Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee Aryeh Deri, intends to spend NIS 20 million on developing sites of religious significance, among them tombs of Jewish sages.
Deri claims that the investment in these sites, which he says are visited by millions of Israelis and Jews from abroad annually, will create employment and contribute to the economy.
Deri's ministry said in a statement, "Millions of people every year from Israel and overseas visit gravesites of saints and sages in the Galilee. Minister Deri is now promoting a plan that will be approved this morning by the ministerial committee for the Negev and Galilee whereby the state will invest NIS 20 million in building new tourist routes and developing tourism infrastructure and historic and religious sites, and in constructing tourism facilities in local authorities that have in their jurisdictions religious tourism sites of all religions in the Galilee."
Deri himself added, "We are proud of our heritage. There are millions of Israelis and Jews who customarily pray at the tombs of sages at least once a year. The plan will create attractions for tourists and jobs for Galilee residents."
Deri, who resigned recently as Minister of the Economy in order to resolve the tangle that prevented approval of the government's agreement with the gas exploration companies, landed the Negev and Galilee development portfolio with an extra budget of NIS 300 million. Up to now, the ministry's annual budget has been NIS 150-190 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 9, 2015
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