Following disputes with in the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate about the expected moving of intelligence units to the new intelligence campus in the Negev, the Ministry of Defense today published a tender for construction of the new campus at an estimated cost of NIS 12 billion.
<p>The decision to publish the tender was taken even though problems pertaining to transportation solutions for thousands of soldiers and officers serving in the new campus have not yet been settled and no envelope for retaining permanent army personnel who will be moving to serve in the south has been devised yet.
<p>The decision to go ahead with the tender despite the absence of solutions for these problems was recently made by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman. Many people in the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate have warned that in the absence of suitable residential and transportation solutions, permanent army personnel will resign from the army to avoid moving to the south. These views have also been expressed in internal surveys conducted within the Directorate in the framework of the plan for moving to the south.
<p>The Ministry of Defense said today that in view of the challenge of transferring thousands of permanent army personnel and soldiers to the intelligence campus, a joint effort of all the government ministries in devising a transportation solution involving a direct train to the base, a supporting envelope for permanent army personnel, and housing solutions in the area was needed.
<p>The Ministry of Defense added that despite the gaps in the matter, the defense establishment had decided that these questions would be settled concurrently with progress in the project in order to avoid disrupting the timetables for construction of campus.
<p>Ministry of Defense Southern Relocation Administration head Brig. Gen. (res.) Itzik Cohen said that a solution to these problems would be a condition for moving to the new campus, which is scheduled for 2025.
<p>Cohen said today that as part of the solutions for expanding the supply of housing solutions for officers and permanent housing personnel who will serve in IDF units in southern Israel, a NIS 1.8 billion budget framework had been agreed with the Ministry of Finance. "The gaps are known to everyone, and we will soon discuss the detains in order to close them," he stated.
<p>Five groups and companies that have already passed a pre-selection are competing to construct the intelligence campus: Electra-Minrav, Shikun u'Binui, Africa-Israel, Shapir Engineering, and Ashtrom. The winner will be selected in two years. The tender will be based on funding, planning, construction, and operation of the new campus for a 26-year franchise period.
<p>The campus will be built on a 2,500-dunam (625-acre) site with 350,000 square meters of built-up space. The Ministry of Defense said today that the tender was the largest and most complex in the moving of IDF units to the Negev.
<p>The new campus will be a smart base featuring planning innovation and advanced infrastructure, with an emphasis on energy efficiency. The moving of intelligence units from central Israel to the new campus will make it possible to vacate hundreds of dunam of land that can be used to build thousands of housing units in high-demand areas.
<p>800 workers will be directly employed on the campus. Liberman says, "We decided to publish the tender at this time out of national responsibility, even though a transportation solution with a direct train and an envelope for retaining permanent army personnel moving to the south have not yet been agreed."
<p>Liberman added, "Moving most of the people serving in the Military Intelligence Directorate from the center to the south followed by dozens of high-tech and cyber companies will change the Negev. I hope that by the time the tender is completed a solution will be found that will ensure the success of the move."
<p>Before the IDF chief of staff and the minister of defense decided to continue the proceedings before publication of the tender for selecting the franchise holder to build the new campus, the possibility of building it in northern Beer Sheva was considered in an attempt to solve the transportation and access problems of soldiers and officers expected to serve there.
<p>The examination was led by the IDF with the Beer Sheva municipality and various planning agencies. In a letter recently sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the chief of staff and minister of defense wrote that the Shokat Junction alternative was preferable, as shown by the results of the examination.
<p>They told Netanyahu in their letter that they had decided that it would be right to continue promoting the plan despite the difficulties and the absence of solutions in order to avoid delays in the original timetable for opening the campus.
<p>Following the progress in the plan for building the intelligence campus, the Ministry of Defense in recent weeks is scheduled to select a franchise holder to build the new computer campus in Beer Sheva. In recent years, a training base at the Negev Junction was completed, and most IDF training bases have been moved there from Tzrifin.
<p><i>Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - <a href=http://www.globes-online.com>www.globes-online.com</a> - on May 9, 2018</i>
<p><i>© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018</i>