The National Planning and Building Council recommended to the government Tuesday that it approve the creation of a new haredi city "Kasif" at the Tel Arad junction in the Negev. After debating whether there was a need for a new city or whether existing neighborhoods in Beersheba should be utilized first, the council decided to recommend the creation of the city.
The 4740 dunam (474 hectares) city would provide housing for 50,000 people in 10,000 apartments. There is an estimated 100,000 apartment demand in the haredi sector.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) lamented the decision's impact on the country's open spaces. They argued that new cities and relevant infrastructure like roads gobbled up already scarce open spaces and disrupted the continuity of the ecosystems within the open spaces. SPNI decried the unnecessary city so long as there were whole neighborhoods of Beersheba that remain empty, it said in a statement.
The national council's recommendation does not mean that if the government green lights the project, it will be exempt from all of the regular planning processes.