Defense Ministry may give up army bases for housing

Sde Dov, Mahane 80, Sirkin among bases considered.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
August 17, 2011 12:35
2 minute read.
Sde Dov airport

airport at sde dov_311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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The Defense Ministry is willing to offer the military bases at Sde Dov, Mahane 80, and Sirkin for housing development, but the idea has been rejected by the “Israel Lands Authority, and the relevant authorities,” Defense Ministry Secretary- General Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Udi Shani told Israel Radio Wednesday.

Shanni added that the authorities turned down the offer, citing concerns that the land was polluted and a lack of development plans for the sites.

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The offer would be part of the wider defense-budget cuts to be made in order to appease social protesters over the soaring cost of living in the country, he said.

The government has mulled closing the doors to Sde Dov Airport for a number of years.

Situated on the north Tel Aviv coast, the Sde Dov compound covers roughly 1,300 dunams (130 hectares), 800 of which are designated for military use.

In 2010, The Jerusalem Post reported that the evacuation of the compound would make room for approximately 12,000 housing units in the popular upscale residential northern Tel Aviv area.

On Tuesday night, the Defense Ministry sent out a scathing statement on the Finance Ministry, as the latter reportedly suggested cutting the defense budget in order to satisfy the social movement that has staged demonstrations throughout the country for the past month.



“The conduct of Treasury officials in the past few weeks shows they do not understand [the] economy, nor society, nor security,” the statement from the Defense Ministry read.

“Attempts to discredit the security apparatus and its service to Israel are irresponsible, and we have no doubt that the public is aware of the baseless populist and demagogic rhetoric being used in this context. The country’s defense infrastructure will continue to work efficiently and effectively, taking the appropriate measures to provide security to Israel’s citizens.”

Home Front Minister Matan Vilnai added to the onslaught against the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, accusing the Finance Ministry of causing harm to the Israeli public.

In an interview on Israel Radio, Vilnai said that whoever now seeks to cut the military budget is causing severe harm to the middle class.

The home front minister added that while defense-budget cuts may ultimately be required to ease the rising cost of living, Israel must not jeopardize funding the military establishment in the face of all of the country’s external threats.

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