I am not referring to the temperatures though! While a significant portion of North America finds itself in a deep freeze, we, here in Israel, are in the midst of a different freeze...but this one is more of an existential threat, of sorts!
As many of you know, the Netanyahu government has instituted a freeze on any new construction in Yehuda and the Shomron. (If you just asked yourself "where is that," we have more serious issues on our hands!) After speaking to a few people in the USA, it has become apparent that the impact of this building freeze is NOT clear to many outside of Israel. So, allow me to explain in my plain and simple terms why this is a disastrous move.
1. Any individual in Yehuda and Shomron (Yosh) who was planning to build but had not yet laid down a foundation is not allowed to build for the next 10 months (now about 9). If he had laid out tens of thousands of dollars/Shekalim or if he had hired and paid an architect, or if equipment was already even brought to the site...tough luck! That money will do no good for the next 9 months.
2. And if you are one of those unlucky contractors whose heavy equipment is on the scene and not moving...you stand to have it confiscated by the government. If you have laid out tens of thousands of dollars/Shekel for materials..tough luck!
3. You're an Arab and need work (because Israel is a country where Arabs come into JEWISH areas for "parnassa" and Jews go into ARAB areas and get arrested [or worse c"v]). Well, you too are out of luck...soon, you will have no work.
4. Your family is growing BH and you need to add that extra room...the sun is a bit hot on you so you want to build a pergola/gazebo...you need to enclose that back porch because the wind, dust, flies or any other issue is bothering you: TOUGH LUCK CHARLIE! The government feels that adding on to your home or any other of these activities is an impediment to peace and no-can-do!
5. You are the USA government: What the Israeli government is doing is...well, ok...but nowhere near enough to appease the Arabs nor good enough, since East Jerusalem (!!) is not on the "freeze" list.
6. You are the Arab World...Well, enough said right there! Unless all building ceases in Yehuda and Shomron, Jerusalem (all of it), and any other location that they decide this week needs to be "frozen," Israel has done NOTHING.
So, let's recap this catasrophe: We can't build; homeowners are out millions of of shekel; contractors are out millions of shekel; the Arab workers will be joining the uneployment line; the United States government basically has yawned in reaction; the Arab world is wholly unsatisfied with this action, calling it a stunt.
In no uncertain, terms this move is a DISASTER on SO many levels. It has also led to a huge rift in Yehuda and Shomron with authorities coming in to cities to tear down anything they deem illegal.
This is tearing at the very fabric of this country.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL UNDERSTAND HOW TERRIBLE THIS "FREEZE" IS!
At the end of the ten-month-freeze...then what??!! Will the Israeli government deem it a "success" and keep it in force (c"v); will they admit that it was a failure (if so, do that NOW and get it over with so we can get back to building); or will it once again just be another item to check off on a list, along with the expulsion from Gush Katif etc etc.
If I didn't have 100% Emunah in Hashem, I would be going crazy...