PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu is shown on a visit to Harish, a new Israeli city under construction.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Aiming to see to the relocation of tens of thousands of young families, the cabinet approved on Sunday a NIS 1 billion development plan for the new northern city of Harish.
While today’s Harish contains only about 300 households, the first stage of the plan will enable the construction of about 12,000 housing units, a number that will later be expanded to 24,000, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
About 9,000 apartments have been marketed since the city’s construction began following an initial government decision five years ago, the PMO said.
“A new city has not been established in many years,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “This will be a new city along the lines of Modi’in; it will be the beginnings of a city of 50,000 people. I believe that it will grow far beyond this in the future.”
Harish, originally a kibbutz in the 1980s, was approved in 2010 as a largely ultra-Orthodox community, sparking outrage from other groups. Ultimately, the city – located at the edges of a so-called triangle of Arab-Israeli towns – is expected to now include a mixture of secular Jewish, ultra-Orthodox and Arab residents.
“We are in the midst of a great momentum of construction,” Netanyahu said. “Our goal is to advance development and demand and not the opposite. Tens of thousands of apartments are being built around the country, and Israel is in the midst of a great momentum of construction.
We will continue to build. We will continue to do on behalf of the citizens of Israel.”
The Construction and Housing Ministry will allocate about NIS 130 million in additional funds to promote construction plans for trade, industry and employment, and reinforce public institutions, infrastructure maintenance and a center for the elderly.
Also as part of the larger Harish project, the cabinet green-lighted a NIS 9 million shekel plan to construct sustainable schools in the new city. The buildings are a joint project of the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Construction and Housing Ministry – the first in a series of such endeavors that the two ministries are planning to undertake at public institutions around the county.
The budget will enable these ministries to construct hundreds of classrooms adhering to green building standards, with greater energy efficiency, the Environment Ministry said. Through sustainable construction, the buildings will be able to decrease air pollution and reduce power consumption by 20 percent – equivalent to tens of thousands of shekels in savings each month.
Spending the day in green buildings will also provide a healthier environment for students and teachers, who will benefit from better ventilating and fresher air, which can reduce asthma rates, the statement said.
“We are on the path to a ‘green Harish’ throughout the country, and are working toward a revolution: a healthy, economical, and efficient real estate market,” said Environmental Protection Ministry director-general Yisrael Dancziger.
“We are planning tens of thousands more apartments and hundreds of public buildings across Israel that will be built in such a manner,” he said.Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.