Isolated Israeli Settlements Get Favored Under New Funding List Approved by the Government

The plan includes criteria that has been crafted especially for specific settlements that are defined as neighborhoods within communities in the West Bank

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
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Houses in Shvut Rachel, a West Bank settlement near Ramallah, October 6, 2016.
Houses in Shvut Rachel, a West Bank settlement near Ramallah, October 6, 2016.Credit: Boaz Ratner/Reuters
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

The government on Sunday approved the Housing Ministry’s new National Priorities Map, a list of locales eligible for funding to cover planning and development, and the criteria for their eligibility. In addition to communities within Israel proper, the list also includes some isolated settlements in the West Bank.

The subsidies offered as part of the new initiative will be earmarked, for example, for infrastructure work ahead of housing construction, and priority will be given to citizens who do not presently own homes who want to move to the approved locales and need loans from the state.

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Depending on their size, demographic factors like migration rates and security considerations, rural communities that belong to regional councils – and towns defined as local councils that have fewer than 2,000 residents – will be eligible for assistance under the new scheme. It will also benefit locales near the separation barrier or communities under threat, mainly in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip.

Specifically, according to the Housing Ministry statement, communities located in proximity to an "enemy border" – i.e., up to 7 kilometers away from Gaza and up to two kilometers from Israel's northern border – will get substantial funds to defray infrastructure development costs.

Another criterion announced will benefit far-flung settlements considered to be "neighborhoods located far from a 'parent town' that do not rely on the infrastructure of said town.” In practice, this means satellite neighborhoods that are technically associated with other locales but in practice operate independently.

Thus, beneficiaries of national subsidies will include the West Bank settlements of Migron, Kerem Re'im and Shvut Rachel – all three of which are defined as neighborhoods of larger towns: Kochav Yaakov, Talmon and Shiloh, respectively.

The same criterion also confers eligibility on new neighborhoods of towns that are located a kilometer or more from the infrastructure of the towns' present neighborhoods.

The Housing Ministry announcement noted that the West Bank city of Ariel regains its “national priority” status, and will benefit from land-development subsidies.

For his part, Housing Minister Yoav Galant said the state has a responsibility to encourage construction while also developing existing locales in need of support. It is a social and national duty, he added, to prevent negative migration from distant towns and to enable them to thrive and prosper.

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