IDF Launches Two-Billion-Shekel Makeover of Bases from British Mandate

YERUSHALAYIM -

Four military bases dating back to the British Mandatory period have been slated for a major renovation that will cost the Ministry of Defense about two billion shekels.

The bases—Emanuel (Julis) near Ashkelon; Gidonim at the Tzrifin compound; Shura near Ramle; and Bilu near Rehovot—will undergo a thorough makeover. At some of the bases, demolition of dilapidated structures has already begun.

At Julis, NIS 500 million will be invested in the renovation, and, upon completion, several IDF units and programs will be relocated there, including the C2 (command and control) School. A similar sum will be invested in the Shura Base, which is currently used by the Ordnance Corps.

Renovations are expected to continue until the end of 2019; afterwards, units from bases such as Tzrifin, Tel Hashomer and Sirkin will be relocated there, while their former bases are vacated in favor of tens of thousands of homes in high-demand areas.

The land released by demolition and clearing of sites will allow for the construction of 60,000 new homes, the IDF said.

In order to fully utilize land, one-story buildings in these bases will be taken down and replaced with buildings with up to five floors.

“We will build tall buildings, some of which will be used as offices and some for storage. The renovated bases will be up-to-date and be built with an outlook to the future, with a focus on energy conservation. Construction will be carried out while activity in these bases continues, which presents the IDF and the Ministry of Defense with significant engineering and operational challenges,” head of the Ministry of Defense Engineering and Construction Department Erez Cohen said.

These works are part of the Shoham Plan for the marketing and relocation of IDF bases, led by the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Finance, in coordination with the Israel Land Authority.