Members of the Israeli Knesset from all coalition parties took a tour of northern Jerusalem and the terminal at the old Atarot airport, where plans are in place to build a Jewish neighborhood. The purpose of the tour was to bolster the government’s support for the construction project and expedite the environmental review process.
“As much as terrorism tries to hit us and take our heads down, we will multiply and we will increase! We will work on all levels in order to strengthen the settlement and promote the construction plan of the Jewish neighborhood in Atarot,” said Knesset member Boaz Bismut (Likud).
Yitzhak Pindros (Torah Judaism), another Knesset member, added, “We have prayed for the building of Jerusalem throughout the generations, I hope, wish and will also act to ensure that this government will carry out the prayer for the building of Jerusalem: approving the construction of the Atarot neighborhood is the goal now.”
The tour was organized and led by the “IM ESHKACHECH – Keep Jerusalem” organization, founded by Chaim Silberstein. During the tour, the MKs and council members were also exposed to the organization’s research and reports on Jerusalem.
Ran Ichay, the former Director General of the Ministry of Jerusalem and now head of the organization’s Jerusalem Center for Applied Policy (JCAP), said, “We were impressed by the coalition members’ desire to finish the neighborhood approval procedure in the district committee, the approval of the neighborhood and its construction, the preservation of a united Jerusalem under Israel’s sovereignty.”
Avraham Bezalel (Shas), another Knesset member, stated, “As a member of the Jerusalem city administration and Deputy Mayor in the past, I was amazed by the amount of illegal construction that exists in the Atarot area, this construction is a danger to the integrity of Jerusalem. As elected officials, we must do everything in our power to develop the place and encourage Jewish construction there.”
Ohad Tal (Religious Zionism) said after the tour, “We heard today about the blessed plan to build 9,000 housing units in the new neighborhood in Atarot. This is a strategic move that will provide territorial continuity to the city, contribute to the demographic balance and help lower housing prices. In addition, I heard about the illegal Arab construction and the Arab educational institutions that adopt the Palestinian curriculum that encourage the murder of Jews and is funded almost entirely by the State of Israel. This is absurd. I spoke with the coalition members who participated in the tour today and we agreed that we will work together to fight this distortion. I thank the organization ‘IM ESHKACHECH’ and the Jerusalem Winery for a fascinating and enriching tour.”
Limor Son Har Melech (Otzmah Yehudit) said, “Today I toured together with my coalition members in the Atarot area, in a place where an Israeli airport was located until a few decades ago. A Jewish neighborhood was planned to be built there many years ago, but its construction was delayed due to foreign pressures. This is an area of first-rate strategic importance, where the establishment of a Jewish neighborhood will be an integral part of the city, will strengthen the northern side of Jerusalem and establish Israeli sovereignty in the capital, In front of the illegal construction in the neighboring village of Kfar Akab, a large Jewish neighborhood will soon be built.”
Ariel Kellner (Likud), another Knesset member, stated, “The challenges of sovereignty and settlement in Jerusalem to which I was exposed today during the tour, require commitment and action, to ensure our hold on our eternal capital.
I undertake to work for Jerusalem in general and the settlement in Atarot in particular.
In addition, I will work with all my might to stop the wild anti-Semitic incitement in the education system in schools in the city’s neighborhoods, the results of which are expressed in the murder of Jews.”
he tour began with an observation and review of the biblical hill Givat Shaul-Tel El Ful, continued to the Atarot airport site and ended in the Atarot industrial park with a visit to the Jerusalem Wineries together with the industrial park manager Yaacov Gutman and the owner of the winery, Ofer Guetta, Also in attendance were the deputy mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan Nahum (Jerusalem will Prosper) and members of the Jerusalem City Council Yehonatan Yosef ( United) and Yosef Speizer (Awakening).
Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan Nahum: “From the impression I got from the members of the Knesset, I am sure that the move to approve the neighborhood that we passed in the local committee will soon pass in the district committee as well.”
City Council member Yehonathan Yosef said: “I had the privilege about a year ago to approve the establishment of the neighborhood in the local planning and construction committee.
Since then an environmental survey has been carried out which has ended.
Now everything depends on the Israeli government.
I fully expect a right-wing government to approve the establishment of the neighborhood immediately and leave a real mark in the form of the strengthening of Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem City Council member Yosef Speizer added:
“Today’s tour with the members of the coalition encourages and clarifies that the struggle we have led for years to build the neighborhood in Atarot, now takes on operational significance with the entry of the new government.
The construction in Atarot will have a dramatic effect on lowering the cost of housing in Jerusalem and will allow young couples to stay in the city and buy apartments. The construction in Jerusalem is no longer a policy issue, but a test of the governance of the State of Israel.”