“For Hashem will deliver Tzion and rebuild the cities of Yehuda; they shall live there and inherit it.” Psalms 69:36 (The Israel Bible™)
Four neighboring Samaria settlements, Etz Efraim, Oranit, Shaarei Tikvah and Elkanah, will be converged into one single municipal entity, following a decision made by a committee which was commissioned by Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri.
The decision was made after the committee had concluded that maintaining four separate entities constitutes a disproportionate drain of state funds, and that unifying them would be more economically viable.
Apart from the bureaucratic simplification which will occur as a result of combining the settlements, which have a combined population of 22,000, the move is also expected to enable building in the areas in between the settlements, an almost unprecedented move beyond the green line.
“Due to the fact that the economic resilience of these four settlements is not great, and that they constantly look to the state for support, it seems that the minimization and convergence of bureaucratic roles will lead to a more effective use of the state budget,” the report issued by the committee read.
In response to the report, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein issued a statement congratulating the decision. “I commend the committee’s recommendations to create a new city in the Samaria, the heart of Israel. A city in the center of the country which will act as a housing solution for young couples,” said Edelstein, adding that “The location in Samaria makes the move all the more important, as it will serve to strengthen our hold on the land.”