A roof agreement for construction of 14,436 new housing units in Ofakim has been signed. The Negev city currently has 28,000 residents, meaning that the new homes will hugely increase the population. Construction will take place in four new neighborhoods: Ramat Shaked - 1,818 housing units, Hapark - 1,405 housing units, Hurshat Noah - 1,001 housing units, and Ofakim Hahadasha - 10,096 housing units. 116 housing units will be built in Rambam, an existing neighborhood.
As part of the agreement, it was decided to provide new employment options through the development of the southern Ofakim industrial zone. A great deal of money will be allotted to infrastructure construction and support for urban renewal projects. The government also decided to pave a road from Ofakim to Beer Sheva (Teyman) Airport.
The agreement also includes the construction of two new kindergartens, a nature and environmental elementary school, and a new youth unit. A governmental compound will be built to house branches of various government ministries, as well as a new arts center, a sports center with a new stadium, a sports hall, advanced track and field facilities, and a new country club with indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, fitness rooms, a miniature golf course, and a miniature soccer field.
Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon said, "There will be a clear preference for local residents in this roof agreement. Just as cooperative and collective communities previously gave their own residents preference, the same privilege will be reserved for residents of Ofakim, Netivot, Sderot, and Eilat. As part of the agreement, we will create good jobs with fair pay, not minimum wage, which will enable young people to remain and earn a dignified living. There will be a big step forward at Ofakim, with a strong emphasis on young couples.
"Housing is not our sole concern in this agreement. There is no housing without afternoon daycare, schools, and suitable infrastructure. For years, they only talked about young couples; today, we are actually providing them with housing at a fair price, daycare centers, housing credits, and a lower cost of living, and we intend to continue this trend with additional measures."
Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant said, "Israel's strength rests on its military might, its economic capability, and social cohesion. Today, we are signing a very important agreement that will change the face of Ofakim and the entire Negev. Bolstering the communities of southern Israel, in particular Ofakim, means enhancing Israel's social cohesion.
"Our security as a society will be reflected in our ability to promote the development of the outlying areas, help the communities there, and set in motion processes of proper civilian growth. By encouraging residential communities and agriculture, we will make it possible to enforce Israeli sovereignty in all parts of the country. I thank the minister of finance for his actions to solve the housing crisis; the good results are evident all over Israel."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on May 29, 2017
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