Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Elul 5765 - September 7, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Sharon Cuts to the Right: Promises No More Evacuations, and 3,000 Apartments in Ariel

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

According to the Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim, the Defense Minister has approved the construction of 3,000 new apartments in Ariel over the next ten years, almost doubling the number of residents which currently stands at 17,000. The prime minister's office denied the report, saying that only 117 new residential units were approved for construction.

Deputy Defense Minister Boim said, "While disengagement takes place in Gaza, Ariel is an indivisible part of Israel." Boim said that there is no basis for rumors that the disengagement in Gaza will be followed by disengagement in Yehuda and Shomron.

Officials in Ariel said that there will not be massive building right away but that the rate of construction would be determined by demand for homes. They estimated that it could take 10 years to build all the units at a rate of about 300 units a year. During a recent visit to Ariel, Sharon said: "This (settlement) bloc will forever remain an inseparable part of the State of Israel and enjoy territorial contiguity with it."

In a meeting with Likud municipal heads on Monday, the prime minister said that Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital forever. Sharon also told the mayors that there will be no more evacuations.

More than one hundred Likud members attended the session, expressing their support for Sharon and his moves.

Sharon slammed his opponents within the party. "I don't understand this attempt to remove me," he said. "The party is in power. This is unprecedented."

Political observers said that it was far from unprecedented that there are attempts to remove a sitting prime minister.

Participants in the meeting said the prime minister implied that he intends to remain the leader of the Likud and that he has no plans to leave the party.

Commenting on West Bank construction, Sharon said: "There's no need to talk. We need to build. And we're building without talking."

Sharon's statements come less than three weeks before the Likud's Central Committee is to convene and to decide about when to hold party primaries for leadership. In the current political system, the leader of the largest party becomes the prime minister. As things stand now, the Likud will clearly remain the largest party.

There is a struggle within the Likud for leadership between Sharon and Netanyahu. Since most of the party was against the pullout, the assumption is that the sooner internal elections are held within the Likud, the worse it is for Sharon and the better it is for Netanyahu. Even though Netanyahu remained in the government almost up until the actual evacuation, he remains the candidate of the opponents of Sharon's policies. The later the primaries are held, the more time it gives for people to forget and for Sharon to do new things to recover his party's support. The current phase of the Likud leadership struggle is played out in attempts to move up or postpone the party primaries.

Sharon met with Education Minister Limor Livnat, who is attempting to play a mediating role between the PM and his Likud opponents in a bid to come up with an agreed-upon primaries date. However, Sharon made it clear he had no intention to accept any compromise on the matter and said the primaries should not be brought forward at all.

If Sharon loses to Netanyahu, it is not clear what he will do. There have been rumors that he will start a new party with Shimon Peres and Tomy Lapid, but those are probably wishful thinking from supporters of those politicians, who otherwise have no hope of getting any significant political power.


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