Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adressing his cabinet [Photo Source: Likud Anglo Division]

On Sunday afternoon, the Israeli government unanimously decided to formally recognize the community of Havat Gilad, in Samaria. In recent weeks, government and non-government officials alike lobbied the government to recognize the Havat Gilad outpost as a legitimate community in Samaria. Although many Israeli’s are interested in seeing the expansion of Samaria, which would include new communities and the recognition of existing communities by the government, Havat Gilad was of particular interest in recent weeks.

Politicians like Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and residents of Samaria called on the Israeli government to authorize Havat Gilad in the aftermath of the January 9 terrorist attack, in which Havat Gilad resident and father of six Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot dead by Arab terrorists, in a drive-by shooting near his home.

On Sunday morning, in advance of the cabinet meeting where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet would discuss the outcome of Havat Gilad, the Prime Minister issued a statement on behalf of his upcoming decision. “A few minutes ago, I spoke with Yael, the widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach of blessed memory. I told her that the entire nation and all members of Cabinet embrace her and the children in their time of grief; I also asked her to hug the children for us,” Netanyahu said.

The Prime Minister continued, “I told her that our policy is being carried out in two spheres. First, by exacting justice. Yesterday our forces were again engaged in an effort to apprehend the last of the assassins and their accomplices – those responsible for the murder of Rabbi Shevach of blessed memory. We will not rest until we bring them to justice. And we will bring them all to justice.”

“Our second policy in bringing consolement to the nation is to strengthen the life in Judea and Samaria. Whoever thinks that through the reprehensible murder of a resident of Havat Gilad, a father of six, that he can break our spirit and weaken us, is making a bitter mistake,” Netanyahu said. He then went on to promise that the issue of Havat Gilad would be resolved. Indeed it was and the community is now officially recognized by the government.

According to The Jerusalem Post, during Netanyahu’s stretch as Prime Minister of Israel, the cabinet has voted only once before to convert outposts into settlements. In 2012, it authorized three outposts as settlements: Bruchin, Rehalim, and Santana.

In the past 25 years, the only community in Judea and Samaria whose building was authorized by the Israeli government, was Amichai, just this past year. The community is currently under construction.

In his Facebook post (the original is below) on Amichai, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his joy over the new project, with the following statement, “Today the work that I had promised began, [the work] to establish a new community for the [former] residents of Amona. After decades, I have the merit of being the Prime Minister who will build a new community in Judea and Samaria. There was not and will not be a [Israeli] government more pro-Judea and Samaria than ours.”

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