Regev claims government doing ‘amazing things’: ‘So many people in hotels’ we funded

Minister ridiculed for saying Israelis should ‘thank God’ the state funds the hotel stays of those displaced by war, boasting about planned train to evacuated northern city

Transportation Minister Miri Regev holds a press conference in Jerusalem, on May 8, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Transportation Minister Miri Regev holds a press conference in Jerusalem, on May 8, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Transportation Minister Miri Regev claimed the government has not received enough credit for the “amazing things” it’s done amid the ongoing war, such as providing shelter for people forced out of their homes in northern Israel for over half a year, prompting mockery from opposition parties.

“The government has done amazing things over the past year. Amazing things. So many people are in hotels, all funded by the government. We set a budget for the rehabilitation of the north. We set a budget for the restoration of the south. We brought budgets for the Kiryat Shmona to Eilat train,” Regev said in an interview on Monday with the ultra-Orthodox Kol Chai radio station.

“Sure there’s gaps, but we should say thank God,” she added.

Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a plan to link the northern city of Kiryat Shmona to the Red Sea resort of Eilat in the far south by rail, though numerous such plans have been floated in the past, and none have gotten off the ground.

Regev’s remarks came as tens of thousands of residents of northern communities, among them Kiryat Shmona, are staying at state-funded hotels due to near-daily Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon, along with residents of Gaza border communities, who cannot return to homes devastated during Hamas’s October 7 massacre and as the war continues in the Gaza Strip.

Rehabilitation plans for those communities have been marred by delays and questions about when residents will even be able to return safely, with large areas of the north ravaged by fires in recent days sparked by the Hezbollah attacks.

View of a large fire caused by attacks from Lebanon, in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, June 3, 2024 (David Cohen/Flash90)

Opposition parties and lawmakers ridiculed Regev for her remarks, accusing her of being disconnected from reality.

“The bridge over Route 1 is more connected than Miri Regev,” Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party posted on X, referencing a railway bridge being constructed over the highway.

“An alarming level of disconnection from reality,” the Yisrael Beytenu said.

Yesh Atid MK Naor Shiri charged that Regev “thinks that the government took civilians on holiday at the hotel, that the south and north are the Switzerland of the Middle East.”

“Since she landed from Mars, she really thinks there is a train destined for Eilat,” he adds.

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