The Israeli government has allocated NIS 15 billion to develop and strengthen the country’s northern region — and at last, there’s a plan to go with the money.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Periphery Minister Aryeh Deri, who is responsible for development of the Galilee and the Negev as well, together announced their plan this week for investment of the funds over the next two to five years. The projects are being coordinated between the relevant government ministries and the various regional councils.
According to the plan, NIS 12 billion will be spent on infrastructure, including improvement of existing roads and highways, construction of a new Light Rail between Haifa and Nazareth, and expansion of the Metronit Bus system in Haifa to outlying communities.
Another NIS 1 billion will be used to upgrade the education system in the region, with approximately another NIS 1 billion (actually, NIS 930 million) to upgrade the health care system as well.
NIS 600 million is to be spent on grants to increase productivity and growth in the region’s financial services sector, and attracting financial services firms to the area. The grants will be awarded to local tourism initiatives, and small and medium-size businesses in the region.
The funds are to be generated from the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and different government agencies. A number of IDF bases will be moved to the north as well.