PM, Kahlon lay out vision for revitalizing North

Netanyahu promises to "cancel the concept of the periphery" with housing plans, military bases, and airport.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU and finance minister Moshe Kahlon. (photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU and finance minister Moshe Kahlon.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Tuesday laid out a vision for revitalizing the country’s North, proposing a series of steps to drive economic growth in the region.
“Why do we need to concentrate the entire state of Israel in the narrow passage between Hadera and Gedera and a small bump of Jerusalem? The North and South must be a real part of the state of Israel. The power needs to move there, the momentum, the energy, everything. This vision is real,” Netanyahu said in Afula.
Kahlon said he, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had agreed that some of Israel’s military bases should be relocated to the North, mimicking plans to move Israel’s military headquarters from Tel Aviv to Beersheba.
“Following massive investment in the South, now the North’s time has come,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu mentioned plans to build an airport in the North and enhance public transportation, through trains in particular, which he said would run from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, passing through Afula on the way.
“The master plan that we are composing, along with the transportation minister, is very comprehensive. It will connect all of Israel, canceling the concept of the periphery,” the prime minister said.
Turning to housing prices, Kahlon said Afula will be the first city to benefit from his signature “Price for Homeowner” program, which offers subsidized mortgages.
The apartments slated to be built through the program, the finance minister said, would be completed within two years, significantly less than the 13 years the Bank of Israel estimates are needed for apartments to come to market, on the average.
Moving on to Harish, a small town east of Caesarea pressed up against the green line, Kahlon said the government would invest resources to bring in tens of thousands of new residents. In addition, a new development city would be built on land that once housed Israel Military Industries.
“In the 90s, Modi’in was established, in the current decade Harish, and in next decade, Sharon City will be established on IMI’s land,” he said.
Netanyahu said the combination of transport, lower housing prices and job growth would fuel economic development in the North.
“With this program, we are bringing down housing prices and stimulating growth in many related aspects of development,” he said.