A new, comprehensive plan to revitalize northern Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced an ambitious new plan to grow the north. “I am telling all the residents of the north, and particularly the very young: buy apartments, invest in the Galilee…for it is the future,” said Netanyahu during a visit to the northern city of Ma’alot-Tarshiha to Ynet News.

“We want to build a future here,” Netanyahu said, “and the future is young people, the future is employment. We want to combine governmental infrastructure with entrepreneurship and an open market. We’re talking about security plants that will relocate to the North, which will produce innovation and advanced equipment.”

The new plan’s budget is an estimated 15 billion shekels and includes 12 billion shekels for infrastructure and transportation as well as 1 billion shekels for health and welfare, the remainder being allocated to education, encouraging investment and developing high-quality employment opportunities.

“We will invest billions of shekels in the medical system… We’ll increase the number of beds and strengthen the hospitals’ infrastructure,” Netanyahu further pledged. “We want to emphasize progress, research, industry, the economy. The most important thing to look out for is the return of immigration to the Galilee. It’s happening right now in the south and it’ll happen in the North.’”

In a Dec. 27 article, Ynet News credits the ambitious plan to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Arye Deri, minister for the Development of the Periphery, Negev, and the Galilee.

“The money will be used to support infrastructure projects, promote business and industry in the region, fix the public health care system, strengthen local governments, and help improve education. Key IDF bases will also be moving to the north,” Ynet reported. “According to the plan, 600 million shekels will be invested into getting financial services companies to set up in the North, and will also be used in grants which will increase productivity and growth in the sector. Small and medium sized businesses located in the North will be the recipients of grants, and tourism initiatives will be funded as well.

Vineyards in Kibbutz Ortal in the Golan Heights (Photo: Serge Attal/Flash90)
Vineyards in Kibbutz Ortal in the Golan Heights (Photo: Serge Attal/Flash90)

“Meanwhile, 12 billion shekels will be used on infrastructure projects, including upgrading roads, building a light rail between Haifa and Nazareth, expanding the Metronit bus system in Haifa to outlying areas, and more. A further billion shekels will be used to improve the education system in the north. 930 million shekels will be allocated to upgrading health services in the North.”

The plan involves the participation and funding of government ministries and regional councils as well as the Jewish National Fund as part of its Billion Dollar Road Map.