A planning agreement was signed today between the Defense Ministry, Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister's Office, and the Israel Land Authority, under which the Defense Ministry will be responsible for planning the evacuation of five IDF bases in central Israel.

The bases will be moved to the Negev, Galilee, and Lod. More than 25,000 apartments and hundreds of thousands of square meters of office space will be built on the vacated land. As "Globes" reported on February 5, the five IDF bases to be vacated are the Adjunct General HQ in Ramat Gan, the Tel Hashomer base near Ramat Gan, the Sirkin base outside Petah Tikva, the Zerifin base outside Rishon LeZion, and the Horodsky base in Givatayim.

The agreement was signed after five months of negotiations. Under the agreement, the Defense Ministry will obtain planning permission in advance of the sale of the vacated land. Last week, the Defense Ministry's head of logistics operations and properties Brig.-Gen. (res.) Betzalel Trayber told the Knesset State Control Committee that it would be possible to begin selling some IDF bases within two years.

The civilian planning and the evacuation of the bases will be carried out in stages, as follows: the Adjunct General HQ in Ramat Gan, the Horodsky base in Givatayim, and Tel Hashomer will be vacated in 3-5 years; Zerifin in 5-6 years; and Sirkin in seven years.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the decision a "historic departure of the IDF from central Israel" and said it would "bring rapid growth to the Negev, contribute to the economy, create thousands of jobs, and ease the housing crisis in central Israel."

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