Cabinet approves support for war ravaged South


Israel’s Cabinet has approved a NIS 2 billion (£333 million; $546 million) package of support for the south of the country, much of which was affected by ‘Operation Protective Edge’ campaign against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The package includes a new hospital, additional roads and upgrades, more tourism projects and help for small and medium sized businesses.

The full text of the press release as published on the Prime Minister’s website is as follows:

“Cabinet Approves PM Netanyahu’s Proposal for an Unprecedented Approximately NIS 2 Billion Development Plan for the South


The Cabinet, at its meeting today (Tuesday, 23 September 2014), approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal for an unprecedented NIS 2 billion long-term socio-economic development plan for the south. The 2015-2020 plan, which has been formulated by a team led by Prime Minister’s Office Director General Harel Locker, will benefit all residents of the Negev. It will deepen the civilian response ahead of the IDF move to the south and the move of additional residents to the area by upgrading socio-economic growth engines in the fields of energy, industry, employment, the economy, health, agriculture, transportation, housing, social welfare, education, environmental protection and tourism. The plan was submitted for Cabinet approval ahead of Rosh Hashanah after the Cabinet, on Sunday, approved a detailed development plan for Sderot and the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip

At the start of today’s Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Today, the Cabinet will discuss a proposal to invest an additional NIS 2 billion in the communities of the south. The plan includes building an additional hospital in Be’er Sheva, paving roads, assisting small and intermediate businesses, and developing tourism enterprises in the south and around the country in the wake of Operation Protective Edge. These decisions are in addition to the decision we made on Sunday to add over NIS 1 billion for Sderot and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

I told the mayors and local council heads that I met with yesterday at the Eshkol Regional Council that the State of Israel was not making these unprecedented investments just for show. We are doing so with a two-fold goal – investing in and deepening our hold on all parts of the country but also as a message to those who seek to uproot us, that they will never succeed in doing so. We are all responsible for this.

I would like to wish all citizens of Israel a good and happy New Year. I would also like to wish ministers a good and happy year. We are working together in order to ensure the future of the State of Israel and the people of Israel. May we all have a good, prosperous, safe and quiet year.”

The reduction of gaps and strengthening the periphery in general, and in the south in particular, are a main objective of Government policy and have found expression in a series of decisions designed to increase the socio-economic growth and development of the south. This plan will lead to further socio-economic growth in the south with emphasis on the socio-economic effects of Operation Protective Edge. The Government will coordinate the advancement of a national effort to move IDF bases to the Negev and is mindful of the decisive influence it will have on the development and growth of the south to benefit all of its residents.

Prime Minister’s Office Director General Locker said, “The plan creates significant growth engines for the Negev and is designed to give responses in all aspects of civilian life in order to turn the south and the Negev into flourishing and prosperous areas. This is an important national goal of the first order and I thank all ministries for joining in the expedited staff work in which this unique plan was prepared.”

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