Kerem shalom closed 298.
(photo credit: AP)
The cabinet on Sunday approved the construction of a NIS 1.35 billion barrier along the border with Egypt, designed to prevent terrorism, drug smuggling, illegal infiltrations and human trafficking.
“There is broad agreement that we need to protect the State of Israel and its future as a Jewish and democratic state,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during the cabinet discussion on the matter about the need to keep out infiltrators.
“We cannot allow the current situation to continue. The quantity of infiltrators will only increase, given the economic attractiveness of Israel. This has security and demographic consequences vis-à-vis illegal entry into the labor market, drug trafficking and human trafficking, etc. Building a fence is a great and important national necessity,” he said.
The barrier along the 240-kilometer border from Kerem Shalom, near the Gaza Strip, to Eilat, on the Red Sea, will at some points be a physical barrier, and at others consist of electronic warning systems.
Financing will be allocated equally from the Defense Ministry budget and a supplementary budget to be provided by the Finance Ministry from the years 2010-2013.
In other cabinet news, the government approved the reform in the Construction and Housing Law that Netanyahu said would be “a prime opportunity to bring about growth. There is demand on the part of the public on one side, and bureaucratic entanglement by the state on the other. Our triangle of growth is the reforms in transportation, the Israel Lands Authority and the housing and construction reform.”
Netanyahu said the government invested a lot of energy in the reforms and doesn’t want to be “stuck in the current situation but to move forward.”
Environment Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) was the only
minister who opposed the reform. He said it put the interest of
development vastly ahead of the need to preserve open spaces. Erdan
protested that various planning committees were manned by
representatives with an interest in development and construction, but
no representatives of environmental groups.
The cabinet also approved a national plan to create a “center for
excellence” that will bring outstanding researchers from abroad.
According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, “the
government views bringing from overseas outstanding Israeli and Jewish
scientists and technicians as an important policy tool in raising the
level of excellence at institutions of higher learning, and in
strengthening the supply of skilled workers in the economy.”