Photo Credit: Courtesy
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while Defense Minister Yoav Gallant looks on, Feb. 23, 2023.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Adjunct Minister in the Defense Ministry Bezalel Smotrich on Thursday signed an agreement in keeping with the coalition agreement between Likud and Religious Zionism, regulating the division of powers between them with regard to managing the liberated territories of Judea and Samaria.

According to the agreement, most of the powers of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria will be transferred to Smotrich, including the central supervision unit responsible for enforcing construction laws in the liberated territories. However, Gallant will have the authority to exercise enforcement against illegal construction defined as a “fresh incursion,” and demolishing it constitutes “security urgency.” Still, Smotrich must be informed ahead of such action.


Religious Zionism sent out a press release celebrating 14 issues that have become Smotrich’s domain as of Thursday:

  1. The civil powers in Judea and Samaria are transferred to Smotrich and will be handled by a deputy chief of the Civil Administration (CA) who will be a civilian.
  2.  All CA staff officers will be civilians and serve under the deputy chief. The government will issue an ordinance to that effect.
  3. The civilian staff officers will be fully subordinated to the CA deputy chief.
  4. The appointment of civilian staff officers will be the responsibility of Minister Smotrich.
  5. Planning and construction in Judea and Samaria, convening of the Supreme Planning Council, is the responsibility of Minister Smotrich.
  6. The illegal construction supervision and enforcement unit is the responsibility of the Minister Smotrich.
  7. As part of the struggle for open spaces, Minister Smotrich will have the responsibility to initiate new development of nature reserves in Judea and Samaria.
  8. In matters of real estate, Minister Smotrich will have full responsibility, including approval of transactions, blue line confirmation (verifying that these are state lands – DI), survey processes, and registration of state lands.
  9. Transportation planning and the implementation of road plans are the responsibility of Minister Smotrich.
  10. Development of additional civil infrastructures such as water, energy, and environmental quality (treatment of environmental hazards such as garbage incinerators) is the responsibility of Minister Smotrich.
  11. The activity of the Civil Administration concerning settlement regulation is the responsibility of Minister Smotrich.
  12. Implementing the equal-citizenship reform to optimize services for the residents of Judea and Samaria is the responsibility of Minister Smotrich.
  13. Civil legislation within the green line will be equated with the laws of the Civil Administration.
  14. In security and other exceptional events, the Commander of the IDF Central Command will be allowed to activate its supervision unit while notifying Minister Smotrich. In the event of a dispute, the arbitration will be done by the Prime Minister.

Smotrich plans to appoint Yehuda Eliyahu to the position of deputy chief of the Civil Administration. Eliyahu was the former CEO of the Binyamin Regional Council.

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