Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Justice Minister Yariv Levin during his short stint as Speaker of the Knesset, December 276, 2022.

Unlike the previous vote, when Netanyahu’s opposition bloc opposed this crucial bill as part of its campaign to bring down the Lapid-Bennett government, come what may, this time around, overnight Tuesday, most Zionist opposition parties supported the coalition vote to renew Emergency Regulations (Judea and Samaria Judgment and Legal Aid), 1967-5727.

Installed by then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan on July 2, 1967, shortly after the Six Day War, to regulate the legal situation created as a result of Israel’s control of the territories that were seized in war, the emergency regulations come with a sunset date and must be extended based on what has come to be known as the “Yosh Regulations Law,” Yosh being an acronym for Yehuda ve’Shomron.


The original regulations included the Sinai, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. Since then, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, exited Gaza unilaterally, and annexed the Golan. What’s left are the last two areas regarding which every single Israeli government, left, right, and middle, has been reluctant to take a decisive step – take it or leave it – and so the lives of some half a million Israelis who live there must be legally regulated separately from the rest of us inside the “green line.”

The Labor Party, which supported passing the regulations in the previous vote, said it opposed the same regulations this time around, because of the nature of the current government. Geese and ganders, you understand.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin used some irony when presenting the bill, saying: “You can call this law the law for the dissolution of the 24th Knesset,” a reference to the bill being one of the final bricks his side pulled out of the other side’s fence in the previous Knesset.

Then he said, somewhat self-righteously: “This is the first government bill that we are submitting and it points to the difference between the government that was here before, and that was supported by at least one party that wanted to harm the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.”

In other words, his side opted to leave the entire legal reality of half a million Jews hanging for more than half a year because the coalition vote was “tainted” by those four Arab MKs who supported it. Seriously?

I recall a different reality.

Eight heads of regional councils in Judea and Samaria sent an emergency letter to the heads of the opposition parties asking them to approve the regulations’ extension, stating that they “request and demand not to turn our lives into chaos and prevent the severe harm to the lives of our 500,000 residents. … We call on all parties in the Knesset to support the extension of the law.”

In contrast, four other heads of councils sent a letter saying it was better to pay the price of losing the law if it helped overthrow the government that was “bad for the people of Israel and the settlements,” and then establish a right-wing government that would pass the law.

“In this government, things are different,” Minister Levin boasted. “We went back to believing in our right to the entire Land of Israel, and to strengthening the settlement. In this government, there is no difficulty in raising the necessary majority to pass the bill.”

One tiny question: if we are once again “believing in our right to the entire Land of Israel,” why are we passing a special set of regulations for Judea and Samaria, the heart of Biblical Eretz Israel? Shouldn’t we simply annex them and apply the law there as we do in Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba?

I know, I know, Biden would be upset, we’d set fire to the Middle East, and Bibi won’t be invited to Abu Dhabi. I just thought I should ask.


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