Second settlement leader collapses at Jerusalem hunger strike

Dagan stopped eating a week ago. He was rushed to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, one of a number of settlement leaders carrying out a hunger strike, passed out on Tuesday at a protest tent in Jerusalem.

Dagan stopped eating a week ago. He was rushed to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

The hunger strikers are protesting the Netanyahu administration’s failure to legalize 46 “young” settlements in Judea and Samaria. The settlements house 25,000 men, women and children. Due to their lack of a legal status, the settlements are not hooked up to the water and electricity system.

Another of the hunger strikers, Urieh Luberboim, said, “I do not understand what is happening in this country. Should the head of the council need to collapse to get water and electricity for his residents? It is a shame.”

It was later reported that Dagan announced from his hospital bed that he would continue his hunger strike despite the episode. During a call from Health Minister Yuli Edelstein of the Likud party, Dagan said he wouldn’t stop his protest until residents in his area see they’ll be connected to water and electricity.

Dagan is the second hunger striker to collapse. On Jan. 14, Itai Zar collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. The moment was caught on video as he rocked on his feet during another’s speech and then fell backwards.

Zar collapsed a few days after news reached the protest encampment that Defense Minister Benny Gantz would not authorize 46 settlements seeking legalized status. Gantz’s decision was sharply criticized by settlement leaders.

The failure of the government to fix legal issues surrounding the settlements could become a liability in the coming March 23 election for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Residents of the settlements have been part of the Likud’s base.

In a sign that this may be changing, Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Elhayani announced on Tuesday at the protest tent that he was switching his allegiance to a new party – New Hope, led by former Likud MK Gideon Saar.

“Residents of the Jordan Valley, residents of Judea and Samaria, dear friends. You know me, I will always stay true to my ways. Netanyahu left the values ​​of the Likud. I will always remain true to the values ​​of the national camp,” Elhayani said.

Perhaps in an effort to shore up his base, Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan News, reports on Tuesday that Netanyahu is pushing for the normalization of five settlement outposts over Gantz’s objections.