Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get Efrat Out of the DEEP FREEZE of Non-building

The media says there's no building freeze, but building in my town is frozen solid. I live in Efrat, the capital of Gush Etzion. You'd think a capital would be bustling with construction, but then again, look at the capital of Israel - our holy city of Jerusalem. There's a definite lack of cranes and tractors in many areas.
Recently I read that building is indeed proceeding in different areas of Judea and Samaria (Yesha), but Efrat's Mayor Oded Revivi explained that towns whose land is being marketed by the Jewish Agency or Jewish National Fund are under construction. However, Efrat's land is marketed by the State of Israel, and the State just is not releasing any lands for construction.
Now, Efratians might not be worried by this. Shortage of housing keeps housing prices high, and folks love when their real estate is worth a bundle. But high housing prices mean that young people can't afford to live in your town. Without young people, there is no future. Folks just grow old in their over-priced houses, and even when they want to sell, there are no buyers, because the prices are too outrageous.
So, a town without building and growth is condemned to shrivel up and go the way of Tombstone, Arizona. Not a pretty site.
On a larger scale, if there's no building in Efrat and many other towns in Judea and Samaria, the entire Yesha enterprise is threatened. That's what US President Barack Obama wants, but I certainly hope it's not what Israel's elected officials want. For a strong country, you need strong, growing, prospering towns and cities everywhere, especially in the heart of the Land.
Well, things look grim, but Efrat's Mayor is not giving up. He's been meeting with Knesset Members and Ministers. He's been banging on doors, and inviting government officials to come here and see for themselves that without the ability to build, we are absolutely choking.
Visits by Knesset Members are great, and it's very gratifying that they are sympathetic to our predicament, but the key to Efrat's building, as well as building most anywhere else in Yesha, is Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And the only way he'll sign anything for Efrat is if the Prime Minister orders him to do it.
The trouble is that the government doesn't want to put out public tenders in Efrat, because it doesn't want the American government
Efrat is the capital of Gush Etzion. It's a city of kindness (chesed) and a place where people work together for the common good. Efrat's made a record of an extraordinary amount of educators and a tremendous amount of doctors and nurses within its population. Efrat's residents have often taken the lead in times of national trial - helping Gush Katif expellees in their hotels, welcoming residents of the North into their homes during the Lebanon War, etc. Efrat deserves to build, so that it can absorb more families that love Israel and work for its benefit.
Efratians, you must act now. Respectfully demand the start of construction in Efrat. Call or fax or email today. Even if you don't live in Efrat, I'm inviting you to help us.
Start easy with a few of your Likud representatives.
Benny Begin - 02-6408022, bbegin@knesset.gov.il
Tzippy Hotovely - 02-6408328, Fax: 02-6753719, zhotovely@knesset.gov.il
Ze'ev Elkin - 02-6408145, Fax: 02-6496438, Zelkin@knesset.gov.il
Ruby Rivlin - 02-6753444, Fax: 02-6496193, rrivlin@knesset.gov.il
And of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - 02-6753227, Fax: 02-6496659, bnetanyahu@knesset.gov.il

You can find plenty more at http://www.knesset.gov.il/.
Write to your Knesset representatives.
Keep those phones ringing!! We need to build now!

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