Entrance to IDF base 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eliana Aponte)
The cabinet on Sunday approved a half billion shekel, five-year civilian
development plan for the Negev, which will complement the multi-billion shekel
plan to move much of the country’s military infrastructure from the center of
the country to the south.
The plan presented to the cabinet includes
significant investment in economic infrastructure, housing, and the development
of hi-tech capabilities.
Under the plan, industrial zones will be
subsidized, three new industrial parks will be developed, and subsidies for
hi-tech workers will be used as incentives for companies to move to the
Some 10,000 soldiers are scheduled to move from instruction bases
in Tzrifin to a huge mega-base being built 20 kilometers south of
Building off IDF technological units that are also scheduled
to move south, the cabinet was told that the hope is to turn Beersheba into a
Under the plan, Beersheba, Dimona, Yeroham, Arad, Ofakim and
the Merhavim Regional Council will be declared national priority communities
where the local authorities will be eligible for upgraded assistance and
support, especially in managing long-term planning.
The Negev and Galilee
Development Ministry will be responsible for the overall government work in
implementing the plan. Young couples, the cabinet was told, will be encouraged
to move to the Negev because of attractive housing and increased culture and
Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan
Shalom said his ministry, together with the local authorities, “will manage a
campaign to change the image of the Negev. In recent years, the Negev has
undergone a revolution, is drawing strong populations and is developing in all
aspects of life. This additional investment will provide an additional urgency
to the Negev and will upgrade the entire region as well as its residents.”