The IDF has embarked on a $530 million underground barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip to prevent Hamas terrorists from tunneling into Israeli territory, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.
The 37-mile barrier, a concrete wall being built both below and above ground, was described by Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot as “the largest project” of its kind ever undertaken in Israel’s military history. The structure will reach several stories underground, and will rise several stories above ground.
Construction began at the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council to protect a cluster of Israeli towns bordering northern Gaza, Ynet said.
So far, however, only 650 million of the approximately 2 billion shekels earmarked for the project have been authorized; no money has been allocated for fiscal years 2017-2018.
Officials from the Ministry of Defense say that that the project will not be delayed, and the Ministry of Finance has confirmed that there is in fact a budget for the project.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon declared during his last visit to the Gaza border communities that “money will not be a barrier to erecting the barrier.”
“Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that the monies will not be a limiting factor (for the construction of the barrier), and he must stand by his word,” said MK Haim Yelin (Yesh Atid) and resident of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, located less than a mile from Gaza. “Creating a budget for each section of the barrier will triple the cost, thus potentially stopping the project.”