Cabinet approves relocating IDF bases, clearing land for real estate

The move, which will cost roughly NIS 14 billion, seeks to boost economy in Negev.

January 4, 2015 19:31
1 minute read.
New IDF base being built in Negev

New IDF base being built in Negev. (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

The cabinet on Sunday approved a plan to vacate IDF bases from high-demand real estate sites in the country’s center, which could potentially free up land for some 60,000 residential units.

“This is a very great change; this is also the right way to deal with housing prices: Increasing supply by creating demand and the supply for this demand in the most high-demand areas in the center of the country, and development of the periphery,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the decision.

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An earlier decision to relocate Israel Military Industries will clear space for another 40,000 units, Netanyahu said.

It will take a decade to vacate the bases and build up to 60,000 new units in Tzrifin, Syrkin, Tel Hashomer, and Ramat Gan, but the move could help stabilize home prices in the mediumand long-term, though it will not offer any immediate fixes to the housing supply shortage.

How big a difference the new supply makes to the cost of housing, which has doubled since 2007, will depend on how quickly companies can obtain rights to build on the land and wade through the burdensome bureaucracy that delays so much building in Israel.

According to the plan,22,186 units are to go on the market between 2015-2019, another 30,974 between 2020-2023, and the last 6,500 from 2024 onward. The Bank of Israel estimates that Israel needs roughly 40,000 new units each year to start bringing down the cost of housing.

The move, which will cost some NIS 14 billion, will be funded by the land’s sale for residential, commercial, and industrial development and operated out of a budget separate from the Defense Ministry’s in order to avoid future disputes.

Moving the IDF intelligence and signal corps to the Negev is an attempt to boost the economy there. By planting regular jobs in the Negev, the government hopes to attract workers to live there and promote suppliers and indirect businesses to grow around them.

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