Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday tweeted giddily: “A Zionist message on Jerusalem Day – the Admissions Committees bill, making it possible to increase the number of families in municipalities with admissions committees, has been approved by the Ministerial Legislative Committee.”
“This is a step on the way to strengthening and expanding Jewish settlement in the Galilee on the one hand, and for the housing market on the other,” Shaked explained, adding, “For 10 years we’ve been trying to pass this law and now we are past the first phase. Thanks to MKs Nir Orbach and Yomtov Kalfon for pushing this forward.”
Before we delve into the bill and how important it truly is for reaching and maintaining a Jewish Galilee, we should not a response tweet by Adiel Mhazri, the director of the Religious Zionism faction in the Knesset and the faction’s chairman Bezalel Smotrich’s legislative advisor:
“Hi Ayelet, a few facts will not hurt.
1. This is a bill that I had the privilege to write as MK Smotrich’s legislative advisor.
2. In the current Knesset, you did not agree to pass it when Smotritch and Orit Strock submitted it.
3. We both know that in your coalition this bill will not pass unless the opposition supports it. Neither the Arabs nor even Elazar Stern (Blue & White) will support it.”
Mhazri is right, including the part about the fact that without his MK’s support, the leftists in the Bennett Coalition would kill this bill. In December 2021, Meretz, Labor, and Ra’am were blocking the Yamina bill raising the number of municipalities with admissions committees by increasing the maximum number of homes in those municipalities from 400 to 600.
Everyone knows what’s the purpose of having an admissions committee in the first place: it is to allow Jewish communities up north to reject potential Arab buyers. Mind you, this issue does not pertain to Arab communities, because, generally speaking, they just don’t sell to the few Jews who dream of living without a functioning sewer system, garbage removal, paved streets, and with nightly shootings, often using assault rifles.
The explanatory notes accompanying Shaked’s bill state that “Now, about nine years after the amendment of the Admissions Committees came into force, reality indicates a need to amend the legislation by updating the definition of a community settlement, increasing it to 600 households, and also applying it to the entire community settlement in the periphery.”
In a community settlement (Yishuv Kehilati) the residents are organized in a cooperative. They have the power to approve or veto a sale of a home or a business to any buyer. Residents of a community settlement may have a particular shared ideology, religious perspective, or a desired lifestyle that they wish to perpetuate by accepting only like-minded individuals. For instance, a family-oriented community settlement that wishes to avoid becoming a retirement community may choose to accept only young married couples as new residents.
The community settlement movement emerged in the 1970s as non-political but soon took shape as a new way of settling Judea and Samaria and the Galilee by establishing a demographic balance between Jews and Arabs. In practice, this means establishing Jewish-only settlements that have the right to refuse Arabs.
Israeli courts have approved this policy, and although Israeli law explicitly prohibits explicit discrimination against members of other social groups, it permits the admissions committees to reject candidates on grounds such as “unsuitability to the community’s social life” or “social-cultural fabric” or “unique characteristics of the community as defined in its bylaws.”
Since I cited Mhazri’s full statement regarding the fact that Shaked borrowed his legislation and made it her own, I should also mention that Shaked, too, was right when she said that under the former prime minister, this bill had not been promoted either. Will it pass now? Good question. The opposition only a week ago supported the coalition’s bill to pay 75% of the tuition of combat veterans (the coalition acquiesced to 75% after initially offering 50%). Will the right-wing parties of the opposition support the bill that was originally quashed by Shaked et al? Who knows.