Bill to Connect Illegal Structures to Power Grid Passes First Reading

An unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A bill allowing illegally built homes in Arab Israeli communities to be connected to the power grid cleared its first reading late Monday in the Knesset.

61 MKs voted in favor and 48 voted against the proposal brought by Ra’am MK Walid Taha, and opposed last month by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who later came to an agreement with Taha.

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, led by Taha, are now set to okay the bill, after which it goes back to the plenum for second and third readings before it becomes law.

Israel’s electric company will not only be able to connect illegally built structures to the power grid but will also be able to repair or upgrade, makeshift power grids that have already been erected. This could include homes in Israeli towns where illegal construction has taken place. Committee members from the chareidi parties expressed support for the law.

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