Majority of Israelis Oppose Withdrawal

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Nearly 65 percent of Israelis oppose any further withdrawals of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

In a recent poll conducted by Motagim, the majority of Israelis said that "in light of the results of the 'disengagement' process from the Gaza Strip," they were opposed to the government's planned destruction of more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Israel's biblical heartland.

While 23.9 percent favored disbanding more communities, 11 percent declined to respond to the question.

Ninety-five percent of ultra-Orthodox respondents were against further withdrawals, as were 91 percent of the modern Orthodox polled, while 57 percent of secular Israelis are also against dismantling any more Jewish towns and communities.

Cutbacks to Security Budgets

Meanwhile, security officials expressed concern that government budget cuts will make residents of Judea and Samaria more vulnerable to terror attacks.

According to a report on Army Radio, the Home Front Command held back part of the annual budget needed to maintain the security infrastructure.

Insufficient funds translate to a 70 percent cutback for repair of security fences; repair and replacement of equipment, e.g., sensors and security cameras; and funding to install plastic windows in cars vulnerable to Palestinian rock throwing attacks.

"We need these funds right away," said Shlomo Vaknin, head of security at the Yesha Council, which represents communities in these areas.

"Actually, with the first glitch, the systems will simply collapse, there will be cumulative damage, and it will not be long before a town is infiltrated without prior warning. It takes only one such infiltration to cause disaster," Vaknin told Army Radio.

Member of Knesset Arye Eldad (National Union/National Religious Party) said the cutbacks stem from a political agenda.

"There is a trend, which is becoming more and more noticeable, to forsake the security of the Jews in Judea and Samaria, especially those who live outside the security fence," Eldad, said.

"Those who sacrifice the lives and security of the residents of Judea and Samaria will eventually have blood on their hands," he said.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that the political echelon is behind the cutbacks.

"The Home Front Command contributes yearly to the various day-to-day expenses of maintaining security in the towns," he told Army Radio.

"Since we received a budget this year that was markedly smaller than the demands put forth by the Home Front Command, at this point only part of the budget for maintaining security apparatuses in the towns will e transferred," he said.

"The Defense Ministry and the Home Front Command are continuing talks with the Finance Ministry to expand the budget and fill the needs in this important matter," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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