The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, has announced the appointment of Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz as its next chairman.

He was elected by local government officials in Judea and Samaria. Ganz will replace Shlomo Ne’eman as head of Yesha. Neeman will continue to lead the Eastern European Department of the Settlements Council.

Israel Gantz has been at the helm of the largest regional council in Israel for a second term. He was elected to this position in 2018 and was re-elected a few months ago. Gantz has close ties with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s President Isaac Herzog, and senior ministers from various political parties.

Shlomo Neeman congratulated his colleague on his appointment and wished him success: “Israel Gantz is a visionary and energetic individual dedicated to the development and strengthening of settlements. In recent years, we have achieved a real revolution in road infrastructure construction in Judea and Samaria. He is a reliable partner with our colleagues, the leaders of local authorities in Judea and Samaria, in the struggle for unsettled territories. I am confident that Israel Gantz will successfully continue the development of settlements in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.”

Israel Gantz, in turn, thanked his predecessor and colleagues, the leaders of local authorities, for their support and trust.

“At this time, the communities in Judea and Samaria stand at a dramatic and fateful crossroads that will affect their future and the State of Israel as a whole. We face huge challenges to protect the heart of the State of Israel. Deepening our grip on the region will ensure the security and strengthening of the country,” he said.

“Living in Judea and Samaria should be like anywhere else in the State of Israel. There is huge potential for infrastructure development here, and we need to work hard to develop infrastructure and places of employment and commerce. Settlements can and should make a significant contribution to the country’s economy and stability. We will work diligently with my colleagues, and with joint efforts and God’s help, we will succeed,” Gantz added.

In recent years, Gantz has pursued a policy in which settlements throughout Judea and Samaria must become an integral part of the State of Israel rather than a separate entity. Accordingly, the State of Israel should organize systematically its investments in strengthening settlements, not as a political process but as a national priority.