Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Greater Jerusalem - A Letter to MK Hatovely

Original Article found on Arutz 7

I find myself walking a fine line between Politics and Economy on this site. Its so interesting to see how the two intermingle when actually studied. My lines have been blurred many times on Supporting Our Israel, but my goal remains the same: Stay out of politics, other people talk about them enough.

The problem is, however, when politicians talk and it affects what I am doing. When PM Netanyahu spoke at AIPAC and in Congress, my Twitter was abuzz with congratulatory remarks, backing PM Netanyahu fully. Please don't think I wasn't one of them either, what he said was amazing and should be studied by every wannabe politician worldwide. My problem is the following: Politicians are paid to talk. How many of them actually do? That is the one thing I can say I was impressed with of President Obama, he said he was going to pass ObamaCare and he did, the disaster that it is. His intentions are out there, wide open to the public and he is getting them done, regardless of what the nation thinks, or Congress for that matter.

I wish I could say the same for the politicians in Israel. AS I said before, I was moved by PM Netanyahu's speeches recently, as well as when he spoke to the UN some time ago. His words are smooth, his inflection is solid and, I believe, his heart is in the right place. My parents always said, though, "Say Little and Do Much."

Have we really seen much from PM Netanyahu? Or for that matter, Barak, Olmert, Livni or the rest of the big names in Israeli politics? PM Netanyahu said after the heinous murders in Itamar that thousands of residential units will go up. Where are the plans? Where is the talk? Why haven't we seen or heard of anything? Where will they build? Why aren't the politicians building up the North with infrastructure to start bringing Israeli's there? Or at least Israeli-owned land for Israeli businesses? I'm left with a sour taste in my mouth and feel betrayed by a group of people who are all talk.

Enter MK Tzipi Hotovely(Likud). At 32 years old, she is the youngest member of the Knesset and is a rising star in politics. As the article says, she accompanied a group of roughly 140 English speaking Israelis on a tour of East Jerusalem. She called for a "Greater Jerusalem" plan, something that has been in the pipes since the time of PM Yitzhak Rabin.

"Hotovely said she plans to introduce legislation in the Knesset this session that would create a “Greater Jerusalem” metropolitan area by expanding Jerusalem’s municipal borders to include places such as Ma’aleh Adumim and Giv’at Ze’ev.

Hotovely pointed to undeveloped areas and hills as examples of land that should be incorporated into Jerusalem’s municipal borders and then developed as part of the city.
"

While I agree with her premise and with her desire to see a "Greater Jerusalem," I greet her words with a cautious approach. Although she recognizes that when it was called for 6,000 residential units and only 1,000 were built is a failure, these are easy words. By saying something is a failure doesn't mean you are going to fix it by stating grandiose plans for the Holy City of Jerusalem. What actions are being taken that the municipalities are expanded? What actions are being taken to help contractors build those units? Where is the plan to develop the "undeveloped areas and hills"? Who will pay for it? Will the government give tax breaks and incentives to people who do build and buy in these areas?

We, for the most part, are all aware that Jews and Arabs do live in close proximity to each other and that a majority of the Arab population within the undisputed Israeli borders (Again, I don't think anything is disputed, it is all Israel, but I use that language because it is the common wording) do not want a Palestinian state because they are happy and prosperous in a state that gives them rights. So what is MK Hotovely's plan to deal with the Arab population? Security in the disputed neighborhoods? Local economy? Infrastructure?

I watch MK Hotovely's rise in the Likud party, and Israeli politics, closely. She is interesting and engaging. I do hope, however, that she walks the walk and doesn't just talk the talk. Propose a plan to build, beautify, expand and broaden the borders of Jerusalem. Please be as transparent as possible. Make the plan known. Make sure the public knows what is being proposed. Make the public aware of threats made and of progress within the government. It is so important that the face of Israel's government changes. Will MK Hotovely be the one to change it? I hope so. It is a great start talking about building Jerusalem, but the real test of her mettle is by doing it!

As the movie says "If you build it, they will come."

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