Move to Jerusalem, or Else!

Government threatens financial sanctions against ministries that fail to move their offices to the capital

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Jerusalem
An aerial view of the David's Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem.
An aerial view of the David's Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem. Photo: Gidi Avinary/FLASH90

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It’s a fact that much of the rest of the world is belatedly accepting. If only Israel could get its own government ministries to do the same.

Israel Today has in the past spoken to Israelis who complained that it was no use trying to convince the rest of the world that Jerusalem was the capital of the State of Israel when its own Ministry of Defense and other major government bodies remained in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s new “government of change” is looking to, well, change that.

Cabinet ministers on Sunday voted in favor of a plan requiring all ministries and government offices within the next 120 days to either obtain a special exemption or submit a detailed plan to move to Jerusalem.

Ministries and government offices that fail to meet the deadline will have their budgets for furniture and renovations revoked, and will start paying rent on the Jerusalem properties earmarked for their use, even if those properties remain unused.

Currently some 100 government units operate outside the capital, including the Israel Prison Service, the Health Ministry’s food division, the police fraud and traffic units, and the tech divisions of the ministries of transportation and education.

“The government decision passed today is another part of correcting Jerusalem’s status as the capital and governing city of Israel, and it is extremely important,” Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion told Ha’aretz.

Some are worried that the influx of government offices will exacerbate Jerusalem’s traffic problems and make the capital even more overcrowded. But others insist that strengthening the Holy City’s status as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel trumps all other concerns.

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