Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir / Flash 90
View of Kibbutz Afikim, in the Jordan Valley, December 03, 2018

Two Knesset members from the far-left Meretz Party have written a letter to Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin warning that a plan to add 1,500 new apartments in Jordan Valley communities will endanger the stability of the coalition government.

The threat was reported Sunday night by Israel’s Channel 13 News team.


MKs Mossi Raz and Gaby Lasky said in their letter they can “no longer remain silent,” referring to the Jordan Valley as being located in the “occupied territories.”

They warned, “The message to media describes the Jordan Valley as an area as a region upon which there is a consensus. [But] the Jordan Valley is not expected to be a part of Israel once a final status agreement is reached with the Palestinians, and construction there is an obstacle to such an agreement.”

The strength of the current government “is in its advancement of issues we can all agree upon. This decision is far from that,” they wrote, adding that “building new homes in the [Jordan Valley] will further increase tensions in an area that is already tense.”

They warned Elkin that they can “no longer remain silent” and to “immediately” stop the plan from going it to a cabinet vote. “The strength of the coalition is based on things upon which we all agree together, and this decision is far from that.”

Elkin, a member of the centrist New Hope Party, had announced last month that he plans to double the number of housing units in Jewish communities in the Jordan Valley to reach a population of 3,000 families in the area by 2026.

The plan, expected to cost NIS 224 million ($70 million), will place 1,500 new homes in a total of 21 communities in the Jordan Valley.


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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.