Government approves 12 billion NIS ($3.15b) for infrastructure facelift, added health care, improved education and boost in small and medium businesses for northern Israel.
By Chana Roberts
As part of the 2017-2018 budget, the Israeli government is set to spend 12 billion NIS to give northern Israel a facelift.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) have proposed a plan outlining changes for the north, including upgrading schools, and building a light rail train between Haifa and Nazareth.
The Jewish National Fund will also help to fund the projects, investing 3 billion NIS.
600 million NIS will be invested in tourism, productivity grants for local small and medium businesses, and bringing financial services companies to the region.
12 billion NIS will be invested in infrastructure, including expanding Haifa’s Metronit bus system to include nearby areas, building a light rail train line from Nazareth to Haifa. The money will also be invested in improving the local health care system building hospital wards, expanding academic institutions, funding informal education programs, constructing new schools, lengthening school hours, and paving and widening interchanges and roads.
Speaking at a ceremony in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, Kahlon said, “We are determined to bring the same standards as are considered the norm in the center of the country to the north as well. The distance from the center of Israel must not mean gaps in services to citizens. It is impossible to speak of a single society without solving once and for all the problem of the link between distance from the center and social gaps. After years of investment in the center and the Negev, the north’s time has come. I am certain that this plan is a large step in the direction of realizing these aims.”
“In the coming years, the north will receive billions of shekels in aid from the government in all areas so that the most beautiful region in the country will be strengthened and will prosper,” Deri added. “I am certain that these large investments will make the north stronger and more flourishing.”
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