Herzl Street in Dimona
Herzl Street in Dimona Photo by Alex Levac
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Development towns to strike over ending relocation grants

Development towns throughout Israel intend to shut down their services all day Monday to protest a government decision to cancel the NIS 100,000 grants offered to people relocating to the the towns from elsewhere in the country. The strike was called by the Development Towns Forum of the Union of Local Authorities, which said the grants have served as a critical incentive for bringing in economically established families to strengthen and develop the towns. Forum leaders expressed concern that ending the grant would further weaken development towns, which suffer fiscal deficits, joblessless and negative migration. ‏(Haim Bior‏)

Tel Aviv Port plans NIS 70m expansion

Otsar Mifalei Yam, the government company administering the Tel Aviv Port entertainment and shopping district, plans a NIS 70 million expansion over the next decade. The plans call for doubling the 21,000 square meters of commercial space, new attractions like a ferris wheel, flower market and 45-room hotel for which a tender will be published in the next three months. Also planned is a marina for 120 boats of up to 40 feet. The port was Israel’s second most popular tourist attraction in 2012 after the Western Wall, with 4.3 million visitors. ‏(Raz Smolsky‏)

Swedish-led group to build super-fast web network

A group led by Sweden’s Viaeuropa was chosen yestereday to build a super-fast Internet network piggybacked on Israel Electric Corporation infratructure that will compete with phone and cable companies. A quasi-governmental selection committee said deployment could begin in six months. “Every citizen of Israel will enjoy very fast Internet speeds, which could be a major growth engine for Israel’s economy,” said Roni Friedman of the Government Companies Authority. The network will offer speeds of one gigabit per second, 100 times what is now available. ‏(Reuters‏)