Cabinet Approves Plan to Bolster Southern Homefront

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presiding over the weekly Cabinet meeting, Sunday. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

The Israeli Cabinet approved on Sunday Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s 700-million-shekel plan to improve socio-economic conditions, security and general morale in Sderot and the other Gaza-adjacent communities in 2019-2020.

“This decision follows my meeting with authority heads in Gaza adjacent communities, which the Finance and Interior ministers also attended. We have decided to continue the assistance plan that was enacted in recent years. We will invest an additional NIS 700 million in the plan for the welfare of the residents of the area. They are steadfast and we support them,” Mr. Netanyahu told the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The proposal was submitted following the PM’s November 15 meeting with Gaza-adjacent council heads, together with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri.

Finance Minister Kahlon said:

“The courage, heroism and resilience of the Gaza adjacent residents is worthy of admiration. However, we cannot take this as a given. As a state, we have the responsibility and obligation toward the residents of Sderot and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, vis-a-vis the difficulties they encounter in light of the security situation. The major investment in the residents and businesses in the area over the next two years underscores this commitment.”

Rabbi Deri:

“I am pleased by this Cabinet decision. We have an obligation to the residents of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip who have bravely faced the Hamas terrorist attacks from Gaza for a long period. We will continue to take action to strengthen the Gaza adjacent communities including the prosperity and welfare of the residents in this beautiful area.”

“The decision includes economic assistance including the establishment and transfer of factories to the area and the development of industrial zones, as well as assistance in education, health and social welfare. The latter will be done by increasing the budgets of the resilience centers active in the area and strengthening security, including personal security,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Assistance will also be given in agriculture; tourism; development of infrastructure for sewage, transportation and public buildings; waste processing; planning and advancing building projects; and promoting digitized services, according to the PMO.

Participating in the plan are the Prime Minister’s office and the ministries of Finance, Interior, Economy and Industry, Health, Labor and Social Welfare, Agriculture, Culture and Sports, Social Equality, Aliyah and Absorption, Science and Technology, Environmental Protection, Construction and Housing, Education, Tourism, Defense, Religious Service and Periphery, Negev and Galilee Development.