Cabinet approves new Gaza border region town for first time in years

The town is currently referred to by the temporary name "Hanun" and will be located east of the Kibbutz Sa'ad.

Tamir Idan, head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to approve a new settlement in the Gaza envelope region. (photo credit: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE)
Tamir Idan, head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to approve a new settlement in the Gaza envelope region.
(photo credit: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE)
The cabinet on Sunday approved the establishment of a new town in the Gaza periphery region. It will be located in the Sdot Negev Regional Council in the northwestern Negev, which includes Netivot.

“This is great news for Israel; this is great news for the communities in the Gaza border communities,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in opening comments at the cabinet meeting on Sunday, shortly before the establishment of the town was approved.

“We continue to develop the southern towns, including the moshavim and kibbutzim,” he said. “We are developing new neighborhoods in Sderot and Netivot. I must tell you that there is a waiting list for every home. This is the best proof of our national resilience.”

The town is currently referred to in official documents by the temporary name Hanun. It will be located east of Kibbutz Sa’ad and south of Sderot.

Sdot Negev Regional Council head Tamir Idan praised the decision.

“Dear Sdot Negev residents, I’m very excited,” he said in a video on his Facebook page. He thanked Netanyahu and the ministers who worked to promote the establishment of the new town, calling it a “battle of five or six years.”

“This is our real victory as residents over the terror from Gaza,” Idan said. “A holiday for the State of Israel!”

Netanyahu, who met with Idan to announce the decision, said: “I remember six years ago when I was with you, Tamir, and you told me, ‘Let’s build a new settlement.’ It captured my imagination and my heart, and we decided to do it, and here we are implementing it.”

“It is both an internal message and an external message,” Netanyahu said. “We are there in front of enemies who want to uproot us, and they discover not only that we are not uprooted, we are planting, building and creating. This is a very big thing. This is the essence of Zionism.”

Idan said: “I am very excited. This is a holiday for the State of Israel in general and the Gaza border communities in particular. I remember this meeting, a meeting where we thought about how to make people not leave; how to bring new ones. And when I asked you, you asked me, ‘Do you think they will come?’ I said, ‘Let’s go for it,’ and you told me, ‘Let’s go.’ Six years later, we’re standing here today.”

“Residents of the Gaza border communities, today, after a really brave and special government decision, after Operation Protective Edge, the Gaza border communities’ population has grown by 30%,” he said. “All the settlements are full, bustling with life. They asked me, ‘What is the secret?’ I told them, ‘Community, education, power, Zionism and also help.’ These things together bring all the people of Israel to us.”

“I have a waiting list,” Idan said. “[People] called this morning and asked where to sign up. I told them, ‘I have over 1,000 and I do not know how to even start.’ This is a huge event.”

Israeli Regional Council Center chairman Shay Hajaj praised the decision to establish the new town.

“The establishment of a new settlement these days, and especially in the Gaza border communities, is of immense national importance,” he tweeted. “It contains a statement of Israel’s determination to continue to build and develop settlement in all parts of the country.”

“This decision also contains a statement of the government’s intention to continue developing the periphery,” Hajaj said. “In deciding on the establishment of a new settlement, one should consider not only economic data but also the national and social value of the act.”

Hajaj pledged to assist in the implementation of the decision.

“I am glad that all government ministers have united to support a decision that has great settlement and national value,” Higher and Secondary Education Minister and Water Resources Minister Ze’ev Elkin tweeted. “Thank you to the prime minister and the Housing Ministry for accepting my proposal for an amendment that will allocate a clear period of three months to complete all procedures on the government side.”

Education Minister Yoav Gallant wrote on Facebook: “A new settlement in the Gaza Strip [border communities]. In 2017, as housing minister, I presented to Prime Minister Netanyahu the need and plan for the establishment of a new community settlement in the Gaza Strip. After about three years of hard work, its formation in the government was approved. The development and building of the country is a duty and a right and a central element in the education for the love of the homeland.”