Netanyahu to Meet Northern Community Leaders for First Time in 4 Months

By Yoni Weiss

Smoke and fire after rockets fired from Lebanon hit an open area near the northern city of Kiryat Shemona, May 10. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with the mayors and leaders of northern Israeli communities in Yerushalayim on Sunday evening to discuss the needs of residents who have been evacuated from their homes for over seven months.

Netanyahu last met with local authorities approximately four months ago, promising to pass several resolutions to rehabilitate the northern communities.

Avichai Stern, mayor of Kiryat Shemona, told i24NEWS ahead of the meeting: “We are entering the meeting seeking clear answers. When will the security threat be removed, what are the government’s plans, when can we return home, and when will the aid package for northern settlements be approved, including special benefits for Kiryat Shemona residents for the day after they return.”

Stern emphasized that the meeting’s success hinges on receiving clear answers and timelines for these issues.

Earlier this month, Netanyahu sparked controversy at a Cabinet meeting by questioning the Sept. 1 target date for residents’ return, suggesting delays of several months, which angered northern authorities.

Last week, the government announced that hotels hosting evacuated residents from the north should prepare to house them until the end of 2024. For over seven months, northern residents have been evacuated, with most living in hotels across the country. The region has experienced thousands of attacks from Lebanese territory, including rockets, anti-tank missiles, and UAVs, causing significant damage to homes and agricultural areas.

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