Cabinet sets up company to move IDF bases to south

The move will free up land occupied by the army for construction of 60,000 housing units in high-demand areas.

A new government company to be founded will manage the transfer of IDF bases in central Israel to the Negev, the cabinet decided today at its weekly meeting. The move is designed to free up land currently occupied by the army for construction of 60,000 housing units in the heart of high-demand areas. Together with the Ministry of Defense, the new company will handle the moving of the camps to the Negev, a plan with an estimated cost of NIS 18 billion. The budgetary resources for financing the plan are based on proceeds from marketing the land in the existing camps for residential construction, business, and commerce.

Founding the company is also designed to solve the ongoing budget dispute between the Ministries of Defense and Finance over moving the camps to the Negev. In view of the dispute over paying for the transfer, the Ministry of Defense froze the tenders for building the new IDF communications center in Beersheva. The IDF bases slated for transfer from the center to the Negev include Zerifin, on the site of which 12,600 housing units will be built; Sirkin (12,000 housing units); Tel Hashomer (10,000 housing units; Tira 148 (4,400 housing units); and the Adjutant Corps base in the heart of Ramat Gan (1,200 housing units). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that this measure, combined with the vacating of Israel Military Industries land in Ramat Hasharon, would free up enough land for the construction of 100,000 housing units in the central region.

At the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu termed the decision "historic," saying, "We are bringing the IDF training, intelligence, and communications bases to the south. It will cause an enormous revolution in the Negev: international companies are coming to the Negev, an economically strong population is moving to the Negev, and large-scale development is coming to the Negev."

Moving the camps is also designed to remove the current restrictions on high-rise construction in high-demand areas. The value of the land being vacated by the IDF is estimated at NIS 80 billion. Employees will be hired for the new company only after the next government is formed, while the Ministry of Defense will continue its measures for moving its bases from the center to the south until that time.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 4, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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