Gov’t allocates NIS 19b. to transfer army bases to Negev

Move will enable the construction of tens of thousands of housing units on evacuated land, bring 25,000 additional soldiers to region.

April 18, 2011 02:58
1 minute read.
An IDF exercise in the South

An IDF exercise in the South tanks helicopters 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

In a major effort to boost development of the Negev, the government on Sunday okayed the allocation of NIS 19 billion to transfer IDF bases there from the center of the country.

The move is to be completed by 2019 and will include the transfer of Intelligence Corps units to the Lakit-Omer installation, and communications bases to the science park in Beersheba.

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Close to half of the move will be paid for by the Finance Ministry, and another NIS 4b. will come from the Defense Ministry.

The rest will be covered by the sale of land currently used by the units.

According to a government statement issued after Sunday’s cabinet meeting, the move will enable the construction of tens of thousands of housing units on evacuated land, and will also facilitate the creation of jobs and the transfer of “quality” people to the Negev “where they will contribute to the social development of the area.”

According to the statement, the moves were delayed due to budgetary disagreements.

“The government approved the project of moving IDF units in 2005, but the heart of the move – Intelligence Corps and communication units – was delayed due to a disagreement between the relevant ministries over the size and sources of the necessary budgets,” the statement said. It added that Sunday’s decision will make the move south possible.

“This historic step will greatly contribute to the IDF and the security establishment, as well as to the Negev and its residents,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the meeting.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the cabinet the move signified the country’s commitment to the development of the Negev, and that it now viewed the area not as a burden, but as a strategic asset.

According to Barak, some 25,000 soldiers will be affected by the move, doubling the number of IDF personnel already in the South and increasing the number of career officers there by a third.

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