News Digest: Thanks to Activists on the Left and the Right, Amendment to Jerusalem Law Passes
“Tonight when you weren’t paying attention, Jerusalem was saved, at least for a bit.
And also: Tonight ,Jerusalem proved again that its activists can face more than the usual division between Right and Left.
The amendment to the Jerusalem Law that was raised yesterday for final approval in a Knesset session included a dangerous section whose implementation could possibly transform the Shuafat refugee camp and Kfar Ekev to a local authority separate from Jerusalem. Everyone who understands East Jerusalem knows that this is a disaster that would lead to the collapse of the population in both of these places that are currently in dire straits. There wouldn’t be a chance for the establishment of a local authority now or in a future setting; all of the neighborhood's infrastructural components are virtually paralyzed. Their collapse which would precede the creation of the independent authority would be entirely dysfunctional and impact the whole of the northeast of Jerusalem. The correct course of action, if we want to improve the situation in these neighbourhoods is to force the Jerusalem municipality to take responsibility for these neighborhoods and determine the best way to allocate resources to them. There was no need to invent newly defined municipal legislation to address this issue.
So the 'Left' of the Knesset was really against this legislation, but not at all to do with global politics. In other words, the amendment to the law is makes it difficult to return territories (seemingly) and the Left in the Knesset is disinterested in Jerusalem, just in 'returning the territories.' On the other hand, the 'Right' in Knesset and specifically HaBayit HaYehudi were the ones who brought up the proposed amendment, because apparently the law prevents territorial return. And the 'Right' in the Knesset is not really interested in Jerusalem, just in 'preventing territorial return.' And also — if they were to divide these neighborhoods, and increased the percentage of Jews demographically speaking, consider ow many votes in favor of this piece of legislation would be counted by residents of Jerusalem.
But in Jerusalem, the activists that care about the city think a little more deeply than do the politicians in Knesset, and they care about the residents of the city themselves. There are leftwing activists from groups such as, Ir Amim that try to establish their influence, but you did not notice that the Left' in Knesset did not influence policy for a long period of time…so in spite of their heroic efforts, their ability was limited at best.
And the salvation of Jerusalem occurs by chance by activists on the Right. Some of the Jerusalem activists of HaBayit HaYehudi, and specifically Maor Tzemach and his organisation Lech Yerushalayim, are aware of the issue with regard to the city's future. Their hard work with members of Knesset in HaBayit HaYehudi carried on into the wee hours of the morning and enabled a final decision to be made t 3am. This requires that a Knesset vote must establish a municipal council, which will likely not happen, at least in the near future.
So, tonight, while you slept, Jerusalem activists from the right to the left worked hard to save the city. And this time — they succeeded!
Thanks to them from all of us!”
– Hagai Agmon-Snir
“The State of Israel needs to invest in East Jerusalem, in infrastructure and education of the population, also to protect on residents of the Western part of the city and their health. The separation between the Arabs as people on the left hated will leave them with bad infrastructure, without resources, and worsening pollution. The hazards, diseases, poisons, and carcinogens will get to us too.”
– Lech Yerushalayim
“In the last few weeks, as debates went on in Knesset on the amendment to the Jerusalem Law, we payed attention to an interesting phenomenon: every time that we talked about how this law is trying to cut off East Jerusalem neighborhoods from the city, the Knesset members of HaBayit HaYehudi moved uncomfortably; they see themselves as promoting a unified Jerusalem and aren’t trying to divide the city or reduce its territory.
After a dramatic night in Knesset, we’re happy to update that the government did not succeed to receive a majority to cut off the neighborhoods. The law was approved requiring 80 Knesset members to transfer Jerusalem territories in a political agreement.
Netanyahu and Elkin, this is the time to think of a new way forward. These neighborhoods are a part of Jerusalem and they are under our responsibility, Israeli responsibility. They deserve to receive all public services. Show us how important Jerusalem is to you.”
– Ir Amim