Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO
Beit Shemesh Mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Jan. 16, 2022

Israel’s government cabinet has approved a NIS 500 million ($160 million) multi-year plan for developing the city of Beit Shemesh.

The plan was presented by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Saar, and was formulated in cooperation with the ministers of Interior; Construction and Housing; Transportation; Economy and Industry; Education; Welfare and Social Affairs; Health; Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee; Culture and Sports; Public Security; Environmental Protection; Religious Services; Aliyah and Integration; Tourism and Innovation, Science and Technology.


The plan is slated to add public transportation lines in response to the city’s growing population at an estimated cost of NIS 300 million, build public institutions and expand infrastructures at a cost of NIS 82 million and strengthen the municipality to develop services for residents, at a cost of approximately NIS 50 million.

Under the plan the government will also pay NIS 34 million for vocational training and strengthening the employment authority in the city; NIS 31 million to strengthen social services in the city; NIS 10 million to increase personal security and promote healthier lifestyles for residents; and NIS 10 million for culture and leisure activities for those living in the city.

“The city of Beit Shemesh is a wonderful place with excellent people that is facing many challenges,” the prime minister said. “Together with the local leadership led by Mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch, we are promoting a program on an unprecedented scale that will improve quality of life in the city.

“Since her tenure began, Mayor Bloch has been working extensively for a better future for the city’s residents. The work is considerable, and now we will lead it together,” Bennett added.

The Beit Shemesh mayor thanked the prime minister for “bringing an unprecedented decision for the benefit of the city.

“For years they talked; the Bennett government is taking action and effecting change. The story of Beit Shemesh is the story of the State of Israel,” she said, with an obvious dig at the former Netanyahu government.

“Beit Shemesh is currently undergoing an accelerated process of economic development, the goal of which is to reinvigorate the city. I see the work of the municipality and the various government ministries as a complementary synergy that builds the strength of a city. I am happy that the Government of Israel sees a desire to promote municipal development as a common goal with city leadership and residents,” the mayor said.

According to Central Bureau of Statistics data, the population of Beit Shemesh has grown by approximately 63 percent (around 50,000 residents) in the past decade, the highest growth rate among Israel’s 15 largest cities. The city has yet to realize its growth potential and the growth trend that has characterized Beit Shemesh in the past decade is expected to continue.

The accelerated population growth has led to gaps in the development of infrastructure to support housing, public institutions, public transportation and welfare services for residents, among others.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.