The cabinet approved the establishment of a new town near the border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, laying the ground for about 500 new households in the area.
The planning of the town began under the last government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the cabinet completing the approval process by approving a budget for the town on Sunday morning.
The new town, currently named "Hanun," will be located in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip. In an announcement of a cabinet approval of the town in November 2020, it was stated that the town will be located east of Kibbutz Sa’ad and south of Sderot.
The new town is expected to bring about 500 new families to the regional council. The Construction and Housing Ministry will advance the planning of Hanun as a community settlement, which will require those wishing to buy a house there to receive the approval of the town's cooperative.
Hanun will provide a solution to those wishing to live in the Gaza border region who do not wish to join a moshav or kibbutz, where they would need to take part in an agricultural community.
"The establishment of the settlement is further evidence of the resilience of the Gaza Strip and the strength of the State of Israel against all the threats, in the face of one trickle or another that we react to with strength."Benjamin Netanyahu
"Evidence of the resilience of the Israelis living in the Gaza border area"
"The establishment of the town is further evidence of the resilience of the Israelis living in the Gaza border area and the strength of the State of Israel against all the threats, in the face of one trickle or another that we react to with strength," said Netanyahu at the beginning of the cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Netanyahu added after the meeting that "On the eve of the Tu Bishevat, the government decided on the establishment of a new settlement. In a practical way - the beginning of the planning of the 'Hanun' town. We all feel that we are in a historic moment, because we are continuing the momentum of a town in the Gaza border area as an adequate response to terrorism and as an expression of fundamental Zionism and the settlement of Israel."
The head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Idan, welcomed the final approval of the new town, stating "How symbolic this is because precisely on the eve of Tu Bishvat, which expresses growth and renewal, and in close proximity to the terrorist attacks that have occurred in the last few days, we are practically establishing a new settlement in Israel as a real civil response to the terrorist attacks.
"The message must be clear and unequivocal: let our enemies know that for every threat and act of terrorism and every missile fired at the State of Israel, there will be a crushing response by the security forces and more houses, buildings and settlements will be erected in the Land of Israel.
"This moment is the victory of light over darkness, the victory of Zionism over terrorist organizations," added Idan. "This is the moment we wished for and prayed for, this is one of the most exciting days in my personal and public life."
After the cabinet approval, Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen said that he had requested that the approval of the new town be advanced in response to the recent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Regional Council Center chairman and Merhavim Regional Council head Shai Hagag welcomed the decision as well, stressing that the establishment of the new town has "enormous national and societal importance."
"This [decision] contains a statement of the Israeli government's determination to add, build and develop towns in all parts of the country," said Hagag. "I congratulate the residents of Sdot Negev and my friend, head of the council Tamir Aidan, who, thanks to their great determination, won the approval of the government today."
"The light of the establishment of the town rejects all the darkness that these days people are trying to bring upon the people of Israel."Yitzhak Goldknopf
Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf celebrated the approval of the town, saying "This is a happy day for me and for all the citizens of Israel, the establishment of a new town is of enormous national importance, especially these days, and especially in the Gaza border area."
"When I entered the ministry, I made it my goal to continue to build, develop and strengthen the settlement of Israel. This town gives a special boost to the prime minister. The light of the establishment of the town rejects all the darkness that these days people are trying to bring upon the people of Israel."