As part of its efforts to save the economy from the world economic crisis, the 32nd Israeli Government chose to institute a reform in the Israel Land Administration (ILA). It is understandable that this reform may in fact be essential for a future increase in economic growth, but without properly dealing with the substantive aspect of the reform, it can be stated that this reform contains a number of components that harm the State of Israel’s national interests as the National Home of the Jewish People.
Presented here are clauses that we find harmful to the Zionist Goal, followed by means to amend them while preserving the interests of the Jewish People, and without harming the objectives of the reform:
- The reform asserts that State lands will be transferred to private ownership, in clear defiance of Basic Law: Lands of Israel, which declares that these lands are only to be leased. This change opposes the Jewish principle of “This land will never be sold permanently”, raises the chances of hostile purchase of these lands, and releases these lands from the hands of the Jewish People and its future generations.
Our recommendation is that State lands remain in the possession of the State, without harming the rights of the lessees and by means of virtually eliminating the bureaucracy required between the lessees and the Administration.
- The reform delegates planning and building authority to the local boards, which are vulnerable to political pressures from local pressure groups. If they are unable to stand these pressures, this will bring about harsh planning and building problems in the local councils, especially in those already suffering from improper administration.
Our recommendation is that local planning committees are only granted authority of departments that have already proven proper management over time, and will be subordinate to regional planning committees which will properly respond to appeals.
- The reform harms the rights and status of the JNF and does not ensure essential future arrangements to preserve the interests of the JNF in light of the proposed reform.
Because of the moral obligation of the State of Israel to the JNF and the Jewish People, our recommendations on the issue are:
- Future land exchanges between the ILA and the JNF are toinclude lands capable of being developed.
- The value of the lands under ILA ownership is to remain the same.
- The position of the JNF on the ILA board is to be maintained.
- The JNF is to manage its lands independently and in accordance with its founding documents.