2,500 families make move to Galilee or Negev in 2010

Or Movement and the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry say there is growing interest in those in Center to move to periphery.

There is growing interest among those in the Center and in Jerusalem in relocating to the Negev or the Galilee. About 2,500 families moved either north or south in 2010, according to data received from the Or Movement and the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry.
What’s more, the Or Movement Information Center received twice as many inquiries in 2010 as in 2009 – 5,765 in last year, compared to 2,886 a year earlier. There were also 3,700 visitors to the movement’s website (http://eng.or1.org.il) that expressed interest in relocating.
Two real estate fairs organized by the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry drew 15,000 people.
“The data shows a changing trend as a result of a series of projects such as the new medical school in Safed that will open its doors this coming year, as well as the IDF’s move [relocating bases] south,” Deputy Prime Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) said in a statement.
“The change is already felt on the ground – 1,000 ‘smart classrooms,’ land subsidies, upgraded industrial areas, sports facilities, festivals and cultural activities, all of these have raised the interest in the Negev to new heights and transformed it into an attractive region. We will continue to improve all aspects of the standard of living: infrastructure, education, health, culture, to promote and develop these regions that will attract new populations and retain the current ones,” Shalom said.
“We will continue to make the vision of bringing 300,000 to the Negev or the Galilee in the next decade a reality,” he said.
Around 2,200 families moved to the Galilee in 2010, according to the ministry. Four hundred and fifty families moved to the Negev or the Galilee with the help of the Or Movement, it said. It was not clear how much overlap there was between the ministry’s numbers and the movement’s. The Or Movement helps in resettlement.
The area with the highest demand for housing in the Negev in 2010 was the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, the new community of Carmit that is currently being established opposite Meitar northeast of Beersheba, the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council and the Eshkol Regional Council.
In the Galilee, the Lower Galilee Regional Council was the most in demand for relocation during 2010, followed by the Misgav and Valley of Springs Regional Councils, according to the Or Movement.
The ministry said there were 90 communities in the Galilee that were accepting new members.
Each community had 50 available plots of land, and another seven communities were welcoming returning children of members.
On Tuesday, the ministry and the Negev Development Authority are hosting the Negev Conference in Eilat. The conference is designed to showcase the region’s successes and solicit support from government ministers.
Speakers will include: the prime minister, the president, senior ministers, businessmen and activists. They will discuss the issues of real estate, infrastructure, development, the IDF’s move to the Negev, among others.
On April 3, the ministry will host a fair in Rishon Lezion where 45 communities will participate in marketing 1,700 housing units. The previous two fairs drew 15,000 people to inquire about relocating.
In the Negev, waiting lists have begun to emerge for choice locations, the ministry said. In Dimona, for instance, 600 people vied for 60 plots of land recently.