Concerns about investing

The following is a response that I wrote to a family of olim that is considering moving to Ariel. They, as others before them, expressed their concerns about moving beyond “the green line”. So, how DOES one approach the question of how to approach the geo-political issues related to investing in a home in Ariel?
I would suggest approaching the issue at hand in one of two ways: “practically” or “faithfully”.
 
1. Practically – certainly an intelligent approach. The reality of the situation – at least as I see it – is that everywhere in the world there is a degree of uncertainty about what the future may hold. There is a sense (not a statistical fact but a “sense”) that the degree of uncertainty is greater in Israel than in America. Indeed there is a “sense”, influenced and fed primarily by media coverage and framing and somewhat by governmental policy (or lack thereof), that the degree of uncertainty is even greater within certain regions of Israel. One such “region” is none other than the nation’s capital – Jerusalem. Another such region is that of Judea and Samaria.
 
The informed analyst will take things even further, and examine the subdivisions of “degree of uncertainty” within the aforementioned regions. As such, there are what I would consider “indicators” – no guarantees, but indicators as to what may be in the future. The foremost indicator is what’s termed “the security fence”. The fence is seen by most as an initial form of a border between the State of Israel and what may some day become a Palestinian entity – if such an agreement is ever reached. Accordingly, those areas that are on the Israeli side of the fence, also referred to as “on the inside”, are considered safe from the threats of land concessions in any final agreement. There are 3 regions which are beyond the “green line” (as the 1967 borders are often referred to) and yet within the fence: Ma’aleh Adumim, The Etzion Bloc and The Ariel Bloc. Though the fence hasn’t yet been completed, with a question mark remaining regarding certain communities, the fence around Ariel has already been built and the city is “within the fence”. 
 
There are other indicators, one of which is building permits. Building beyond the “green line” currently requires central government permission. Those communities granted permission to expand are considered to have a lesser “degree of uncertainty” concerning their future. Due to the complexity of Israeli politics building permits require a lot of effort, however the City of Ariel continues to build with permits (currently there are several projects throughout the city, 4 of which are new residential developments).
 
Yet another indicator is the infrastructure in the region. Perhaps Israel’s best highway, highway 5 which goes from Tel Aviv to Ariel, has just been completed. Most of the highway has been in use for several years, but the work on the final 3 kilometer stretch was opened on November 10th. Many consider this significant investment to be a strong indicator of Ariel’s promising future.
 
2. Faithfully – personal beliefs are no less a part of a decision making process than rational thought. For example, no logical assessment of the situation will convince those who are diametrically opposed to living beyond the “green line” due to their political views to consider Ariel as their home. If their belief system is antagonistic to the city and everything that it represents then they will most likely feel uncomfortable here. However, those who are committed to the Jewish Homeland, the security of Israel and the right for a Jew to dwell in areas of Israeli sovereignty will naturally lean towards building a home in Ariel.
 
Beyond the natural magnetic pull of Ariel for Jews from around the world, there are those who are drawn for idealistic reasons. More than any other place, the City of Ariel embodies each of the primary objectives of the modern Jewish movements that see the State of Israel as a meaningful aspect of Jewish history:
a. dwelling in the Land
b. advancing a healthy orientation towards Jewish practice and belief amongst the residents of Ariel
c. creating a healthy interpersonal and inter community dynamic amongst Israelis, notwithstanding their different views and lifestyles.  
 
For some, the city’s idealistic pull may overshadow other considerations, because their decision making process is primarily driven by their inner commitment which may either supersede or perhaps even tint their theoretical analysis of the geo-political situation.
 
 
As mentioned, it really depends on how you approach the subject. If you’re looking at the dry facts on the ground it certainly looks like Ariel is here to stay. The “degree of uncertainty” is very low, though it does exist.
 
It is my opinion that olim need to keep both the practical and the faith-oriented considerations in mind. First I suggest asking yourself if you’re comfortable or perhaps interested in moving beyond the “green line”. In the event that you are you’ll then want to consider what “degree of uncertainty” you’re comfortable with. It is my belief and understanding that Ariel really is safe from the concerns that you mentioned,  due to the points mentioned above as well as others. My wife and I purchased our home here as many others continue to do on a daily basis. Indeed, Ariel has even become a hot spot for real-estate investors and the demand continues to grow.
 
So, to sum up – I suggest coming here and seeing for yourself. It’s by far the best way to get a real feel for what life is really like here.
 
Awaiting your visit,
Avi
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