(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Knesset committee for the development of the Periphery, Negev and Galilee, headed by Arye Deri (Shas) approved a plan on Monday to allot some NIS 300 million to several projects aimed at the advancement of the periphery.
The committee, which also includes MKs Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, Uri Ariel, Yoav Galant, Ze’ev Elkin, David Azoulay and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, approved the plan presented by Deri, the Development of the Negev and Galilee Minister.
As part of the plan, some NIS 180 million will go toward continuing the effort to establish Beersheba as the metropolis of the Negev by investing in new public buildings and infrastructure – this in part to absorb the influx of people expected to arrive alongside the move of several IDF bases to the Negev. Additional funds will go toward building a cyber park and an additional 20,000 housing units in the city.
The plan also calls to fund the second phase of a student village in Sderot and to expand the civil resilience network within the city.
The committee also agreed to provide assistance with rent and home purchases and to expand housing areas within the regional councils.
Another NIS 72 million will be allotted by the Development of the Negev and Galilee Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Economy Ministry toward the rehabilitation of the markets and shopping centers in towns that are considered national priorities.
An additional NIS 22 million will be allotted in coordination with the Religious Services Ministry and the Tourism Ministry toward the development of tourism around holy sites in the Galilee.
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“The diverse and extensive plan approved today concerns important areas, such as settlement and housing, tourism and higher education.
The decisions apply first and foremost to the residents of the Negev, the Galilee and the periphery and I am proud of this,” said Deri.
“The combinations of the new, like the high tech park in Beersheba, and the old, like the development of sacred sites in the Galilee, is important and constitutes another enormous component in the immense diversity that exists in these areas,” he said.
Last week, Deri resigned from the Economy Ministry in a move intended to let Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu take over the portfolio and use his new authority as Economy Minister to authorize the government’s gas deal.
In exchange, Deri retained his Negev and Galilee portfolio which was expanded to include authority of the social periphery as well.
As such his ministry’s budget is expected to triple from NIS 150 million to NIS 450 million – though only in 2016.
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