by Hezki Baruch
Deputy FM says key to securing united Jerusalem is annexing metropolitan area, extending sovereignty from Jerusalem to surrounding towns.
With preparations underway for the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of all of Jerusalem, lawmakers and supporters of a united Jerusalem toured the greater Jerusalem metropolitan area to see firsthand the threats to Israeli sovereignty over the capital, the challenges to maintaining unity in the city, and some possible solutions.
Haim Silverstein, founder and president of the Keep Jerusalem organization which organized the tour, described the efforts to undermine Israeli control of the holy city.
“Jerusalem faces major challenges today - demographic challenges, when 40% of its population is Arab - non-Jews. There's massive illegal building taking place,” said Silverstein. “There's an Arab effort going on to try and take over Jerusalem demographically, and we need to find urgent solutions to these problems."
One possible solution for the demographic threat, suggested Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), is annexation of the greater Jerusalem area, bringing nearby Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty – and under Jerusalem municipal control.
"It's very important this year to develop people's awareness of the danger of dividing the city into two cities,” said Hotovely. “This is important to provide a broader picture of the metropolitan Jerusalem [area] that puts together Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim, Givat Zeev, and Beitar Illit as part of the Jerusalem municipality."
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