The Defense Ministry announced on Monday plans to hand over a disused IDF base
in Tel Aviv for residential construction.
director-general, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Bezalel Treiber, said the IDF would evacuate
and market the Horodetski base, on the border between Tel Aviv and Givatayim,
within approximately two years.
Trieber said the IDF would also invest
NIS 8 million over the next two years to evacuate other disused bases and return
them to the Israel Lands Authority.
The announcements, made at a special
meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee, come in the wake of a state
comptroller’s report that strongly criticized the Defense Ministry’s financial
and organizational practices over land evacuations.
In Monday’s meeting,
Trieber said Defense Ministry officials are currently mapping out some 750 other
bases, and expect to complete the project by 2013.
Trieber said the
ministry hoped to reach an agreement with the ILA regarding whether the land
would be returned to them in its current state, or whether the army would first
need to decontaminate it. “We think it’s important that some of the land should
be put out for tender in its current state, and we are in favor of having the
contractor who wins the tender decontaminate it prior to construction,” he
Control Committee chairman MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said the
issue of the IDF returning disused land was “extremely important.”
of the disused IDF bases are in cities where the cost of living is high, Ariel
said. “This situation cannot remain as it has for the past 60 years. It cannot
be the case that the IDF continues to hold so much land when it doesn’t need
it,” he added.
Ron Israel, representing the State Comptroller’s Office,
said the negotiations between the Defense Ministry and the ILA should proceed as
fast as possible.
Meanwhile, Yisrael Scop, a senior official at the ILA,
said the authority had established a team to monitor the disused bases and to
create computerized maps of the land.
The ILA was waiting for the
ministry to provide it with data on the land, Scop said, estimating that it
would take the ILA up to three years to properly input all of the
Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman told the meeting that the
Ministerial Committee on State Control had also debated the issue of returning
disused army bases.
Neeman said he hoped the Defense Ministry and the ILA
would remain on schedule with their plans.
Former Tel Aviv city planner
Israel Gudovich, however, argued that it would take at least ten years for the
IDF to fully evacuate all of the disused bases, and called on the government to
lease out parts of the land in the meantime.