Is Kochavi blocking transfer of IDF bases to Negev?

The army’s move south, called “Project IDF Ascent to the Negev,” began with the transfer of Ir Habahadim – the “City of Training Bases” – to the outskirts of Beersheba.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
August 5, 2019 00:29
1 minute read.
Aviv Kochavi

Aviv Kochavi. (photo credit: IDF)

Is IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi trying to block the relocation of the military’s intelligence bases to the Negev?

According to a report in WallaNews! Kochavi has decided to stop the planned move as long as there is not a train station that goes directly to the base from the center of the country. This is despite the fact that tenders for the establishment of the new bases in the South have already been submitted, and trains do travel directly to nearby cities such as Beersheba and Yeroham.

The report quoted officials saying that Kochavi, who previously served as head of Military Intelligence, has decided to “scuttle” the transfer of the bases from the center of the country to the Negev, and is using the train station issue as an excuse.

Two additional large-scale bases – one for intelligence and the other for communications – are expected to be completed in the Negev in the coming years.

The army’s move south, called “Project IDF Ascent to the Negev,” began with the transfer of Ir Habahadim – the “City of Training Bases” – to the outskirts of Beersheba, some two hours south of Tel Aviv.

Ir Habahadim, which sits on an area of 106 hectares (263 acres), houses over 10,000 soldiers as well as the IDF’s School of Technology and Maintenance, C4I (the army’s Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Information Branch), Logistics Training School, Military Police, Military Medicine, School of Education and Youth, and the School of Human Resources.

The army’s move to the Negev, seen as the military’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project ever, is an economic boon to the area and is expected to infuse $6 billion per year. The move also means an upgrade to the area’s infrastructure, with an expected relocation of hundreds of career soldiers’ families.

The Defense Ministry has admitted that almost half of those serving in the intelligence and communication campuses would have to commute from central Israel, which would require additional transportation infrastructure.

According to the ministry, while a quick and high-quality transportation method is a basic condition for keeping career soldiers in the army, there are no plans for a direct train line from the center of the country to Ir Habahadim and the intelligence campus in the Negev.


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