Massive Development Plan for Northern Israel Underway

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 9:49 AM

“KKL-JNF sees investing in the development of the north as a matter of great importance, reducing inequalities between the center and the periphery."

The Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office, and KKL-JNF presented on Monday (August 20) a list of finalized projects to be carried out as part of the development plan for the north, which the Israeli government had announced in 2017. The plan is part of the policy of the finance minister and the prime minister to provide budgeting for socio-economic development in Israel’s northern region.  
The program, which features a list of projects for the development of the north, was launched on Monday in the presence of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Finance Ministry Director-General Shai Babad, Prime Minister’s Bureau Acting Chief of Staff Yoav Horowitz, and KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said at the ceremony: “The program to strengthen the north is one of the most significant acts that we have carried out in order to narrow gaps between the periphery and the center. There were some who doubted our ability to put the program into practice. Today, we are taking a significant step, together with KKL-JNF, by investing hundreds of millions of shekels in strengthening the north and the area’s infrastructure. Those who live in the north should receive health and education infrastructure, as well as high-level employment options, like everywhere else in the country. The security of the State of Israel is directly linked to the social and economic prosperity of the entire northern region.”
The projects to be carried out include budgeting tens of millions of shekels for a variety of fields of development in Israel’s north, as part of the government’s policy to strengthen the region socially and economically.  KKL-JNF has invested NIS 310 million in projects as part of its work to strengthen residential communities and reduce socio-economic disparities between the center and the north.
Among the projects that have been approved are the establishment of dormitories for students at Tel Hai College, Ohalo College, Western Galilee College, Safed Academic College, and ORT Braude College of Engineering, at a sum of approximately NIS 124 million. Approximately 1,036 new beds will be added to the dormitories as part of this budget. In addition to improving the conditions of the students’ dormitories, Kinneret College and Safed Academic College will be renovated at a cost of approximately NIS 26 million.
In the field of science, laboratories of prominent research centers in the north, including the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and the Shamir Research Institute, will be renovated and upgraded at a cost of approximately NIS 30 million.
In the field of health, the hospitals in the north, including the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in Tiberias (formerly known as the Poriya Medical Center), and the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya will be renovated at a total cost of approximately NIS 50 million.

Dr. Salman Zarka, the director of Ziv Medical Center in Safed - which will be on the front line to treat multi-casualty events such as a war on the northern border or an earthquake - said, “We welcome the government’s decision and thank everyone who worked so tirelessly to prepare the program for the north, first among them Eli Malka, director of the Eastern Galilee cluster; Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon; KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar, and the Knesset members who joined in the effort to approve this important plan to reinforce the north in terms of security and social-economic development, and work toward the provision of equal health services between the center and the periphery.”
In the fields of agriculture and community development in the Golan Heights, small temporary homes will be placed on 27 agricultural rural villages in the regional councils to aid in the absorption of 750 new households at a cost of approximately NIS 30 million.
Another significant project is the development of infrastructure and construction for local holy sites, including the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai and the tomb of the Prophet Jethro, at a cost of approximately NIS 20 million. A project for paving roads in order to support residential communities in Metula and the Mevo’ot Hermon Regional Council at a cost of approximately NIS 7.5 million was also approved.
Finance Ministry Director-General Shai Babad said, “The Finance Ministry and the Israeli government see strategic importance in developing the northern region economically and socially. The investment of large-scale budgets in significant projects in the north has been, and remains, a top priority of the Finance Ministry. The north has already become a significant engine of economic growth for the Israeli economy as a whole. The Finance Ministry will continue to work in full partnership with all the relevant officials for the economic and social strength of the northern region.”
KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar said at the ceremony: “KKL-JNF sees investing in the development of the north as a matter of great importance, as part of its new outlook on strengthening residential communities and reducing inequalities between the center and the periphery. This support in the development of the country’s northern region could not exist without the support of KKL-JNF’s partners, the Finance Ministry and its leader, Minister Moshe Kahlon, and our partners in the Prime Minister’s Office. Together in hand, KKL-JNF and the government ministries will bring about significant social change not only in Israel’s north, but also its south, and reduce the current inequalities between the services that the residents of the periphery receive as compared with the services that residents of the center receive. Each of these projects will influence the quality of life of all the residents of the north. The dream is now becoming reality.”
Yoav Horowitz, Acting Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office, said, “When we speak of action that is welcome, as one who has accompanied it from Putin to Trump, I can say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ability to make this place grow is phenomenal. Political and security abilities mean the ability to influence the economy as well.”