First move in power: Ben-Gvir to legalize communities in Judea, Samaria – report

Legalizing currently unrecognized Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and connecting them to electricity and water is reportedly first on Ben-Gvir’s agenda.

By World Israel News Staff

Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir’s coalition agreement with Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu includes a condition that the government will immediately move to legalize some 60 Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

According to leaked details of the plan obtained by Israel Hayom, Ben-Gvir pledged to support Netanyahu in an upcoming confidence vote, which would officially return the former premier to power.

In exchange, the Knesset will pass a motion paving the way for the legalization process of presently unrecognized settlements to begin within 60 days of the swearing-in of a new right-wing government.

This measure would grant Ben-Gvir the ability to retroactively legalize settlements and provide them with the funding needed for crucial infrastructure projects, including building roads, connecting the towns to the national electricity grid, and creating water and sewage systems.

The 60 communities will be provided 180 million shekels (around $65 million) annually in order to update and modernize their infrastructure, according to the Israel Hayom report.

Under the agreement, the status of the currently unauthorized communities must be changed to legal and officially recognized by the Israeli government within 18 months.

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Ben-Gvir, who is likely to be appointed to an expanded ministerial position that grants him authority over national security, recently inked a coalition agreement with Netanyahu on behalf of his Otzma Yehudit faction within the Religious Zionism umbrella.

Some in Netanyahu’sLikud party are not pleased with the prestige of the role expected to be granted to Ben-Gvir, according to the Israel Hayom report.

Unnamed MKs reportedly suspect Netanyahu intentionally gave the role to Ben-Gvir due to his lack of experience, in the hope that he would not be able to effectively push the initiative forward.

Netanyahu is still negotiating with the head of the Religious Zionism party, Betzalel Smotrich, after several weeks of stalled talks. However, recent Hebrew language media reports have indicated that progress has occurred and that Smotrich and Netanyahu will reach an agreement by the end of the week.