One of the main goals of the plan is to bring about a significant decline in violence by means of integrated activity to reduce gaps in infrastructure, employment, education and social welfare and by boosting enforcement and personal security.

 Cabinet approves socio-economic development plan for Eastern Jerusalem

 

Copyright: GPO

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting today (Sunday, 29 June 2014), approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan for the socio-economic development of Jerusalem. Pursuant to Basic Law: Jerusalem Capital of Israel, the Government is working in a variety of ways to develop and strengthen the city.

This is the first time that a comprehensive socio-economic development will be formulated and implemented for eastern Jerusalem. One of the main goals of the plan that was approved is to bring about a significant decline in violence by means of integrated activity to reduce gaps in infrastructure, employment, education and social welfare and by boosting enforcement and personal security. The basic assumption for the civic aspects of the plan is the existence of a deep link between the scope and level of violence by residents of eastern Jerusalem and the standard of living in neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Israel Police Jerusalem District Police commander Yossi Farenty attended today’s Cabinet meeting.

In light of the increase in incidents of violence and stone-throwing in the area, a professional team led by Prime Minister’s Office Director General Harel Locker and Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelblit held – in recent months – comprehensive discussions along with Jerusalem Mayor Barkat and representatives of the relevant Government ministries on effective ways to deal with the situation in eastern Jerusalem.

The team concentrated on three aspects: Enforcement, legislative and civic. This decision arranges the team’s recommendations on increasing personal security and on civic and economic matters. An additional Cabinet decision that was formulated by Cabinet Secretary Mendelblit in coordination with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and the State Attorney’s Office, and which was also approved today, deals with strengthening enforcement capabilities regarding stone-throwing offenses and complements the above decision.

306,000 residents live in eastern Jerusalem and constitute 38% of the city’s population as well as approximately 20% of the minority population of the country. Their civil status is that of residents and not citizens. The socio-economic situation in eastern Jerusalem is among the lowest in the country and is characterized by an especially high rate of children and families below the poverty line, a low rate of participation in the labor force and an especially high rate of school drop-outs (30%).

It should be noted that in recent years there has been an upsurge in acts of violence and stone-throwing in the eastern part of the city. Pursuant to data provided by the Israel Police, in March-April 2014 alone, approximately 990 files were opened in the region for violent offenses including – inter alia – disturbing the peace, attacking police officers and robbery.

It was also reported that there were approximately 390 incidents of stone-throwing at security forces, and civilian and security vehicles in the eastern part of the city, as well as dozens of cases of stolen vehicles and break-ins. These are offenses with nationalist characteristics that are not perpetrated in a similar scope in other parts of the country. These displays of violence are being perpetrated in the capital of the State of Israel, close to the holiest sites of the three major faiths, which have considerable tourist and public diplomacy significance and which draw pilgrims from around the world.

Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett was involved in submitting the plan as were representatives from Mayor Barkat’s office, the State Attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s office and the Public Security, Economy, Social Affairs and Social Services, Construction and Housing and Education ministries. According to Israel Police assessments, the plan will lead to a significant decline in the short- and medium-term of over 50% in displays of violence.