Knesset panel discusses change to regulations to allow expansion of Druze town Daliat el-Carmel

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

In a nod to answering Druze community frustrations about state constraints on building that hinder the community’s ability to grow, the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environmental Committee is discussing a change to national park regulation that will enable residential expansion in the Druze town of Daliat el-Carmel.

The matter has been held up for six years, Army Radio reports.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior coalition figures promised to change policies in order to answer longstanding Druze community demands, including a pledge to enshrine the community’s “important status” in law, but stopped short of saying they would amend or repeal 2018’s controversial Basic Law: Nation-State of the Jewish People.

The Druze have long said their communities are unable to grow, faced with tight building permit policies and government fast-tracked demolition procedures.

“We’re happy that specifically in these days,” referring to Israel’s ongoing war, in which the six Druze soldiers have fallen, “we can do this,” says Internal Affairs Committee chair MK Yaakov Asher.

“Places to live are basic things for people,” Asher adds, saying that the move will increase “quality of life.”

Ra’am lawmaker Waleed Alhwashla also implored the committee to loosen building restrictions on Bedouin communities in the south, many of which have formed unrecognized villages not formally hooked up to state services.

“I think we need to change our attitude toward Bedouin communities in the Negev,” Alhwashla tells the committee.

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