Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday ordered cabinet secretary Ronen Peretz to investigate methods whereby hundreds of homes could be built in the central Shomron town of Har Bracha. Ministers at a meeting Sunday morning approved a request by cabinet members Ze’ev Elkin and Miri Regev to authorize construction of 800 homes in the town, more than doubling its current size.
The order to move ahead with authorizing construction comes less than a month after the murder of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, Hy”d, a resident of the town, who was murdered by Arab terrorists. Rabbi Ben-Gal was killed near Ariel, a city in central Shomron. He had been waiting at a bus stop, and his murderer, Abd Al Hakim Adel A’asi, had just gotten out of a taxi. He crossed the highway and attacked Rabbi Ben-Gal using two knives he was holding, stabbing his victim in the upper body. Rabbi Ben-Gal, realizing what had happened, ran away, pursued by the terrorist. He managed to signal to a bus driver that he had been stabbed, and when the driver got off the bus and security officials began pursuing him, he ran in the other direction.
An IDF officer saw him running with the knives in his hand, and used his vehicle to slam the terrorist. He knocked the terrorist down, but he managed to get up. The officer knocked the terrorist down again, but again he got up, and he eventually disappeared into the village of Kifl Haris, which is located across the road from Ariel. The officer was unarmed, security officials said. The search for Adel is ongoing, focused on central Shomron and Shechem.
Speaking at the meeting, Regev and Elkin said massive construction was “the appropriate response” to acts of Arab terrorism. Netanyahu said that he “hoped to move forward” with the project. Shomron Council head Yossi Dagan said massive construction would be “an important statement. Israelis are hoping for a daring action after this horrible murder. Let our enemies know that all attacks against us will be responded to by massive construction.”