After Gaza War, Israel Approves Extensive Plan for Development of South

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Netanyahu introduces the plan for the south at Sunday's government meeting.Credit: Emil Salman

A large-scale plan for the economic, agricultural and communal development of the southern areas of the country adjacent to the Gaza Strip was approved by the government on Sunday.

Proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the NIS 1.3 billion ($370 million,) five-year plan is intended to repair damage caused by Hamas rockets during the Gaza war and upgrade the infrastructure of the region.

The prime minister's bureau described the plan as “the largest and most comprehensive economic development plan ever made for the area.”

The plan approved Sunday is supplementary to an earlier NIS 417 million package for 2015 and 2016.

“We came to this part of our land in order to build and be built in it, and no one will uproot us. We will strengthen our hold and our development of this area just as in other areas,” Netanyahu said.

The plan includes allocations for a new hospital in Be’er Sheva, hundreds of additional beds for the existing Soroka Medical Center, a new industrial zone in Sderot and a new natural gas infrastructure for the Negev.

Netanyahu added that he would be submitting "a supplement regarding an approximately NIS 2 billion in additional funds for the communities and cities of the south” to the cabinet on Tuesday.

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