Agricultural Institute to Make Way for 15,000 New Homes

Construction of new residential buildings in the Northern Israeli city of Harish. Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Flash90
Construction of new residential buildings in the northern Israeli city of Charish. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

A new plan to move an important agricultural facility from central to northern Israel will strengthen the periphery – while providing space for the construction of 15,000 new homes, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said Wednesday. The Volcani Institute is located in Beit Dagan, outside Rishon Letzion, which, when it was established four decades ago, was located in a “peripheral” area itself, but now finds itself on prime real estate.

The Volcani Institute is an agricultural research center, where many of the new strains of fruits and vegetables are developed. The 3,000 dunam plot the Institute is located on, features open fields where many of the experimental crops developed by the organization are grown – and the Galilee would be ideal for that growing as well, said Ariel.

Meanwhile, the transfer of thousands of workers to a Galilee location would strengthen an area that needs economic and population support, said Ariel, who added that he plans to put together a committee that will examine possible sites for the new Institute.

The Agricultural Ministry also believes that moving the Institute will further enhance development of new plants and vegetables, thus developing new and more efficient strains that will help feed Israelis in the decades to come.