The cabinet approved on Sunday Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to order the shut-down of the Beersheba gas terminal and the transfer of its facilities to alternative locations over the next two years, the Prime Minister's Office announced in a statement.
The original recommendation to shut down the gas terminal at its current site was made by PMO Director-General Eyal Gabai based on the continued residential and commercial growth and development of Beersheba. The gas terminal - which was established on the outskirts of the city in the 1970's- now sites in close proximity to a crowded commercial center. After consultations by the PMO with Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitz and senior officials from environmental protection and national infrastructure ministries, as well as an on-site tour, authorities deemed the current situation to pose a considerable a risk to public safety.
Netanyahu said that his decision came after considering the broad security and economic concerns tied to the current location of the gas terminal.
"The determination of a format for gradually evacuating the gas terminal and halting its activity will allow the economy to prepare for alternatives to the supply of natural gas in the south while maintaining public safety and enabling Beersheba to continue to develop," the prime minister said in a written statement.