Beit El will soon be adding 650 units to the community, more than double the 300 originally planned.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The Samarian town of Beit El will soon include a vastly larger new neighborhood, totaling 650 units instead of the original 300 it was promised six years ago, according to a report in Israel Hayom Tuesday.
The prime minister made an agreement with the town’s leaders in 2012 to compensate them for the demolition of 30 homes when the court ruled that they were built on private Palestinian property. The residents left without putting up the kind of active resistance that has occurred in similar situations.
In a place where not a single house has been built in almost a decade in a de facto building freeze, the building of hundreds of new homes is welcome news.
“This is real news for the residents of Beit El and the entire settlement enterprise,” said Shai Alon, head of the Beit El council. “Because of the stubborn struggle we all waged, the council will grow in the near future with hundreds of housing units and thousands of new residents. It’s a wonderful gift for the new year.”
The new homes will fill an area that used to be an old Border Police base within the town and are expected to increase Beit El’s population by a whopping 65%, the report said.
When the Housing Ministry’s director-general toured the area with Alon and prospective contractors last month, approval had been given for only 300 homes, yet this was also significant.
Calling it a “historic occasion for Beit El,” he said that it was the first time that the Housing Ministry had agreed on an official development plan for the town. “[Now we’ll have] spectacular development, very high-end buildings, and first-class entrepreneurs in the Jerusalem area.”
Almost a third of the 140 newly approved units will be more modest, however, as they have been set aside for first-time homeowners in the government’s affordable housing program.
“As far as I am concerned, there is a resurrection of the dead here,” Alon stated.
As the Housing Ministry has already approved the expanded neighborhood, it is expected that the groundbreaking will take place in the coming weeks and months.
Overall, the government has approved the building of some 2,500 new units in Judea and Samaria this year.