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Rift In Netanyahu Coalition After Civil Administration Uproots Shilo Orchard

By 02/15/2023 2:52 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

After the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria, which was ostensibly still under the control of Defense Minister Gallant, uprooted a Jewish-owned orchard and olive grove on the plains of Shilo, a huge schism emerged in the coalition led by Netanyahu.

The uprooting occurred despite the explicit orders of Betzalel Smotrich, a minister in the Defense Ministry who, by the coalition accords, is meant to have control over the Civil Administration.

Despite Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s (Likud) instructions to the Civil Administration to proceed with the destruction, Smotrich had ordered a halt to construction.

To stop the demolition, dozens of yeshiva and seminary students gathered at the Hen Ben-Eliyahu-owned fruit and olive plantation in the Shilo Valley.

According to the Honenu organization, police have detained about 40 demonstrators.

The Ben-Eliyahu family claimed on Wednesday that “it is incomprehensible that a right-wing government would do this.”

“Twenty years of work were undone in a split second, and no one is standing up to stop this injustice. We request that all government ministers stop what they are doing and visit us.

To halt the destruction using their Knesset immunity, two members of the government, MKs Limor Son-Har-Melech, and Tzvi Sukkot, were stopped by police.

According to Sukkot, “the orchard should not have been removed as the Civil Administration’s appeals committee said it shouldn’t be demolished. Despite this, the administration’s head decided to overthrow the committee rather than follow its rules. The prime minister and minister Gallant are urged to honor the coalition’s agreements and end this heinous exodus.

Police surrounded Son Har-Melech in a way that she described as “humiliating and sexually frightening” even though she was an MK. She was also prevented from protesting the uprooting.

The Civil Administration has charged the Ben-Eliyahau family with illegally claiming farmland in the Shilo Valley, citing court orders compelling the family to remove its orchard.

The right-wing parties have complained that the laws have been applied unfairly because the charges are based on a Supreme Court ordinance used primarily against Jewish settlers, while the courts have not singled out Palestinians who construct and grow unlawfully.

The outpost’s destruction increased hostilities inside the Netanyahu administration between Smotrich and Gallant and prompted Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party to boycott the cabinet.

Smotrich sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the demolition on Wednesday morning, warning him that any additional delays in carrying out the Civil Administration transfer could jeopardize the government’s stability.

“About a month ago, I gave the order that the order against Hen Ben-Eliyahu be promptly revoked as Minister in the Defense Ministry designated to oversee the Civil Administration and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.”

But to my great amazement, the Defense Minister blatantly disregarded the coalition agreement and overturned my choice.

Even if the allegations against this orchard were refuted in court proceedings, Minister Gallant has chosen to carry on the left-leaning policies of former Minister Benny Gantz and destroy orchards.

Smotrich continued pleading for “today” transfer of control over the Civil Administration to his office.

After the majority of the orchard had been demolished, Netanyahu finally gave Gallant the order to halt the destruction.

Due to his conflict with Gallant, the defense establishment worries that Smotrich may use his position as finance minister to delay funds for defense-related activities.




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bobby bracros

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