The mayor of Ma'ale Adumim, Benny Kasriel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met more than two decades ago. It was a few years after the young Netanyahu returned from his time in Washington and vied in the elections to head the Likud Party in 1993. Kasriel, then a new mayor, was one of the first party members to declare their support for the young candidate. Netanyahu, for his part, visited the city frequently over the years, which began as an outpost and turned into a symbol of settlement in the Jerusalem area and a pilgrimage site for politicians on the eve of elections.
Before the last elections, the prime minister promised Kasriel that he’d continue to build in Ma'ale Adumim, which today numbers 38,000 residents, but he still hasn’t fulfilled his promise. Instead, the mayor has been anxiously following the negotiations Israel is conducting with the Palestinians. In the last few weeks, worry has been replaced by real concern that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Hatnua Party head Tzipi Livni will manipulate Netanyahu to compromise with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).