Israel approves five-year plan to rebuild Gaza border region

The program will see investment in housing, infrastructure, education, job opportunities and medical services.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Gaza
Kibbutz Be'eri near the Gaza Strip, Jan. 3, 2024. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.
Kibbutz Be'eri near the Gaza Strip, Jan. 3, 2024. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.

The Israeli Cabinet on Wednesday unanimously approved a five-year strategic plan to rebuild, develop and strengthen the western Negev communities devastated during Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist invasion.

The 19 billion shekel ($5 billion) program, which will be carried out by the recently created Tekuma (“Revival”) Authority, will see investment in housing, infrastructure, education, employment opportunities, medical services and more, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“The Hamas terrorists wanted to uproot us—we will uproot them while deepening our roots. We will build the Land of Israel and protect our country,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The funds approved on Wednesday add to the 1.15 billion shekel ($303 million) in emergency assistance to border communities that Israeli lawmakers allocated in November as part of last year’s state budget.

The 2024-28 rehabilitation plan was drawn up by Tekuma Authority director Moshe Edri in consultation with community leaders, local authorities, government ministries and other professionals.

“We will work with them and in cooperation with the third [i.e. nonprofit] sector, the business sector and philanthropists to realize the plan and transform the region into an essential, flourishing and attractive area, Edri vowed.

“With the plan’s approval, we set out on its implementation and realization, including the outlined flagship projects,” he added.

Among other proposals, the program calls for building a regional agricultural tech hub, an international resilience center and a large sports complex. It also proposes to expand Sapir College near Sderot and establish new public transportation routes to Israel’s south.

During a visit to the Tekuma Authority in the city of Yavne, northeast of Ashdod, on Oct. 26, Netanyahu promised to rebuild and expand the communities destroyed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

The Islamist invaders killed some 1,200 people, with thousands sustaining injuries and roughly 240 people being taken captive to Gaza.

Following a tour of the Tekuma offices, Netanyahu said that “hope is built on one important principle, and that is confidence. We need to crush Hamas so that people will have the confidence to return.

“In the final stage, we can also build and expand,” said the prime minister. He vowed to see the border region again “flourishing and safe. There is a national, primary, even historic task here, I would say.”

With reporting by JNS.

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