Israel has huge plan to expand Judaization of East Jerusalem and attract young Jewish settlers

Middle East Monitor  /  May 22, 2023

The Israeli government approved yesterday a three-year plan to Judaize more of occupied Jerusalem and attract young Jewish settlers from abroad, Israeli media have reported. The occupation government has allocated NIS 95 million ($26m) for the scheme.

Israel Hayom said that this was agreed at a meeting held in Al-Buraq Square in Jerusalem’s Old City as part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government’s celebration of so-called “Jerusalem Day”, which marks the occupation of the eastern parts of the Palestinian holy city in 1967. According to the Israeli daily, Netanyahu’s plan was developed in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality and the support of the Jewish Agency.

The plan, explained Israel Hayom, seeks to encourage young Jews between 18 and 35 years of age to migrate and settle in occupied Jerusalem in a bid to outnumber the indigenous Palestinians. Hence, the budget will go to the Ministry of Immigration, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Sports in order to provide incentives for Jews to settle — illegally, according to international law — in the occupied city.

Exhibitions will be arranged abroad, centres for new Jewish settlers in the occupied city will be created, and there will be special programs to give them jobs. The Ministry of Immigration and the Jerusalem Municipality will help immigrants who settle in occupied Jerusalem to enroll on vocational training course and obtain suitable employment licences.

“We are talking about an excellent plan that will bring young people, academics and families to the city,” Israel Hayom quoted Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata as saying. “This plan will contribute to empowering the city in various aspects, [including] economic, Zionist and demographic.”

The Mayor of the Israeli-run Municipality in Jerusalem, Moshe Leon, told the newspaper: “We are the city that absorbs the most [Jewish] immigrants in Israel. The young olim [immigrants] are integrated into the city and contribute in all areas.” He added that he intends to invest in encouraging aliyah [migration to Israel] and absorption in the coming years.”

Recent data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics shows that over 18,000 Jews have settled in Jerusalem since 2018. More than half of them were between the ages of 18 and 35. The data also shows that approximately 30 per cent of the settlers have left Jerusalem within the past five years.