Environment Ministry to Clean Up Army Bases Set for Housing Projects

The Tel Hashomer IDF base in Israel, on August 1, 2013. The largest numbers so far of ultra-orthodox new recruits to the Israeli army arrived at the Bakum army base on August 1. Most of them are expected to be absorbed in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, under the Nahal Haredi. Photo by Flash90 *** Local Caption *** מחזור ה גיוס ה נרחב ב יותר ב שנים ה אחרונות ב בסיס תל השומר שוויון ב נטל שויון ב נטל חיילים חייל חרדי חרדים דתי דתיים חילוני חילונים מתגייסים גיוס תל ה שומר בקום בקו"מ גדוד הנח"ל החרדי נצח יהודה חטיבת כפיר צבא צה"ל
The entrance to the Tel Hashomer army base. (Flash90)

With the IDF planning to auction off land in the center of the country that will soon be evacuated as bases move north for the construction of homes – and the government planning to sell no-longer-used areas where government-owned companies have closed facilities – some 100,000 new homes could soon be built in the Tel Aviv area. However, before that happens, the areas in question have to be “cleaned up” – and the government decided this week to dedicate tens of millions of shekels to that effort.

Much of the land being sold off was used for battle practice, or production of military equipment that entailed the use of chemicals and heavy metals. While not overly contaminated, much of the land does not meet standards for residential neighborhoods, and is considered too polluted for residences. In order to ensure that the land is usable, the government will embark on a cleanup process, with the costs to be eventually passed on to the bidders who win the auctions that will be held by the Israel Lands Administration.

According to Environmental Affairs Minister Avi Gabay, the move “is a very important one in solving the housing crisis. Our Ministry is taking on the role of the regulator and taking responsibility for the cleanup of these areas. With this project we will be able to improve the quality of life for many Israelis.”

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