that problem, then the lower communities, including the Palestinian villages and towns, will also have more water.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Knesset Considering Tax Breaks for Judea and Samaria Communities Facing Security Threats

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Wednesday approved in a preliminary reading a bill that would make communities in Judea and Samaria eligible for tax breaks based on the security threats they face.

The so-called “benefits map” approved by the Knesset in 2015 fixed standard criteria for awarding the benefits based on socio-economic criteria. The bill, sponsored by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) would add security risks to the criteria entitling Judea and Samaria communities to benefits.

The criteria would be based on Defense Ministry assessments of the security risks communities face in a manner similar to the way benefits are awarded to Israel’s border communities.

The explanatory notes accompanying the bill state that the tax breaks are meant to “encourage strong populations to reside in areas the state views as serving a national interest” and “add to the benefits map those communities in Judea and Samaria facing security threats.”

“Settlements in Judea and Samaria have for years stood up heroically against continuous terror inside the communities and on the roads. We need to encourage them with, among other things, tax benefits,” the bill’s preface reads.

Prior to the vote, MK Smotrich said, “This law will enable thousands of families living in Judea and Samaria, who suffer from security threats, to receive what they deserve and to be equal in rights to the rest of Israel’s residents. The national government is returning Judea and Samara to the settlement map. There’s a long way to go, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Meretz MK Esawi Frej said, “Have you heard of the Yotvata dairy farm? It should [learn from] Smotrich how to milk the state. You are milking the state using all kinds of improper methods. You [have the nerve] to take an additional 150 million shekel (about $40 million) for a few outposts.”

42 MKs supported the bill in its preliminary reading, and 36 opposed. The bill will now be sent to the House Committee, which will determine which committee will prepare it for its first reading.

David Israel

State Department Q&A on Israeli Supplemental Aid to Communities Suffering from Arab Terrorism [video]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
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Yvonne Diamond

@JewishPress Don’t know about that, but they’ve been bombing at MCAGCTC for two solid days now . . .

The following is the transcript and video from the State Department Press briefing on June 20th, 2016, regarding the supplemental aid package that Israel approved yesterday to aid Israelis whose businesses have suffered due to the Palestinian Authority Arab terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, and to help improve security for the communities in Judea and Samaria.

Time: 29:55 on the video.

QUESTION (Matt Lee): Did you guys have any reaction to this additional – the supplementary funding that was approved for the West Bank settlements for – over the weekend, yesterday?

MR KIRBY: Yeah. I actually put a statement out.

QUESTION: You did?

MR KIRBY: I did —

QUESTION: I missed it.

MR KIRBY: — yesterday. I can’t believe you’re not sitting around —

QUESTION: Yeah, Sunday —

MR KIRBY: — waiting for my statements.

QUESTION: Sunday afternoon, Kirby, I’m just sitting there looking – staring at my phone —

MR KIRBY: Well, if you had been —

QUESTION: — waiting for your emails.

MR KIRBY: — then you wouldn’t have had to ask that question.

QUESTION: If you’ve already put something out, then —

MR KIRBY: Okay. I’ll let the statement stand. Seems like everybody else got a chance to read it.

QUESTION: We like to hear it directly from you, though.

MR KIRBY: But you did hear it directly from me. I signed it.

QUESTION: You know what I mean, with your own voice. It sort of gives it an added —

MR KIRBY: We’re aware of the funding package. We’re looking into further details. Our position on settlement activity remains clear and consistent: We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. We continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution, and actions such as these we believe does exactly the opposite.

QUESTION: Well, wait, wait, but this isn’t for settlement activity, per se. This was not to expand or build new homes.

MR KIRBY: It’s approving more than like $18 million for settlements. It’s approving funding for —

QUESTION: But not for building them. This is for, like, helping businesses and security.

MR KIRBY: But it still runs counter to our view about settlement activity, period.

QUESTION: So securing – adding security to settlements is the same as settlement activity?

MR KIRBY: As I said, we’re still – we are still – we’re aware of this funding package and we’re still looking into it for details. But settlement activity, as we’ve said – there’s nothing – nothing has changed about our concerns about that.

QUESTION: So any money that goes into anything in a West Bank settlement is bad according to you guys?

MR KIRBY: I didn’t say that. I said we are aware of this funding package and we’re looking into the details.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. Okay.

QUESTION (New Reporter): Well, the worry here by the Palestinians is that these kind of steps make annexation of the West Bank all but a foregone conclusion, and they say that some of this money is basically geared to encourage, let’s say, tourism and to expand tourist projects and so on in the occupied West Bank, in the settlements and so on. What do you say to that?

MR KIRBY: As I said in my statement and just a few minutes ago, we’re looking into what this funding package really means. And I think I’m going to leave it at there to – for right now.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Southern Command Chief: We’ll Consider Evacuating Communities Threatened by Hamas Tunnels

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Southern Command Chief Gen. Eyal Zamir on Wednesday morning argued with the mayor of Sderot who objected to the evacuation of the civilian population near the Gaza border in a time of war, in light of revelations that Hamas has been digging terror tunnels that open into Israeli territory.

Zamir spoke at a conference dealing with the threat of the Hamas terror tunnels at the Cinematic in Sderot, a Jewish town located about half a mile from the Gaza border. The conference, organized by South Radio 101.5, was an opportunity for the town residents to have a direct and honest encounter with public officials over the frightening prospects of armed Hamas fighters emerging from tunnels inside Israeli residential neighborhoods.

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi objected to the IDF plan to evacuate all the civilians who reside next to the Gaza border during an emergency. “We will not evacuate Sderot in a time of war, it shouldn’t be done, and we mustn’t even talk about it,” said the mayor.

Zamir, who spoke after the mayor, told the assembled residents, “I’ve heard the mayor and I’m glad to hear what he said [about the evacuation], I think it’s a very important statement. It is one option we will weigh as part of our toolbox, according to the assessments at the time.”

The terror tunnel that was exposed in Israeli territory this week, leading about 90 feet beyond the border with Gaza, does not open up inside a community, probably because its diggers expected less monitoring in an open area.

Other participants in the Sderot conference included Zionist Camp Chairman Itzhak Herzog, Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid, and Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On. The only two representatives of the coalition who were scheduled to appear cancelled at the last-minute: Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud).

JNi.Media

Things Haredim Do

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A volunteer at the Tachlit center are busy dividing hordes of food into boxes, to be distributed to needy families before Shabbat and before the coming Jewish new year in Jerusalem.

Tomchei Shabbat (supporters of Shabbat) organizations like Tachlit flourish throughout the Haredi communities, each with its unique, local flavor, but all of them with one, central goal: feed the needy.

Most of them also deliver the food boxes quietly, so as not to shame the recipient. In many places there’s also a feedback system in place, allowing recipients to indicate which goods they like and which they’d rather not receive. It prevents waste, and also makes the proces look more like shopping than like charity.

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yori Yanover

Low Supply Driving Judea and Samaria Housing Prices Sky High

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

High demand and low supply characterize the housing market in various Judea and Samaria communities, Israel Hayom reported. In the newly built Leshem quarter of the Alei Zahav community, houses which sold for NIS 900,000 ($252,000) two years ago now sell for up to NIS 1.7 million ($477,000). Similar price spikes have been reported in Yakir, Etz Ephraim, Har Bracha, and other communities in Samaria.

In the last decade, the population of Gush Etzion has tripled, surpassing 20,000. The local council chief, Davidi Perl, said that for every Jewish community in Gush Etzion, an average of 15 families were hoping to be accepted as residents. Overall, 300 families are waiting to move into Gush Etzion.

Housing prices in Gush Etzion, meanwhile, over the last five years have skyrocketed by dozens of percentage points. A piece of land in the Gush Etzion community of Tekoa cost just NIS 50,000 ($14,000) only five years ago. Now, the starting price is NIS 350,000 ($98,000). Demand for housing is so high in Gush Etzion that in recent years, some towns there have begun collecting “entry fees” for prospective inhabitants.

Real estate prices have also risen dramatically in Ariel, doubling in the last three years. A four-room apartment that cost NIS 600,000 ($168,000) three years ago sells today for up to NIS 1.2 million ($336,000). A cottage that could have been had for NIS 700,000 ($196,000) then sells today for NIS 1.5 million ($421,000).

“It was only recently that we received construction permits, but we are still far off from meeting the minimum requirements in the city,” Ariel Mayor Eli Shviro said. “The demand is tremendous, but the supply is low.”

Israel recently announced plans for 1,200 new housing units in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, a decision that was slammed by the United States due to concern over the fate of Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations. Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the efforts to renew negotiations, said Aug. 12 that the U.S. “views all of the settlements as illegitimate.” Those communities, however, are situated in an area that is considered to be subject to the result of Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations.

JNS News Service

Winning the Minority Vote

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

After the 2012 Waterloo, Republican consultants retreated to some party boats and hotels, and began planning their comeback. Bereft of ideas, they took the media’s explanations for why they lost at face values. What they have delivered is a liberal’s eye diagnosis of why they lost and so they debuted a plan to win over Latinos with amnesty and to end their negative image with a new gentler look.

Mostly what they have proven is that they are even more clueless than they were a year ago.

Senator Marco Rubio seems like a nice guy, but if the Republicans are counting on him to deliver the Latino vote, they might want to take a closer look at his Senate win. While Rubio did indeed win the Cuban Latino vote, he only won 39 percent of the non-Cuban Latino vote. That’s the same Latino margin of victory as Rick Perry got. It’s the usual best score that Republicans get among Latinos.

Marco Rubio could be a guy named Mark Richardson for all the impact that he made among Latino voters. But that’s because the “Latino” vote is a ridiculous oversimplification. Latinos consist of Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, to name just a few. And they don’t necessarily align.

Mayor Bloomberg ran against a Puerto Rican candidate and won the Mexican vote. Bloomberg may speak Spanish about as well as your Aunt Sally, but that didn’t really matter because he didn’t waste a lot of time telling stories about growing up poor in the slums of San Juan. Instead he worked with Mexican community leaders who were tired of being sidelined by Puerto Ricans, and advertised heavily on their radio stations and in their papers.

Race is certainly a factor, but it’s not the only factor. Most Black voters initially supported Hillary Clinton. If Herman Cain ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton would beat him by a high margin. A Zogby poll shows Rubio beating Clinton among Latino voters, but how well that poll would hold up after Latino leaders have spent enough time getting the word out is another matter. Clinton beat Obama among Latino voters on Super Tuesday. Assuming that she won’t do the same to Rubio only because of his race is a risky bet.

There are two types of minority groups in the United States. Segregated and integrated. The more integrated a group becomes, the less of a bloc vote it is. A bloc vote is not simply a consistent pattern, it is the result of a segregated community that interfaces with the rest of the country through its leaders and local media. And those two interfaces are key.

It doesn’t really matter how many Latinos speak at the Republican National Convention or how many Republican senators sign on to Amnesty. These events will, for the most part, be processed through the filter of those community leaders and their associated newspapers and radio stations. Republicans imagine that they’re addressing Latinos, but aside from Univision appearances they mostly don’t even have access to them.

The percentage of the Latino vote that is accessible to Republicans largely comes from those Latinos who have integrated and are in the Middle Class. That is why the Republicans did so much better with the Latino vote in Ohio than Virginia. Median income and English language skills remain a fairly reliable predictor of the Republican vote.

Winning the minority vote is not simply about policy or diversity. That is an elementary lesson of the urban political machine that the Republican Party has bizarrely forgotten, even though it’s a lesson that goes back a century and a half in American politics. Diversity is not about finding binders of qualified candidates, but about elevating community leaders from minority groups who can deliver a share of the vote from their community.

It’s not pretty, but it is practical politics. Lincoln understood it and applied that methodology right down to the appointment of generals. The Democrats built an entire network of votes in every state by taking their urban political machine national. But the Republicans seem to think that it’s enough to have someone out there speaking Spanish. It’s a nice touch and the urban political machines used it. Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr., the son of General MacClellan, spoke a bewildering number of the languages that his constituents did. Mayor LaGuardia also juggled languages. But those are campaign tricks. They are not how the vote is delivered.

Daniel Greenfield

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/winning-the-minority-vote/2013/02/12/

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