Uri Ariel, Minister of Housing and Construction from the Jewish Home party, has announced his intention to move to the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. He made the announcement after touring the neighbourhood with his wife. He intends to live there for several days each week.
According to a report broadcast by Israeli TV station Channel 2, Ariel went to Shin Bet’s VIP guarding unit and asked them to prepare for his move to the new house.
Security agencies are concerned about Ariel’s move, which could escalate the recent violence that has erupted in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods.
Ariel intends to live there because of the existing dispute between the Israeli government and the US Administration over building in this area and whether or not Jews are allowed to live there.
Senior government officials, including Netanyahu himself, have stated that Jews can live wherever they want to. Other officials have said that Jews have the right to live in Silwan, just as Arabs have the right to live on French Hill, a neighbourhood and settlement in East Jerusalem.
This step comes as a real test for the statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to US President Barak Obama.