Vote on Legalization of Chavat Gilad Outpost Postponed to Next Week

YERUSHALAYIM -
Havat Gilad, Chavat Gilad
A general view of Chavat Gilad. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting that the government will discuss a proposal to legalize the outpost of Chavat Gilad next week, after two consecutive weeks of the issue failing to make the agenda for the weekly Cabinet meetings.

Netanyahu asserted that the delay in raising the issue was the result of “tactical reasons,” and that the issue will be brought up at next week’s meeting, in conjunction with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has formulated a proposal to normalize the community.

Chavat Gilad was the home of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, Hy”d, who was murdered in a terrorist attack three weeks ago. Ministers and rightwing MKs who came to offer their condolences to his family during the shivah, promised to push for the legalization of the outpost.

On the Sunday after the attack, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman submitted the proposal to do so, and it has since been waiting for approval.

Political officials said that the discussion on the proposal was further postponed due to “sensitive timing.”

Last week, it was likely the visit of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to Israel that led to the decision not to hold the discussion, while this week’s delay is presumed to be due to Netanyahu’s trip to Davos for the World Economic Forum and his meeting there with President Donald Trump.

“Chavat Gilad will become a legal community, as is appropriate,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan wrote on social media on Sunday, before the Cabinet meeting. “It is our moral duty to the brave residents and the family of Rabbi Shevach. I have no doubt the prime minister will fulfill our obligation and that of the defense minister, and the decision will be approved by the government today or next week.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said ahead of the government meeting that his Jewish Home party “expects the prime minister to raise the solution for Chavat Gilad today. We will back the prime minister, because promises must be kept.”

The Likud Party said in response to Bennett, “This is Jewish Home’s well-known method once again – demanding the prime minister to do something they know he is going to do anyway, so they can later present it as their achievement. The bill will be raised next week, precisely as it was agreed with the bill’s sponsor, Defense Minister Liberman.”

The proposal will be put to an “executive vote,” the first stage of a long and complex process to legalize the outpost.

The “executive decision” is mostly declarative in nature, announcing the government’s intention to legalize the outpost, but without detailing the manner in which it will be done.

In addition to legally recognizing the outpost, considerable funding will have to be allocated for infrastructure, including roads, street lights and electricity.