The Ministry of Construction is formulating a plan to double the number of Israelis living in the Jordan Valley, the newspaper Israel Hayom reports.

The draft will be submitted to the government only after the approval of the state budget in the Knesset, but before the end of the work year in 2021. Included in the cause are members of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance and the Interior, headed by ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Ayelet Shaked.

The Jordan Valley is currently home to about 1,500 Israeli families – most of them in small areas that in some cases suffer from an aging population. The goal of the government program will be to double the number of families to 3,000 within four years. The government will set aside a sum of NIS 90 million, which will be deployed throughout the period to implement the planning. Budgets will be directed to strengthening physical and social infrastructure in areas.

In addition, for those who purchase land, the State Treasury will finance the costs of developing the land in construction in areas in the Jordan Valley.

It should be emphasized that the plan in question does not propose the establishment of new settlements, but rather the expansion of existing ones. “There is no shortage of settlements in the area, but it is necessary to expand the existing ones, both to prevent their aging and decaying and also because it is a supply of more housing solutions in light of the high apartment prices,” the expert source explained in detail.

Those surrounding Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who initiated the plan, estimate that it will not cause national or political difficulties, as there is broad national agreement on the importance of the Jordan Valley. Also, promoting the program does not require the approval of the political echelon because it implements programs that have been approved in the past and have not yet been implemented.

“The Jordan Valley, like the Golan Heights and other areas along the eastern strip of Israel, is a region of strategic importance, vital to the security of the state and its future, and is an integral part of the Zionist vision,” Elkin noted.

In his view, “After the plan to double the settlement in the Golan, now comes the turn of the Jordan Valley, which is also in consensus. We will help settle there as they have not done for many years and work to double the population there along with strengthening, upgrading, and building necessary infrastructure.”

Report: Israel working to double population of Jordan Valley

Josh Toupos

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