Five New Towns Announced for Negev

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant (Kulanu). (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant (Kulanu). (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Israeli cabinet has declared its intention to fill up some of the  vast empty space in the Negev — with five new towns.

Approval for construction of five new communities in the southern region was voted on Sunday, though it is merely a decision in principle. Actual planning and construction will not begin for some time, after feasability studies are completed, Globes said.

However, the rhetorical vision of the future was set and ready to go:

“On this day, we are letting Israelis know that we are establishing five new communities in the Negev. This is not a routine event,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said today following the cabinet resolution. “Our vision is coming true — massive government infrastructure together with business. They must be built quickly with shortened procedures. The success of these communities requires high growth, and we have therefore created growth engines, headed by cyber.”

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant submitted the proposal for Shelah, between Ashelim and the Nitzana salient; Naveh Gurion, between Revivim and Kfar Retamim; Daniel, bordering the regional educational campus and the Aleh Negev rehabilitation village; a community adjacent to the Eshel Hanasi Merhavim regional education center; and Dia, a community near Highway 80.

As has become almost an integral part of the bureaucratic process of launching a new community, the environmental lobby — notably The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority — has registered its opposition to the project.