Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
The town of Beitar Ilit in Gush Etzion

There have been strong reactions among residents of the Jewish community of Beitar Illit and other hareidi communities to the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to allocate 2,500 new housing units primarily among Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria within the large “settlement blocs.”

On behalf of Beitar Illit, a Judean city of about 50,000 hareidi religious Jews, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri raised the issue of discrimination against the hareidi-religious population when it comes to allocating housing resources in Judea and Samaria.


The hareidi community, he said, constitutes nearly 40 percent of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria.

“I demand the government correct this situation and place the leading hareidi religious communities of Beitar Illit and Modi’in Illit also on the list,” he said. “The hareidi public is also currently facing a severe housing shortage.”

Deri subsequently spoke with Liberman about the issue, and the two agreed that approval would be granted for a significant number of new apartments in Beitar Illit as well. Shortly after, Beitar Illit Mayor Meir Rubinstein said he was notified that 87 housing units would be allocated to his city as well — a message that he said, given that a total of 2,500 were being made available — was “just an insult.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also has reportedly said that more housing will shortly be approved for the hareidi population as well, though he was not specific about when the approval would be made, or for how many units.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.