Cabinet okays NIS 291.9m. to bolster J’lem economy

The plan’s goal is to strengthen the capital economically through two primary channels: tourism and hi-tech.

May 27, 2011 05:07
1 minute read.

Jerusalem 520. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Two days after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Congress that while open to “creative” solutions, Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel, his office announced on Thursday that the cabinet is poised to approve next week the Merom Plan, a NIS 291.9 million five-year program to economically strengthen the city.

The cabinet will hold a special meeting at the Tower of David Museum in the Old City on Sunday to mark Jerusalem Day that falls later in the week, and will approve the plan, according to a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office.

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The plan’s goal is to strengthen the capital economically through two primary channels: tourism and hi-tech.

The first part of the plan is a NIS 145.5m. investment to strengthen the tourist infrastructure in the city. This will be augmented by a NIS 75 million allocation from the Tourism Ministry to encourage the construction of more hotel rooms.

Another NIS 71.4 million is earmarked to strengthen the city as a center of research and development, with money going to grants for startups, upgrading R&D laboratories, and grants for bio-tech initiatives.

Another NIS 70.5 million will be allocated for public buildings, student housing, academic projects, and additional measures “to attract productive residents.”

In addition, the cabinet is expected to add Jerusalem to the list of cites where scholarships to discharged soldiers or veterans of national service are given for the first year of study in institutions of higher education.

Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed the initiative, which he said would provide the incentive to “strengthen the city’s economy and allow young people to stay in the city.”

Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.

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