by Mati Tuchfeld / Israel Hayom
Amid the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas in years, Housing Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday that he plans to propose a plan to build a new Jewish community adjacent to the Gaza border in response to the recent escalation in violence.
“The establishment of a new community is a message of Zionism and strength in the face of terrorism,” he said.
The community, whose proposed name is “Hanun,” will be located about 4 miles from the border, adjacent to Kibbutz Saad. The town is meant to house 500 families and will be incorporated into the Sdot Negev Regional Council.
The proposal, which Gallant plans to submit to the cabinet at its next meeting on Sunday, will require collaboration between the Housing, Interior, Agriculture, and Negev and Galilee Development ministries, along with the Israel Land Authority and other authorities, to conclude the necessary administrative steps and make the new community a reality.
A written explanation of the proposal stated that “in accordance with government policy for the development of outlying areas and cultivating the Negev in general and the Gaza border area in particular, the government wants to establish an anchor that would draw a significant number of people to settle in this area. The demand for housing in Gaza-adjacent communities has been on the rise since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge [the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas]. But many people are having trouble being accepted into existing communities, which are cooperative agricultural communities.”
The explanation noted that “the most sought-after way of life is in suburban towns with an emphasis on community life. As such, in response to the needs of the area’s residents along with those of an additional population seeking to settle this area, it would be wise to establish a suburban community whose development and population influx will give the region a popularity boost.”